Neighbor's tree needs to go - but should we pay for it?
April 23, 2014 1:22 PM Subscribe
So, there's this tree - a poplar, over 100ft tall. It's on our neighbor's property, directly on their side of the fence. ("Fun" fact - our neighbor planted it over 50 years ago, to his wife's dismay.) We've had a few casual, over-the-fence conversations about the possibility of removing the tree, and their answer has always been that they don't care if we get it removed, if we pay for it. Well, now the tree needs to go, but things have changed. My question is about not just legal responsibility, but good neighbor relations.
posted by rocketing to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We bought our house about 5 years ago, and paid for an arborist at the time to come out and thin out some problematic-looking branches. The tree drops leaves and smaller branches all over our roof and yard, but until recently it's just been an annoyance. Last year a branch fell and punctured our roof last year during a windstorm, and since then it's been a priority to get the tree removed (as it probably should have been before).
So, we called arborists to get a quote, and the tree removal is going to be about $7,000 - which is about 5k more than our (obviously naive!) guesstimate. The cost is so high because of the proximity of the tree to our houses (it's right in-between, with about 8 feet of space on each side) and because of the size of the tree, which is wound with ivy and is actually two trees growing out of one.
Here's my dilemma: I'm not sure how to work out the "who pays" part. My spouse is a softy who thinks we should just suck it up and pay for it - we have some money saved up for yard improvements, and it would keep us on good terms with our neighbors. I am thinking we should provide them with the estimates and see if they offer to pay before doing any negotiation, splitting of costs, etc. I would be okay with splitting the cost, as a last resort, but really don't want to pay for the entire thing.
My question is - what do I need to know that can help make this decision? I feel like one aspect is the legal "who owns the tree" part, but then there's the whole "good neighborly relations" thing to think about, too. YANYL, etc. Thanks in advance for any wisdom and/or resources you can share.