Monday, May 21, 2012
Help Me Howard: Hanging Branches
Your neighbor's tree hangs over you property, dropping leaves and damaging your deck. Do you have to live with it or can you cut a neighbor's tree? Great question and it's why we have Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Ed Yezo, Growing Trouble: "Because I love it. I love to use my property, my backyard. I entertain."
And because he called Help me Howard you know there is 'but' coming.
Ed Yezo: "This pretty much makes it near impossible to do it."
This is Ed's problem: A neighbor's 45 foot tall oak tree that hangs over his property.
Ed Yezo: "And it drops debris in my backyard. Everything from leaves to pods to seeds to branches."
Ed is constantly cleaning up the leaves and then there are the stains the tree leaves on his roof, pool deck and furniture.
Ed Yezo: "To the point where they have to bleach it out."
The leaves are always floating into his pool, clogging his filter and filling his skimmer basket.
Ed Yezo: "And this is light now because I did it this morning."
The solution is simple of course: cut back the branches hanging over his property. Howard says that's OK.
Howard Finkelstein: "Legally you can cut branches or roots from a neighbor's tree that are on your property."
But the complication: this power line runs from a pole through the tree to Ed's house and his neighbor's house. The only safe way for a tree trimmer to cut the branches is to climb up the tree and cut it from the neighbor's property.
Ed Yezo: "The owner will not allow an arborist up in the tree to cut anything off the tree."
Ed explained to his neighbor the reasons the tree trimmer needed to get on his property to cut back the branches.
Ed Yezo: "I told him I said, 'It's polluting my pool. I said my water is turning mucky green.' He says, 'That doesn't bother me.'"
Needless to say Ed and his neighbor won't be exchanging Christmas cards and Ed says his neighbor told him if Ed found a tree trimmer who would risk climbing through the power lines to cut the branches, watch out.
Ed Yezo: "If the tree is disfigured or comes down in a hurricane because it's lop-sided then his intent is to sue me."
Needless to say, Ed literally and figuratively has a mess.
Ed Yezo: "At this point what right do I have?"
Howard, does Ed have a right to go on his neighbor's property to properly cut the tree?
Howard Finkelstein: "If you cannot safely cut the tree at your property line don't go on your neighbor's property, go to small claims court. You do not need to hire a lawyer. Simply ask a judge for permission to allow your tree trimmer to go on your neighbor's property to cut the branches that are hanging over your property."
I then spoke to Ed's neighbor. He said cutting the tree would damage it. To do what Ed wanted would leave it unbalanced and it would fall and he will not allow an arborist on his property to do that.
I then spoke to FPL. They sent out a vegetation and management specialist who concluded that the limbs were not a safety threat to the power lines so they would not cut them. But because of Ed's concerns, they were going to move the pole and the power lines. Also if Ed wants to trim the branches immediately from his side, they will temporarily cut the power to the line so an arborist can safely work there.
Ed Yezo: "Ideally I wish the tree were gone."
Ed won't get his ideal solution. But at least he now has options to get rid of these branches hanging over his property.
Ed Yezo: "There is where I wanna be. I love this house and I don't want to give it up."
Patrick Fraser: "What if Ed got the branches cut and the tree fell during a storm? Would his neighbor have a good lawsuit against him? Howard says probably not because Ed has a legal right to cut the branches hanging over his property and secondly, how do you prove missing branches caused a tree to tumble?"
A looming problem growing over you? Ready to branch out and get some answers? Contact us. We'll cut through the mess and carve out a solution for you.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org