PROBLEM: “I think my neighbor’s tree is going to fall on my house, what can I do?”
Generally, we would hope that our neighbors are thoughtful and considerate people. In most cases, the best remedy for this kind of situation is to point out the potential hazard to your neighbor, and ask them to hire a tree removal expert to trim or remove the tree as necessary.
Unfortunately, there are those times when we find that a neighbor is unwilling, or perhaps unable to remove the tree. If the neighbor is financially unable to move the tree, a neighborly gesture may be to offer splitting the costs of removal, or, if you really want to be sure your property will be safe, pay to remove the tree yourself.
One cannot legally force their neighbors to remove a tree in the state of New Jersey. If a tree falls on your home from a neighbor’s property, it is your homeowner’s policy that will cover the damage. But that doesn’t mean that there is no way to protect yourself if your neighbor is willfully ignoring a dead, dying or leaning tree.
If you have serious concerns about a dead or dying tree on your neighbor’s property, you may have a certified tree expert out to professionally assess the health of the tree. Once the expert’s evaluation is complete, you can send a certified letter from that expert to your neighbor. If the neighbor still does nothing about the tree, and the tree does later fall and cause damage to life or property, your insurance company will have a stronger case to argue your neighbor’s negligence in the event of a claim.
Remember: winning a claim will not move the boundaries of your properties. You will still be neighbors. In our experience, the best solutions are those the neighbors compromise on. However, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t protect themselves.