Take My Limbs...Please!

07/21/2009 13:28

We have problems regarding overgrown trees next door. They interfere with our telephone lines. We are renting and I have tried to contact the owner regarding this issue, but she just ignores me. Is there anything i can do? -- Avril

 What Mary Says...  What Crystal Says...

Dear Avril:

That's frustrating that the owner will not listen to you. Have you tried speaking to the neighbor? Perhaps they don't realize the limbs are so overgrown. It's their responsibility to keep their trees trim, I believe.

If you don't have a Homeowner's Association that should take care of such a violation, try contacting your local city hall. They should send an arborist out to inspect and if it's interfering with your lines and considered a danger to anyone, they will trim the tree for you.















Dear Avril:

In some cities or with some HOA’s, overhanging branches can be dealt with by the neighbor whose property it encroaches. However, this is not true for all areas, and what muddles your issue more is that you’re renting. Likely, you have no rights in regards to dealing with the neighbor who owns the tree, regardless of whether the law allows it, because it’s not your property. As far as your landlord, they are responsible for keeping your unit in a livable condition. Trees and overgrowth outside of the unit may not be covered under your rights as a renter. To see whether your landlord is required to deal with your issue, check:

  • the terms of your lease
  • any written promises your landlord has made
  • state and local building codes, or
  • state landlord-tenant laws.

If your landlord’s responsibilities are still murky after that, call your local building or housing agency (you can find their number in the phone book). Those agencies should be able to explain whether your problem violates local or state codes, and may even be able to take action against your landlord.

Good luck!




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