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Ask NOW: Can neighbor trim tree that's touching his home?

Oct. 31, 2012

Can neighbor trim tree that's touching his house?

Issue: A reader wrote to me because his neighbor has a large, old tree that hangs over his yard and rubs against his house during storms. He wants to know who has the responsibility for fixing the tree, and how far he is allowed to go to fix it himself.

Status: Gregg Blando, property maintenance inspector, said this question comes up quite often, and it's a tricky issue because it becomes a civil matter that could result in a legal situation.

Blando stressed the importance of taking reasonable actions to solve the problem. A resident should first talk to the neighbor and document the conversation, he said. If that does not work, the resident should send the neighbor a letter through certified mail indicating that the resident has talked to the neighbor and asking when the neighbor will correct the problem. If the neighbor still doesn't fix the problem, the resident probably needs to talk to an attorney, because it is a civil matter and the city will not get involved, Blando said.

"First be neighborly about it, but ultimately it is a legal question, so talk to an attorney," Blando said.

Wauwatosa NOW .com

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