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My neighbor's 30' bradford pear drops fruit on my cars. Can I take him to small claims court for nuisance tree removal?

Alexandria, VA |

He planted the tree on a slope [towards my property] so the tree leans towards my house and limbs bearing the pea sized fruit hang over my concrete driveway and white cars. The distance between the 2 houses is only about 30 feet . The tree is about 2 feet from the property line. I bought my house 10 years ago and believe the tree is about 15 years old or so. I've tried to talk to him about the situation as those fruit ruined the paint on my previous car. His only response delivered with a smirk... "Well... that's what nature does!" I then asked why is it he has no trees hanging over HIS cars to which he never responded. I've been trying to be neighborly but I'm done with that. There is no HOA as the homes were built in the late 50s. Help before I put a copper nail in the trunk!!

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer
Posted

I believe you can cut any of the limbs that cross over the property line without his permission. If the Tree is planted in such away that cutting the limbs will not be sufficient then I would take him to small claims court. The rules are less formal and he cannot have an attorney represent him.

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Asker

Posted

That's what I wanted to know! :-) I can't cut any more limbs.... they are too far up and the tree is slanting towards my property. So I thought it best to see him in small claims court and let the judge decide. Lessens expenses as long as I have proper documentation [car hoods, driveway, pics of tree hovering over property line]. To me, it's indisputable. Thank you!

Posted

Not sure why you haven't removed the offending limbs at that point where they enter the airspace over your property. May want to 1) consult with a property law attorney in Alexandria and 2) let the neighbor know your plans so as to avoid a police issue, 3) consult with a certified, bonded, insured arborist before removing the limbs, 4) hire insured, bonded, licensed experts to remove the limbs, 5) in consultation with the local property attorney, determine if any part of the costs incurred are recoverable from the neighbor, 6) consider small claims court for any past damages.

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Asker

Posted

Those limbs have been trimmed a lot over the years however, the real offending ones are at least 20 feet up and I have no way to trim them save hiring someone which would result in having to obtain his permission which I don't believe he would grant. I have had a licensed/insured/bonded/certified arborist look at the situation and he provided a quote and told me about obtaining the owners permission. As for recovering any costs, the previous car had to be sold at a discounted price due to the needed repainting. That was over 5 years ago. At this point, I just want the tree gone. It's a nuisance to me and my property... not affecting him or his property. Thank you for your input as well! Very sound advice.

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