Homeowner Property Damage From Overhanging Branches
Question: Four years ago we purchased a home in a Chandler subdivision. The branches of our neighbor’s large eucalyptus tree have now grown over the common wall into our backyard. On a windy day the leaves from this large eucalyptus tree litter our yard, stain our patio, and clog our pool cleaning system. We have had to replace the pool pump because of overheating due to the leaves clogging our pool cleaning system. Can we trim the branches of our neighbor’s large eucalyptus tree? If so, can we get reimbursement for the cost of the trimming?
Answer: The general rule is that a homeowner is entitled to trim up to the property line the branches of a neighbor’s tree that hang over onto the homeowner’s property, provided that this trimming will not kill the neighbor’s tree. Therefore, prior to trimming the overhanging branches of a neighbor’s tree, a homeowner should consult with an arborist or other professional. If trimming is allowed, the neighbor is generally not liable to reimburse the homeowner for the cost of the trimming. If the branches of the tree, however, cause “sensible injury” to the homeowner’s property, the neighbor will be liable for any costs, including the homeowner’s trimming costs. 145 Ariz. 115. The homeowner’s property damage to the pool cleaning system, including the replacement of the pool pump, is probably a “sensible injury.” Therefore, you should be able to get reimbursement from your neighbor for the cost of trimming the branches of your neighbor’s large eucalyptus tree. In addition, you should be able to get reimbursement for the cost of a new pool pump.