Arizona Real Estate Law Says Neighbor Can Trim Trees But Also Pay

Question: Our backyard backs up to a bridle trail in Tempe. Although our homeowners association owns the bridle trail, our neighboring homeowner is required to maintain this bridle trail. Our neighboring homeowner has contacted us about the branches of several of our twenty-year-old pine trees hanging over our back wall and impeding horseback riding on the bridle trail. One young lady was apparently almost knocked off her horse. Therefore, unless there is damage to our pine trees, we would have no objection to these branches being trimmed. Under Arizona real estate law, however, who has the obligation to pay for the cost of trimming these overhanging branches?

Answer: The general rule is that a neighboring homeowner is entitled to trim the branches of a neighbor’s tree that hang over onto the neighboring homeowner’s property, provided that this trimming will not kill the neighbor’s tree. Therefore, prior to trimming the branches of your pine trees, your neighboring homeowner should get an opinion from an arborist that such trimming will not kill your pine trees. Under Arizona law, unlike California law, the neighbor owning the trees is generally not required to reimburse the neighboring homeowner for the cost of trimming the overhanging branches. 145 Ariz. 115. Therefore, your neighboring homeowner should have to pay for the cost to trim your pine trees.

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