So who is responsible for tree trimming?
Trees require a certain amount of care and upkeep to stay healthy. Tree trimming, tree removal, and general maintenance are a regular part of homeownership. Generally, a homeowner is responsible for taking care of the trees on their property.
However, some situations involve more than one party, and these might not be so black and white. The following is a brief overview of who is usually responsible for tree maintenance. As in most situations, when in doubt it is always best to speak with the other party before making any major decisions about your tree.
Should the Landlord or the Tenant Take Care of Tree Trimming and Removal?
The landlord is almost always responsible for maintaining and repairing their rental property.
This also applies to tree work. Many landlords will be proactive about maintaining the trees around the property to protect the house, but it may also be up to the tenant to report tree trimming and removal needs to their landlord. In some rental situations the landlord and tenant may agree for the tenant to take care of the yard work, often in exchange for a discount in rent.
Rental agreements vary greatly from property to property, but most leases will line out who is responsible for what. When in doubt, always defer to the lease agreement.
When is the HOA Responsible for Tree Trimming and Removal?
Many homeowners pay homeowner’s association dues which cover certain services. Many HOAs cover any work that needs to be done on a home from the walls out. In other HOAs the homeowner may be responsible for tree work, but the HOA may have rules about how the yard should be cared for.
Typically, in the case of a condo or townhome, the HOA is responsible for anything from the walls out, including yard and tree work. Single-family homes in an HOA will vary. The HOA covenants will outline the responsibilities within your neighborhood.
Who Is Responsible for Tree Service When Neighbors Share A Tree?
Sometimes a neighbor’s tree will have limbs and branches that grow into the next yard. Or a tree may grow right along the property line. In general, the tree owner is responsible for keeping the tree maintained, including trimming back limbs that may be growing over a fence.
However, if limbs are growing into your yard from a neighboring tree you do also have the right to trim those limbs back yourself. When a tree is right on the property line, or when limbs are growing over a property line, neighbors will often negotiate to split the cost of the work.
The best practice anytime there is a shared tree is to talk to your neighbor and find out what they are comfortable with.
When is the City Responsible for Tree Service?
It varies from city to city, but a general rule of thumb is that the trees and plants within eight feet of the street curb are considered city property. Trees that grow on medians and between the sidewalks and the streets are considered public trees. This means that the city is responsible for taking care of tree trimming and removal within this space.
When a homeowner notices that a public tree near their property needs to be trimmed or removed the tree must be reported to the city for it to be taken care of. In the city of Colorado Springs, tree service needs can be reported on the following website: https://coloradosprings.gov/forestry/page/street-tree-maintenance-requests
Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before the city is able to take care of a specific tree unless it is a direct hazard. The city may be backlogged as far as two to three years out before they can take care of tree services.
Sometimes homeowners may opt for obtaining a City Forestry Permit. The permit is free to obtain, and it allows homeowners to seek out tree services with a licensed tree service company so that they can have the work done right away.
Tree Trimming and Removal Near Powerlines
Trimming and removing trees that are growing close to powerlines can be extremely dangerous. Never try to do tree work near a powerline yourself. The powerlines that run from pole to pole are the high voltage lines and these are the responsibility of the city. The powerlines that run from pole to the house are the homeowner’s responsibility.
In each case, it is very important for the proper safety measures to be taken.
When a tree trimmer works on a tree that is growing too close to a powerline there is a danger of electrocution. If a limb is dropped on a powerline during the trimming process, the electricity may create an arch that can hit the individual working on the tree.
When the city works on high voltage lines, they will put a safety blanket over the powerlines to protect the trimmer from electrocution. When a homeowner has work done near the powerline that runs to the house, the city utility company should first be contacted. The city utility company will come out and lower the powerline that runs to the house so that the tree can be trimmed or removed safely.
Knowing who is responsible for taking care of a tree can save time and money in the long run. If you are not sure who should cover the cost of tree work, it is always best to check with the other party. Legal documents such as lease agreements and HOA covenants usually outline who is responsible for what when it comes to working on the property.
Trees that are close to the curb are usually considered public trees and will be taken care of by the city.
If you have any questions about your trees, trimming or removal, Precision Tree Care of Colorado is here to help!