Who Pays For Tree Removal? – Sharing Liabilities

Various situations can warrant tree removal, some of which may be totally out of your control. The big question is, who pays for tree removal?

Removing a tree is a daunting task, one that will require skill and experience, not to mention the right tools. For this reason, this procedure is pretty expensive.

In this article, I’ll be giving you the information you need with regards to who is meant to pay for tree removal services.

Keep reading!

Cost to Remove a Tree

Before we determine who is to pay for tree removal, let us first take a look at what this test task could cost.

Many factors could influence the cost of removing a tree. Nonetheless, you may need to squeeze out between $500 to $2,000. That’s on average.

Removing the tree is one thing, hauling it away is another. However, having the tree taken away would cost less than having it removed. You might spend between $75 to $150 to have your felled tree hauled.

You might be surprised at the massive price gap. Well, the reason for this is that hauling a tree requires less work and skill than actually removing it.

Hauling a tree is also less dangerous, as there would be no climbing or working with sharp objects involved. All the same, if you want the stump removed as well then you’d have to churn out an extra $150 or so.

Know When Tree Removal Is Necessary

Tree removal becomes necessary due to a long list of reasons. Some of these reasons will determine who is to pay for tree removal.

These reasons include –

  • Death of the tree
  • If the tree is infested with pests and diseases
  • If the tree has been damaged by a storm or collision
  • If the roots of the tree start becoming invasive to utility lines and plumbing
  • Leans over the home, fence, or a power line

One or more of these reasons will require the tree to be removed. The good news is, you may not necessarily be responsible for paying for its removal.

Do yourself a favor by reaching out to a professional arborist to determine if the tree should go or not. Some cases may be solved with a simple prune. You’ll never know until you consult.

Who Pays The Cost to Remove A Tree?

If a hazardous tree sits right next to your fence, then it poses a problem to both you and the person you share the fence with. In this instance, the argument about who should foot the bill for the tree’s removal would come up, almost inevitably.

Normally, the tree is considered to belong to the person on whose property it is planted. If the hazardous tree is rooted in your yard, then it is up to you to pay for its removal.

If the dangerous tree sits in your neighbor’s yard, then it is their responsibility to pay for its removal.

If you notice the problem first, then you can politely request for them to have it removed. You can make your request via a written note or verbally. Although putting it in writing is preferable, at least for documentation’s sake.

If your neighbor does not respond, then you can go ahead and contact your municipality. You can also contact the local utility company in a case where the tree is invading their power lines or pipes.

The relevant authorities may issue an order for your neighbor to pay for the removal. In some cases, these bodies may take up the responsibility and pay for the tree removal.

Can you get free tree removal?

The answer is yes, you may be lucky enough to have a dangerous tree removed for free. As I mentioned earlier, if the tree is encroaching a utility company’s power lines or pipes, they may be obliged to pay for the removal themselves.

Lucky you!

Will your insurance pay to remove your tree?

In some cases, yes, but you have to study and understand your homeowner’s insurance policy to know where you stand in instances like this.

In most cases, your insurance will not cover the maintenance of your property. These include your chores having your pool or gutter cleaning, or a one-time expense like removing the tree.

Don’t fret, there are instances where your insurance would cover the cost of tree removal.

In a situation where a healthy tree is felled by a storm, the insurance company can cover the damages caused to your home.

What if my neighbor’s tree is dead and close to my property line?

In this case, it would be wise to discuss the situation with your neighbor. Inform them that their tree is dead and it poses a threat to your home and the people in it (but I assume they already know that).

Find out their plans of having it removed, and possibly propose to share the cost of removing the tree with them. That is if you have the budget for it.

I would expect that your neighbor would appreciate such a kind gesture. Hopefully, this will encourage him/her to act quickly and make plans to have the tree removed, sooner than later.

If your neighbor is the non-co-operative type, then you need to take a different approach.

Get a professional arborist to assess the situation and get a written note from him or her, which you will present to the relevant authorities.

These authorities will make sure your neighbor does the right thing by paying for the removal of the tree.

Your neighbor may hold a grudge against you for this, but hey, you have to do what’s right for the safety of your home, its inhabitants, and your property.

Remember, you spent a lot of money buying your home, so it would be silly to let the negligence of a neighbor jeopardize your safety and structure.

What to do if my neighbor’s tree falls on my property?

The first thing you need to do is to call an arborist to inspect the tree. If it is discovered that the tree fell due to decay, then it means your neighbor was negligent about an obvious disease.

You can file a lawsuit against him or her if they refuse to pay for the tree’s removal and any other damage it might have caused to your home or yard.

Keep in mind though, it is difficult to prove negligence in court, so you may want to consider other ways of settling the matter. However, if there are no other means of settling, then you have to prepare yourself for the courtroom.

If it is decided that there was no negligence on your neighbor’s part, then you have to pay for the removal of the part of the tree in your yard. Your insurance policy may cover this cost as well.

What if my tree falls on my neighbor’s property?

If the cause of the fall was a visible disease or decay, then it means you were negligent.

In this case, you would have to pay for the hauling of the tree. You may also have to pay for any damages suffered by your neighbor. If you’re lucky, his/her insurance may cover it.

In a case where the tree was blown over by a storm into your neighbor’s yard, then it wouldn’t be a case of negligence. In this situation, you will be responsible for paying only for the removal of the tree on your side of the fence.

If the fallen tree caused some damage to your neighbor’s property, then their insurance should cover it, or they can the expense themselves since it wasn’t your fault the tree fell.

If there was no negligence on your part, then you are only responsible for cleaning up the part of the tree that’s on your property, not your neighbor’s.

Again, it is possible to discuss joint tree cleanup with your neighbor, but it is not required by law.

Any damage that occurred to your neighbor’s home or property should be handled by your neighbor’s home insurance provider.

Cost Implications

For you to determine the average charges of an arborist, you need to first break down the different jobs they are likely to perform.

Going by the average, expect an arborist to charge between $400 to $1,500. Still, it all depends on the task they will be performing.

To trim a small tree, an arborist can charge as low as $80. On the flip side, removing a large tree, say a 100-year-old oak may cost as much as $5,000.


The fall of a tree may not be your fault in some instances. If the tree leans or falls due to a storm, then there’s nothing you could have done to stop it.

On the other hand, if it leans or falls due to an obvious decay or infestation, then you will be accused of negligence and may be required to pay for the tree’s removal.

I believe this article has answered your question – who pays for tree removal?

Take care!

Leave a Comment