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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33713
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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We purchased a used home several years ago and there was a

Customer Question

Hello,
We purchased a used home several years ago and there was a rather large tree in the front yard, 20 to 30 feet tall.
The HOA has sent a couple of letters asking us to trim the tree throughout the years, and we have trimmed it as asked. We recently elected to have the tree removed, it financially was beneficial to having it removed than to have it trimmed a couple times a year. At around the same time our neighbor asked us to trim or remove the tree due to leaves and such in his backyard and swimming pool.
The neighbor is now asking for us to pay for the lighting and plant pots that were damaged with the tree removal. Also, they are asking us to pay for pools cool-deck and block wall repairs from the root system.
I don't feel that we are responsible for either.
1) The tree removal company should cover the cost of damages due to their being the ones who damaged the pots and lights when removing the tree.
2) If the tree was already fully established prior to our purchase of the home then why would I be the one to pay for block wall or pool cool deck repairs?
FYI: The property is located in Mesa, Arizona.
Thank you,
Scott
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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1) The tree removal company should cover the cost of damages due to their being the ones who damaged the pots and lights when removing the tree.

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Ultimately this is correct, but since you hired the tree company, the neighbor can look to you for damages and you can then sue the tree company for reimbursement if they won't directly pay the neighbor for their damages.

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2) If the tree was already fully established prior to our purchase of the home then why would I be the one to pay for block wall or pool cool deck repairs?

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The tree is considered your personal property and when your personal property damages another person's personal property, (i.e. the wall and deck) then you can be held personally liable for damages.

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You would have a defense called "laches" that you could claim because if the neighbor was aware of the damage at least 2 years ago and never took any legal action in the past despite knowing about it, then they should be prevented from doing so now. This is under AZ's civil statute of limitations for injury to personal property..

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So you can tell them that they should have acted sooner with regard to the wall and deck and if they then sue, it will be up to the judge to determine when they knew about the damage and whether they should be barred from recovery.

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thanks

Barrister

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