Dear Urban Diplomat: should I have to pay for my neighbour’s tree maintenance?

Dear Urban Diplomat: should I have to pay for my neighbour’s tree maintenance?

cut tree branch (Image: martinak15/Flickr)
 

Dear Urban Diplomat,

There’s a huge maple tree in the backyard next to mine. Its branches spread over my yard, where they get tangled in my clothesline and block all the sun from my herb garden. When I kindly asked the owner to trim the offending branches, he said fine, hired a pro to do it and then dropped a $400 invoice in my mailbox! I shouldn’t pay, should I?

—Branch Manager, Leaside

Legally, you’re in limbo—tree-trimming on private property is not regulated by the city, meaning it’s purely a civil matter between you and your neighbour. Morally, I say splitting the bill 50/50 is fair. Should your passive-aggressive neighbour have discussed who would pay before proceeding? Absolutely. But is it worth potentially making an enemy for life right next door? Hardly. Be happy your herb garden has a fighting chance, and move on.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com