Who is responsible for the tree that sits on shared property between me and the neighbor?
Adjoining landowners can find themselves in disputes over fences, overhanging branches and party walls. Boundaries are frequently marked by partition fences, ditches, hedges, trees, etc. When a fence is built by one of the owners of the land, on his own premises, it belongs to him exclusively; when built by both at joint expense, each is the owner of that part on his own land. A tree growing in the boundary line is the joint property of both owners of the land.
There is no clear legal rule regarding trees that grow on the boundary between two properties. In some states, trees standing along a boundary line are the common property of the neighbors on either side of the boundary. The general common-law rule is that one cannot complain of trees or shrubbery on adjoining land regardless of their thickness or height, since the adjoining landowner is within his or her rights in making such use of his or her land.
Because of the uncertainty of the law regarding this issue, you might consider mediation. Mediation is a non-adversarial method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party helps resolve a dispute. The mediator does not have the power to render a decision on the matter or order an outcome. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the parties can pursue a lawsuit. The State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service may be able to recommend a mediator in your area. Call 1-877-9TEXBAR (Toll Free).