Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
My neighbor’s tree has grown to where it is in my backyard, and the shade is killing my grass. It also has ruined the fence that we share with our neighbor. I am wondering who’s responsibility it is to pay to trim this tree and replace the fence. The other issue is I do not know these neighbors at all, and do not know what to say to them about it.
If it is their tree, it is their responsibility to get it trimmed. As for the fence, if there is just one fence between the two of you, that is a cost that should be split. To show good will you could speak to them about the tree, mention it has ruined the fence, and tell them if they will keep the tree trimmed from now on, you will replace the fence. If you cannot pay for the fence, then ask if they would split the cost with you. If you are cordial to them in your approach and sound like you would be appreciative for anything that they are willing to do, they will hopefully be receptive and friendly about the whole matter.