As long as a tree is not considered a “boundary tree” it can be pruned by the neighbor on either side of the property line without permission. With that in mind, the person who is responsible for maintaining the greenery is normally the person who owns the tree or hedge. Courts have upheld that a homeowner’s tree rights extend indefinitely upward on his property line, and those rights are protected from invasion by an adjoining landowner. Trimming a neighbour's overhanging branches: Urban Forestry recommends … It may be difficult to determine if it is on your property or on that of your neighbor. Who is responsible? However, the cut branch (es), and any fruit or flowers attached to the branch (es) remain the property of the tree owner and must be returned. The self-help remedy allows neighbour B to pay to have the branches that pass the property line pruned. You must take care, however, that any maintenance you perform on the tree branches does not damage the rest of the tree. Even if the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, you have the responsibility for cutting any branches that extend onto your property line. If the tree has a Preservation Order on it then you cannot cut/pare any branches. You could be considered ​negligent for failing to remove a known hazard before damage occurred or for failing to properly inspect and maintain the trees on your property. Significant trees on private property or City streets are protected under Municipal Code, Chapter 813, known as the Tree Protection By-law. If leaves, acorns, twigs or other debris from a neighbor’s tree falls onto your property, you are responsible for cleaning this debris up. Your tree branches may hang over into your neighbour's yard. It can be done as a preventative measure to keep branches from damaging structures or overhead lines, or it can be done as a pruning technique to keep the tree healthy.. Overhanging Branches on Your Property . While liability surrounding property damage is very fact specific, the Court in Koenig v. Goebel [1998] stated that “there is clear authority for the proposition that a property owner is legally entitled without notice to cut those branches and roots of a neighbour’s Border Tree which extend onto his property or air space although such an action may kill the tree.” The Court later cautioned that this does not mean individuals have an absolute right to destroy their neighbours border trees should they begin to extend over the property line. 9 Maintenance Tips to Winterize Your Property, The 6 Property Maintenance Responsibilities of Landlords, Cleaning Up After a Loss May Cost More Than You Think, How Landlords Can Prepare for a Winter Storm, Here Are Some Ways You Can Prepare Your Property for a Hurricane. This is known as the common law right of abatement (Lemmon v Webb [1862] AC 1 HL). A boundary tree is one planted on the property line, so that the trunk grows partially on both properties. Situation 1. Disclaimer for our website: This website is presented by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for the purpose of disseminating information free of charge for the benefit of the public. Who Is Responsible for Maintaining the Tree? CAB monitors the quality of the information available on this website and updates the information regularly. The common law allows that land-owner the right to cut back the trespassing branches. Property owners have a positive obligation to maintain all trees on their property and to ensure they are not a hazard. What is our rights? If you are involved in a dispute with a neighbour involving a tree, the first step is to notify the neighbor that their tree is causing damage to or interfering with your enjoyment of your property. 72tree.com gathered the following information on determining who owns and is responsible for a tree’s overhanging branches, and what actions to take. As a result, determining who will pay to have a tree pruned is a civil matter. The self-help remedy may be used even where the tree is not causing damage. If your property backs onto a road and has a problem with overhanging trees, it’s possible the Highways Agency might ask you to remove them. In the rare case that the tree trunk lies right in the middle of the boundary between you and your neighbor, then it will be a mutual responsibility to take care of the tree. For example; If neighbor A has a tree, and the branches from the tree are encroaching on neighbor B’s property, neighbor B has the right to trim whatever branches have passed the property line without notifying neighbour A. If that fails you are almost certainly within your rights to clip it or snip it. If you intend to injure or destroy (remove) a protected tree … This survey will show you the boundaries of your property. You must each take care not to take any actions that will damage the tree as a whole, such as digging up the roots or putting down dangerous chemicals that could kill the tree. For example, if neighbour A fails to maintain their tree and it falls onto neighbour B’s property causing damage, neighbour A will generally be liable for that damage. Trees next to a home can add beauty and shade, but they can also become a problem when branches grow too big or too weak due to disease. If the owner fails to have the work carried out, … For example; If neighbor A has a tree, and the branches from the tree are encroaching on neighbor B’s property, neighbor B has the right to trim whatever branches have passed the property line without notifying neighbour A. In many cases, the fastest and easiest option to resolve a dispute of this nature is the self-help remedy. Tip Top Arborists, Inc. has been licensed and fully insured for tree trimming, tree removal and stump grinding since 1976 in Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Victor Valley and Tehachapi Valley. Most insurance companies will cover the claim as long as they deem it an Act of God, because this situation could not have been anticipated by a reasonable person. If the parts of the tree crossing the property line are a nuisance to neighbour B, they may be removed without notifying or seeking permission from neighbour A. Neighbour B must not, however, trespass onto neighbour A’s property to complete the pruning and must avoid pruning past the property line. 1. The other option is the self-help remedy. When it comes to overhanging tree branches in your yard, over your house, or along power lines that effect your home, you may have some say about what happens to that tree and its maintenance. The tree is an immediate hazard to the line (split, leaning, hanging over, uprooted) The tree is leaning on a hydro pole. If your actions cause damage or ultimately kill a neighbor’s tree, you may be found liable for up to three times the replacement cost of the tree. This, however, can be a lengthy and time-consuming process and there is no guarantee that neighbour B will win. These ordinances allow you to sue your neighbor to force your neighbor to remove a tree (or the branches of a tree) that is blocking your scenic view. In some cases, neighbour B’s pruning of the tree’s branches or roots may damage the tree, causing it to die. The tree or branches are smoking, sparking, or burning on a power line. It would cost 600$ to have a company trim the branches bback to the property line. Even if its branches or, worse still, its roots have begun to grow over or into a neighbour’s territory, it belongs to the landowner where the tree was originally planted. In addition, if your neighbor gives you a warning about a tree or portion of a tree that they feel is a hazard or files a complaint with the town about a tree on your property that they believe to be a hazard, if you do nothing to address this concern and any portion of the tree falls on the neighbor’s property, you may be liable for any damage caused. Participant Experts v. Litigation Experts. If a tree trunk is in your territory, you are responsible for its health and dangerous situations caused by the tree. In heavily populated areas like the GTA, disputes between neighbours regarding trees are common. If, as in this case, it requires expenditure by the land-owner to do this, can a small claims court be used to seek repayment of the costs because it was a trespass, or would a full court hearing be the only way to recover these costs, if a claim of trespass, nuisance and damages was made? She has more than 16 years of experience in real estate. Who Is Responsible for Cutting Overhanging Tree Branches, How to Tell if a Tree Is on Your Property. This will only be necessary if the trees are blocking the road or causing obstruction. These ordinances are very specific, so if you live in one of the few cities that has one, you need to research the law to determine if it actually applies to you. When a neighbors tree branch is over hanging an adjoining property line, the adjoining property owner has an absolute right to cut the branch up to the property line. Such a tree is jointly owned by both neighbors and cannot be pruned or removed without permission from both parties. Establishing Ownership of Trees The tree belongs to the person upon whose land it has originally grown. If your tree or a portion of your tree falls on your neighbor’s property and the tree has obvious signs of disease or rot, or if your neighbor had filed a complaint with the town or with you about the hazard, you may be liable for any damage caused. To remove the tree, both property owners must consent. Neighbour A is under no obligation, however, to pay for trimming parts of the tree that are not on their property, unless those parts of the tree are unhealthy or pose a safety hazard. If you do not have an existing property survey, or are unable to tell with the existing survey you have, you may have to have a new survey done and have the surveyor physically mark out the boundaries of your property. Neighbor B will be responsible for the … In Ontario, the government does not regulate the pruning of trees on private property. When a tree on your property hangs over the boundary line into another yard, you have a duty to address all weak or damaged branches. Carley Reynolds is a Lawyer at Donich Law, Copyright 2020 DONICH LAW PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION | All Rights Reserved. As of January 1, 2020, the fee for an Application to Injure or Remove Trees has changed. My neighbor's tree overhangs on our property and is a nuisance every year by constantly blupping our pool skimmer, and since it is a Maple tree which drops thousands of seeds, we ar constantly removing small trees that grow everywhere. Erin Eberlin wrote for The Balance Small Business, covering rental management, tenant acquisition, and property investment. What Are Tenants Improvements and Betterments? You must look for any weak or damaged branches. Overhanging branches become the property of the owner of the lot over which they are located. An individual who intentionally kills their neighbour’s tree needlessly may face liability as a result. In situations where an individual (neighbour A) refuses to prune the parts of their tree that are encroaching onto their neighbour’s (neighbour B) property, the neighbour whose property is being encroached upon has two options. If a branch from a tree hangs over the property line in such a way that causes injury or damage to the neighbour, the owner of the tree is legally responsible for the damage or injury. There are several exceptions to the above rule: If a complaint is filed with the town, the town may require you to remove the tree, or they may even come to remove it themselves. A handful of cities have a “view ordinance,” which states that a scenic view is an important part of a home’s value. Should the tree or hedge bear fruit that hangs into a neighbour's garden, the neighbour cannot lawfully take the fruit or flowers subject to the Theft Act 1968. The trees whose tree trunks are within your property line are considered to be part of your property, and therefore, your responsibility. You will each be responsible for whatever portion of the tree is on your property. One cannot simply cut and run, however. To answer the question of who is responsible for trimming tree limbs, it should be noted that by law, you have the right to cut down those branches of a tree that have crossed your line of the property. Conflicts involving trees and neighbors are best resolved through communication, but there are laws covering these types of situations. The decision in Koenig v. Goebel was affirmed in 2013 by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Demenuk v. Dhadwal [2013]. These items are not considered damage. A tree right on the boundary may need to be trimmed or cut down. Even though the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, anything from the tree that falls onto your property is your responsibility. If it’s not protected, or you have a permit, you can cut back any leaves, branches or roots overhanging the boundary line. If any portion of a tree that was a known hazard falls and damages your neighbor’s property, you will likely be responsible. You can cut back any overhanging branch that comes into your property. Unless you agree otherwise, you must return the branches & leaves to your neighbour as they remain their property. Even if the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, you have the responsibility for cutting any branches that extend onto your property line. This is known as the right of abatement, and is done at your cost, unless otherwise agreed. You are responsible for the cost of cutting any branches you choose to trim. Do not attempt to prune or cut down a tree near power lines. Note that some trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPO Is Mold Covered Under Your Commercial Property Policy? Neighbor B will be responsible for the arrangements and costs associated with the pruning. Again, these laws can differ in each state, so be sure to look up the exact law in your area. Branches of a large tree hang in your yard, but the trunk is planted in your neighbor’s yard. In certain cases, there may be a tree that is right on the edge of the property. Learn more about conflicts with neighbors, trees, property, real estate, property lines, damage, and other legal topics at FindLaw's Real Estate section. Learn About Title Insurance and Get Tips and Insight Into the Pitfalls, Insuring Other People's Property Used in Your Business, The Balance Small Business is part of the. Using this survey, you will be able to determine which trees fall within your property lines and which ones belong to your neighbors. Some rare trees can be valued at tens of thousands of dollars. A Council or Highways Agency may serve notice on the tree owner to require adequate clearance of hedges or trees encroaching onto pavements or roads. Even so, the law only grants you permission to remove them back to the dividing line or border. If the tree in question is dead/dying or has dead branches that could be hazardous, Urban Forestry can investigate. Whether you find yourself on the giving or receiving end of an overhanging tree complaint, it is essential to know who owns the tree in question. If a tree on a neighbour’s property is encroaching onto your property and causing damage, the neighbour may be liable for that damage. 2. Neighbour’s Tree Branches Causing Damage in Ontario? In general, where tree branches or roots encroach onto neighbouring land, the owner of the neighbouring land has the right to cut back the encroaching branches to the boundary. Tree trimming is an active maintenance program that removes branches from a tree. If the owner of the tree is unwilling to cooperate however, they are legally unable to stop you from completing the pruning at your own expense. In this case, you may have questions about your rights regarding the portion of the tree that is on your property. You are responsible for the cost of cutting any branches you choose to trim. The following are general rules regarding overhanging tree branches. If the tree is on private land then the landowner is responsible. A homeowner may be entitled to remove the overhanging branches of a tree belonging to an adjoining landowner. Generally, if a tree trunk sits on both you and your neighbor’s property, is owned by both of you, and you are both responsible for the tree. If you see a tree branch that you're worried may cause you damage, ... Toronto, Ontario, M5R 3G6. When you purchase a home, you are usually required to get a property survey. 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