You can trim branches or roots that cross into your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road. 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 I hire an aborist to submit a report on the dangers to my … Published on August 23 2019. Residents of the City of Ottawa must abide by the Urban Tree Conservation By-law. Our neighbor’s trees may often become troublesome, either because their branches block sunlight, yield unwanted pollen, acorns or leaves, or because they create a risk of injury or property damage. Trimming a neighbour's overhanging branches: 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. An individual will generally be liable for the cost of the damage caused by their tree. 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. Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Ottawa SUN, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. Neighbour B may sue neighbour A for the cost of having the tree pruned, or to force neighbour A to have the tree pruned. When you can trim hedges or trees. My neighbour’s tree has branches that are overhanging or roots that are encroaching onto my property. A welcome email is on its way. The self-help remedy allows neighbour B to pay to have the branches that pass the property line pruned. 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. This will only be necessary if the trees are blocking the road or causing obstruction. Check this list of consumer rights and rules on cutting encroaching or overhanging foliage. Homeowners can refuse this, but the authorities are within their power to remove the trees without consent. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings. A neighbour’s tree causing damage to your property can be a source of conflict. Close. Property owners have a positive obligation to maintain all trees on their property and to ensure they are not a hazard. Posted by 3 years ago. An individual who intentionally kills their neighbour’s tree needlessly may face liability as a result. If it is, you’ll need to seek further clarification. 1. 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. 9. You can cut back anything up to your property … Another cause for disputes may arise when it is not clear who owns a tree, especially if that tree requires costly maintenance or removal. 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. In short, you can trim a neighbour’s tree that is overhanging your property. This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. This distance will depend on the type of tree. Read more about cookies here. It is important to note that you are only legally entitled to trim up to the property boundary and no further. Does the Court of Appeal have the Inherent Jurisdiction to Hear an Appeal of an Interlocutory Order? 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. For more information, visit www.jacquesrobert.com. What happens if my neighbour’s tree falls on my house? If you have a neighbour’s tree hanging over your land, you can: exercise the common law right of abatement—your right to remove overhanging branches and roots to your boundary line decide whether to return the lopped branches, roots or fruit to your neighbour, or dispose of them yourself. Try discussing the problem with your neighbor before trimming yourself. Neighbour Tree Disputes in NSW: Who’s in the right? In many cases, the fastest and easiest option to resolve a dispute of this nature is the self-help remedy. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. Maintenance of trees on private property can often lead to disputes between neighbours when a tree has been planted close to the property line. You can only trim up to the property boundary. Join the mailing list to receive daily email updates. Instead of researching the issue, the day laborer was turned loose on the trees like Jason in Friday the 13th. This means that trees should be planted far enough from a neighbour’s property to avoid harming that property. Defending Sexual Assault and Harassment at Work. If a tree falls into a neighbouring property, that property owner may be entitled to be reimbursed by the tree owner for the cost of removing the tree. So, your neighbour would need your permission to remove a tree along your property line so long as any part of the trunk is growing on the boundary line with your property. Most trees have a replacement value of between $500 and $2500. Such a tree is jointly owned by both neighbors and cannot be pruned or removed without permission from both parties. No. Carley Reynolds is a Lawyer at Donich Law, Copyright 2020 DONICH LAW PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION | All Rights Reserved. A boundary tree is one planted on the property line, so that the trunk grows partially on both properties. Good fences, they say, make good neighbours - although with some neighbours, the higher the better. What can I do to try to resolve the problem? By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. If this doesn’t help, try to obtain their written permission to do so before beginning. 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. A tree may be planted by neighbors well within the bounds of their property, but over time, some of the branches can extend beyond the property line and into your yard. 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. To me, it's even tougher when a tree is involved, because trees are beautiful, living things. Ornamental or landmark trees can have a … Do my neighbour’s trees have to be a certain distance from my house? Basically, if the trunk and visible roots are wholly on your neighbour’s property, your neighbour owns the tree. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited. In Ontario, the government does not regulate the pruning of trees on private property. Again the same principle applies to roots. Don’t grab the axe just yet. The decision in Koenig v. Goebel was affirmed in 2013 by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Demenuk v. Dhadwal [2013]. Overhanging Branches on Your 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. If the tree in question is dead/dying or has dead branches that could be hazardous, Urban Forestry can investigate. It can be a serious offence to injure or cut down a tree whose trunk grows across a property line. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. It would cost 600$ to have a company trim the branches bback to the property line. If you know that you have a tree that overhangs a neighbor's property, approach your neighbor to discuss the matter. I approached them about trimming the tree back and I was met with a "we treat … Press J to jump to the feed. Have a tree close to your neighbour’s property? In order to avoid liability, a property owner needs to be able to prove that the trees on their property had been properly assessed, and were a reasonable risk. This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. In some cases, neighbour B’s pruning of the tree’s branches or roots may damage the tree, causing it to die. Log In Sign Up. Ask your neighbour to cut the parts that overhang your land. Archived. If a tree on a neighbour’s property is encroaching onto your property and causing damage, the neighbour may be liable for that damage. 9. In heavily populated areas like the GTA, disputes between neighbours regarding trees are common. The other option is the self-help remedy. The Urban Tree Conservation By-law (s.5) states that “No person shall injure or destroy a tree or cause the injury or destruction of a tree unless a tree permit has been issued by the General Manager to permit the injury or destruction.” A tree permit will be required in all cases unless it falls into one of the exceptions. 2. The exception is if damage occurs as a result (e.g. Quebec law does not specify a precise distance. The same principle also applied to damage caused by the tree roots. What a person’s rights and obligations are as they pertain to their trees or the trees of the neighbors depends upon state law. If you don't see it please check your junk folder. I get a lot of questions re: neighbours. The tree company said He cannot/just cut branches overhanging my property unless he cuts branches to balance the tree. You cannot cut down the tree without getting the permission of your neighbor. The trunk is a key factor in such a case. In the 2012 case of Rony v Costa, a property owner hired an unlicensed day laborer to trim limbs that crossed his property line from a neighboring tree. The self-help remedy may be used even where the tree is not causing damage. Trees that start out on your property but grow over the boundary between your property and your neighbor’s property become the joint property of you and your neighbor under Washington state law. User account menu. A homeowner may be entitled to remove the overhanging branches of a tree belonging to an adjoining landowner. If it’s your tree you probably should be removing it, but it’s really between you and your neighbour.” Trending Stories The EU price list for COVID-19 vaccines was leaked. Roots. In doing so, the homeowner may not enter the neighbour’s land to trim branches without permission. Neighbour issues are tough. One cannot simply cut and run, however. You are legally entitled to trim back hedges or branches of overgrown trees or hedges if they fall into your property from a neighbour's property or public area. Where the base of the tree lies is the determining factor of who owns the tree. © 2020 Ottawa Sun, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved. Disputes typically arise when the branches or roots of a tree on one neighbour’s property (neighbour A) begin encroaching onto their neighbour’s property (neighbour B), causing damage to or interfering with the enjoyment of neighbour B’s property. This, however, can be a lengthy and time-consuming process and there is no guarantee that neighbour B will win. However, the law does require property owners to behave as “good neighbours”. As a result, determining who will pay to have a tree pruned is a civil matter. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. 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. The first thing you will need to do is check whether the tree is protected or subject to an environmental overlay. Usually this will be a case of a homeowner’s enjoyment of their property being affected by branches or roots crossing into their lot from the neighbour’s yard. To remove the tree, both property owners must consent. In some cases, the neighbour who owns the tree may be willing to contribute to or cover the cost of pruning the tree. A homeowner may remove the overhanging branches of a tree belonging to their neighbour. For example, it could be … tap here to see other videos from our team. Neighbor B will be responsible for the arrangements and costs associated with the pruning. It should also be kept in mind that even if the tree is not growing directly on your boundary line, many municipalities require an owner to first obtain a permit before removing trees above a certain size from their property. By Scott Williams. Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Overhanging branches become the property of the owner of the lot over which they are located. When you have a disagreement with your neighbour about a tree, what you can do partly depends on who owns the tree. However, if trimming the branches contributes to the death of the tree, the owner of the tree may be entitled to bring legal action against the neighbour that caused the injury. 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. My neighbours apple tree is massive and is well over my fence line. The next issue of The Ottawa Sun Headline News will soon be in your inbox. Property owners have a positive obligation to maintain all trees on their property and to ensure they are not a hazard. Can I tell my neighbour to come over and sweep up the leaves from their overhanging tree? Private property trees - pruning a neighbours tree branches overhanging onto your property The City of Toronto does not regulate the trimming of trees on private property. And that depends on where the tree is relative to the property line (also known as the “boundary line”). Disputes over trees, branches, and roots can hopefully be avoided by good communication and cooperation between neighbours. co-authored with Mark Armitage, associate lawyer, Jacques Robert is an Ottawa real estate lawyer. All councils have a Tree Preservation Order which is a set of regulations about the trimming and removal of trees. You can put them back on their property, taking care not to cause any damage, or ask for them to be removed. Consumer Rights for Cutting Branches. But you need to make sure you are not breaking any tree maintenance says set out by your local council. blocked drains) in which case it is advisable to notify the tree owner in a letter. Offer to trim the tree branches so they don't become a nuisance to him. Cuttings and fruit belong to the tree owner. One com­mon cause of neigh­bourly dis­putes that we seem to pro­vide a lot of advice about con­cerns the trees and hedges that can impact adjoin­ing prop­er­ties. Again, these laws can differ in each state, so be sure to look up the exact law in your area. These “boundary trees” are regulated by the Ontario Forestry Act which makes it an offence to injure or destroy a tree growing on the boundary between adjoining lands without consent of the land owner. 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4. what are your rights? A tree with its trunk growing across a property line is considered shared-property and in normal circumstances should not be injured or destroyed without the neighbor’s consent. 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. That will depend on several factors. There was an error, please provide a valid email address. You can contact your Council to find this out. A tree with a base growing on the boundary between two properties is common property between the owners of the two properties. What is our rights? Overhanging Branches If the branches of a neighbour’s tree start to grow over to your side, you can cut them back to the boundary point between you and your neighbour’s property, as long as the tree is not under a tree preservation order. Please try again. In fact, you may be breaking the law if you cut your next-door neighbour's overhanging tree. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. So. There are some basic steps to take before you start trimming. Therefore, if the tree is on the boundary and has two owners, both neighbours must agree to the maintenance of the tree. Distinctive trees are defined as having a diameter of 50 centimeters or greater at chest height. Answer: NO (Ontario). 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. Participant Experts v. Litigation Experts. We encountered an issue signing you up. They can be prickly. You are responsible for the cost of cutting any branches you choose to trim. If, however, the tree is a safety hazard or poses a risk, neighbour A may be liable for the cost of having it removed so as to ensure no damage occurs to surrounding properties. 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. Neighbour’s Tree Branches Causing Damage in Ontario? If roots from a neighbour’s tree cross property lines, the owner of the property being affected has the right to remove the roots. The most common exceptions include pruning necessary to maintain the health and condition of the tree, if the tree is an immediate threat to public health and safety, and if the tree is not a distinctive tree. 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. Except the trees were the unlucky cabin campers. It’s important to try to maintain good relationships with your neighbours, so it’s always best to first talk to them about any problems you might have with the trees they’re growing. Dis­putes with our next-door neigh­bours is some­thing we try and avoid at all costs. If the trunk of the tree extends over the boundary, this does not give you the right to chop it down. You can cut back any overhanging branch that comes into your property. The owner of a tree is not obliged to clear up fallen leaves. Tree trimming - neighbours tree on my property. 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. We apologize, but this video has failed to load. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Only the roots that are actually crossing the property line may be removed, and they can’t be removed in such a way as may kill the tree. Neighbor’s Trees Overhanging Your Property? But what rights do you have if your fences aren’t high enough to keep a neighbour’s trees out of your property … Whoever owns the tree is responsible for maintenance of the tree. It is also important to keep in mind the municipal by-laws that are in place in your area with respect to trees. 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