My Neighbor’s Tree Hangs Over My Property. Can I Cut The Branches?

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Ever wonder if you have the right to cut your neighbor’s tree branches?  What about the tree that sits on the property line?

Questions regarding tree limbs, property lines, and the related laws that govern neighborly issues should not be keeping you up at night.  If they do.. have I got a blog post for you!

I’m no expert, so I’m going to turn over this post to real estate legal eagle Kati Heller, a Partner over at McManamy McLeod Heller.  This should give you just enough information to avoid starting a neighborhood civil war over a tree branch.  Of course, if it doesn’t, now you’ve got the name of an attorney to help represent you in your dispute…

ISSUES INVOLVING TREES

1.  A neighbor’s tree branches hang over owner’s property.  What rights does the owner have?

  • The owner can trim the branches up to the property line.
  • The owner cannot go onto the Neighbor’s property in order to trim the branches.
  • The owner cannot destroy the tree in the process.

2.  A tree stands directly on the property line.  Who owns the tree?

  • Such a tree is a boudary tree.
  • Neither party can remove the tree without the other’s consent.
  • Both parties are responsible for maintaining the tree.

3.  A tree trunk is clearly on a neighbor’s property but the tree leans over onto the owner’s property.  Who own the tree?

  • The neighbor.

4.  A neighbor grades his property an in the process damage the root system of the owner’s tree and the tree dies.  What are the owner’s rights?

  • The neighbor owes the owner the value of the tree.

5. The neighbor’s tree looks like it is going to fall on the owner’s house.  What can the owner do?

  • The owner can trim the overhanging branches back to the property line.  The owner can call the local government.  Typically a dangerous tree ordinance will require the owner to remove the tree or the government will step in and do so.

Photo Credit: Curbed Chicago

 

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