When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, that neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately. Taking legal action against a neighbour will almost certainly strain your relationship — no small matter since you’re living side by side. To be certain of where your property line is, take a look at your land survey. Some people like to plant trees near or on the property line for privacy. If a neighbor's tree roots are growing onto your property and causing property damage, you have the right to remove the roots. Good fences, they say, make good neighbours - although with some neighbours, the higher the better. Learn more about conflicts with neighbors, trees, property, real estate, property lines, damage, and other legal topics at FindLaw's Real Estate section. If you are suffering from the types of neighbors who make you want to move, look into the steps you can take to deal with horrible neighbors. If your neighbour understands where you’re coming from, it can be easier to explore solutions together. “If the neighbor’s tree falls on your house, it’s your problem,” says Gary Blackwell, an independent insurance agent based in Corinth, Maine. So. Please try again. Your neighbour the one cutting down the tree would be considered negligent and responsible for the damage. Overreaching branches and roots can be annoying and inconvenient. For example, don’t plant trees close to overhead utility lines. When a storm occurs, you need to consider potential damage to your home and personal property as well as the property of your neighbors. BC law says a municipality won’t be responsible for paying damages in a legal action unless you’ve provided written notice about the legal problem within 60 days. BC law says a strata corporation can’t make a big change in how common property is used or how it looks unless: An example of the latter might be because the trees are dangerously hanging over utility wires. If your claim falls between $5,000 and $35,000, you can bring a legal action in Small Claims Court. But these may not be legally accurate markers of the property line. This is faster and less complicated than suing in the British Columbia Supreme Court. When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, a homeowner is often left to wonder if he or she is liable. The tree fell and damaged the fence, a snowmobile trailer and a … Copy and paste this code to a location within your website. Searching by “Community” under “Practice Areas” can help narrow your search. In that instance, the tree owner would be required to remove the offending tree. You may immediately think that if it wasn’t your fault, it isn’t your problem. roots causing damage to your property. Just like you wouldn’t go onto your neighbor’s property to tidy up any of their other property, the same goes for their tree. Dealing with damage to property. In the letter to your neighbour: We have a short template letter that can help you get started. Generally, you can’t prune or cut trees on public property without your municipality’s permission. Just include the part until .ca, .org, or .com. Whether you’re thinking of planting a tree or you’re concerned about a neighbour’s tree, the first step is to talk about it with your neighbour. It's important to keep in mind that specifics of such a situation may vary legally according to state, so you should check with local statutes, as well as with your homeowner's insurance, before you take any action. Municipal bylaws will often set out the number, size, and type of replacement trees, as well as where on the property they can be planted. Learn how to deal with a neighbour’s untidy premises and other neighbourhood nuisances. Trees planted on the boundary belong to both neighbour's equally. PovNet has a searchable list of legal advocates experienced with providing legal information. | Terms of Use | Privacy | Empowered by Agentic, This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Both must agree before either one can trim the tree or cut it down. However, you can only do what is necessary to solve the problem. The per­son mak­ing the claim must be the own­er or occu­pi­er of the land that adjoins the land on which the tree or hedge is sit­u­at­ed. Basically, if the trunk and visible roots are wholly on your neighbour’s property, your neighbour owns the tree. There was an error, please provide a valid email address. For example, your neighbor has the legal right to trim branches of your tree if they hang over the property line. You may have to pay a fine or face a legal action. My neighbour’s cannabis smoke is driving me crazy. Serious harm caused by encroaching tree limbs or tree roots may give rise to a lawsuit. Under the law of nuisance, property owners are entitled to resort to self-help remedies to eliminate a continuing nuisance caused by roots and branches from trees, or the court may order that the nuisance be abated or … Two situations typically arise. But what rights do you have if your fences aren’t high enough to keep a neighbour’s trees out of your property or roof? A homeowner may remove the overhanging branches of a tree belonging to their neighbour. Read more about cookies here. Every first-year law student learns about the case of Rylands vs. Fletcher, a decision of … During a late November windstorm in 1991, a 60-foot poplar in Parent’s … What you can do depends in part on who owns the tree and any local bylaws relating to trees. Hi, My next door neighbour has a berry tree that is damaging my interlock and becoming a nuisance with my grandchildren and my dog. Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. 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. Your neighbour is responsible for maintaining their hedges so they do not, for example, damage your property or grow too high. Your neighbour’s tree may be upsetting you. You can: You do not have to remove a healthy tree that is blocking your neighbour’s view or casting unwanted shade. Otherwise you’re out of time to sue the municipality. Your neighbour owns and is responsible for maintaining it, including any branches that hang over onto your property. It is his, and his complaint seems suspiciously reinforced by the reputation that precedes him. If you’re wanting to plant a tree, start by explaining why you want it where you want it. This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. This distance will depend on the type of tree. But if the tree is likely to injure you or cause damage to your property you can act without your neighbour's permissions. The large trees my neighbours have planted will overshadow/block views from our property. These rules are typically in local bylaws. 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. Each of you has to get the other’s agreement before doing anything to the tree. But what you can do is express concern that his or her tree is at risk of damaging your property the next time a big storm rolls around. A neighbor’s tree branch that hangs over your property may fall in a storm, resulting in damage to your home, car or other possessions. Also, FortisBC recommends you “click, call or check before you dig”: contact BC 1 Call to find out if there are any buried utility pipes or lines. But if some of the base is on the property line, you and your neighbour jointly own the tree. Take a look at this diagram from the city of Vancouver website. This can pose a safety hazard. Can my neighbour be held liable for damage caused to my property? You cannot cut down the tree or enter your neighbour’s land to trim branches without permission. Trees and Neighbours - What you should know. At common law, a property owner is legally entitled without notice to cut those branches and roots of a neighbour’s border tree that extend onto his property or air space. You can only trim up to the property boundary. You could also start a court action before a dangerous tree or branch falls to require your neighbour to remove it. Laws vary somewhat but most states say that if the roots of a homeowner’s tree damages a neighbor’s drive or home, then that’s the n… 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. Distinctive trees are defined as having a diameter of 50 centimeters or greater at chest height. For example, say you’re worried about the condition of a tree in your neighbour’s yard, as it’s leaning far to one side and a large branch is hanging over your property. ii contacted the owner, his own lives there, he took my phone number, but have had no response. If you have issues with a neighbour’s tree — for example, it overhangs your property — explain your concerns and ask for their thoughts. There is a tree on my neighbour's property leaning on my property in Ottawa, Ontario. Neighbours may disagree about where a fence can be built, what type of fence to build, or who should bear the cost of building or repairing a fence. Clean air. it is at least 60ft high and my garden is constantly covered in needles. When police officer came and blocked out road my neighbor told police officer it was my tree but it was clear it was on the border on his property and a quarter on mine. There might be a tree on public property next to your property that poses a hazard or is causing damage. On the flip side, a strata owner who wants to plant trees on common property has to get the strata corporation’s written permission beforehand. On the other hand, a property owner is responsible for the health and maintenance of the trees on their property. 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. Shade. The cases we refer to reflect real experiences, but names and images have been changed to protect people's privacy. For more information, visit www.jacquesrobert.com. This might be especially true if: In law, these situations may be considered a nuisance. It may also show where markers, such as pins, have been placed in the ground to help identify the property line. The tree was 99% on our property but the trunk did protrude slightly onto the neighbours property. For example, many BC municipalities require property owners to apply for a tree removal permit if they want to cut down a tree above a certain size. If this doesn’t help, try to obtain their written permission to do so before beginning. 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. Your neighbor may agree to take it down. You can put any agreement you reach in a letter to your neighbour. To get ready for the conversation, think about the outcome you’re seeking. If you want to prune or remove a tree, check with your municipality about the laws that apply to you. Best tree on the block. Or there may be an unhealthy tree across from your home that’s part of a community street plan. A big tree on the condo’s property has roots encroaching onto my property. You can contact your municipality and ask them to inspect and maintain these trees that line boulevards. The same principle also applied to damage caused by the tree roots. If necessary, they (or an arborist they hire) should remove damaged, weak, or rotting branches. If your neighbour is unco-operative, or if you’d rather do it yourself, you can choose to cut back your neighbour’s overhanging branches or dig up the roots — up to the property line — and clean up the debris left on your property. If you don't see it please check your junk folder. Answer: NO (Ontario). The threshold is typically a tree trunk diameter of 10 to 20 cm or larger, as measured at 1.4 m above the ground. When a tree on your property … If you do go onto a neighbor’s property or harm the tree, you could be liable for double or triple the value of the tree! If a neighbor's tree roots are growing onto your property and causing property damage, you have the right to remove the roots. If a tree owner allows the tree to grow so that it uproots a fence, it would be considered an encroachment onto the adjacent property. How far may depend, in part, on the tree’s eventual height and diameter. (You can’t just go make a change to common property — even a good one!) (Learn about embedding content.). Are they responsible for the damages? Residents of the City of Ottawa must abide by the Urban Tree Conservation By-law. If the roots of a tree situated on a neighbour’s land have caused damage to your property, then the owner of the tree can be liable for the damage under the law of nuisance. Is there a rule about how close a fence can be to a neighbour’s house? 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. Private trees - neighbour's tree branch in danger of falling onto another neighbours property or tree already fallen on neighbour's property Under Toronto Municipal Code 629 , all damaged or dead trees, branches or portions thereof must be removed by the property owner. If your neighbour owns the tree, you can ask them to prune the tree’s branches or dig up its roots. Privacy. The reverse case is also true. On November 30, 1991, Janet’s tree snapped off in a wind storm. A tree with a base growing on the boundary between two properties is common property between the owners of the two properties. If the burden is greater than the risk of harm, a court will probably not find that the neighbor had a duty to inspect the tree. What happens if a neighbour’s tree falls on your property? (See “What you should know” above for an explanation of these concepts.) If a neighbour’s child damages your property as a result of playing a ball game then, as it is trespass for the ball to cross your boundary, your neighbour would be liable to financially compensate you for the damage the ball caused. If you’re unable to resolve the matter directly with your neighbour, consider mediation. If you’ve contacted the municipality to report an unhealthy tree and it isn’t inspected and maintained, the municipality can be responsible for paying for the cost of damages to your property. Learn how to deal with parking problems involving neighbours. 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. Kidding aside, this really isn’t your problem. You cannot go onto your neighbor's property or destroy the tree. Have a tree close to your neighbour’s property? If necessary, you can sue to enforce your rights. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Do I have to pay for any of this? It was doing zero damage to their property as it was a vacant lot. As soon as you notice any signs of damage that may have been caused by your neighbour then raise it with them immediately. Negligence means your neighbour didn’t take reasonable care in the circumstances. On the Mediate BC website, you can search for a mediator based on the community you live in and the type of problem you have. also there are several loose branches that are hazarous. That’s trespassing, and your neighbour would have a legal claim against you. The owner can look for guidance in the strata’s bylaws and the Strata Property Act. 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. Generally speaking, this is not usually considered a significant private nuisance. This is called the self-help rule. Fences serve many purposes. Again, there is a process to go through to prove the cause of the damage, and the extent of that damage. Even if there aren’t any, ask yourself: “What would a good neighbour do?” They’d probably plant the tree a reasonable distance from the property line. You can also hire a registered BC land surveyor to come to the property and identify the property line. The information is not intended as legal advice. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is … Dial-A-Law: A starting point for information on the law in British Columbia in 130+ topic areas. This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. I live in a condo. What to do when your neighbour’s noise crosses the line. Claims for damage resulting from tree roots are brought in nuisance rather than trespass, even though the tree roots will be encroaching on the neighbouring land. If you do go onto a neighbor’s property or harm the tree, you could be liable for double or triple the value of the tree! A question we get asked all the time is: What can I do about a neighbor’s tree damaging my property? In that situation, if the tree is damaged or it dies, you may face: Take a look at this diagram showing an example of how the self-help rule works: Image by Julian Dunster via Slaw, from Trees and the Law in Canada. The destructive force of nature is something that any homeowner in Florida faces, from minor storms to full-scale hurricanes. Trees on neighbours’ land. A short, narrow tree could be closer to the property line than a tall or broad one. For example, maybe it has overreaching branches or roots (or both), or looks unhealthy or unsafe, or is healthy but is blocking light or beautiful views. And with this in mind, it becomes clear that the responsibility for maintenance or damage caused by overgrowth lies with the owner. There might be a fence or hedge or some other physical barrier between the two yards. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In the search box, type in “tree bylaw [community name].”. Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Damage? For example, you may believe something your neighbour did doesn’t follow local bylaws, such as rules about cutting down a tree or planting a replacement tree. Join the mailing list to receive daily email updates. The cost of a land survey may range from about $500 to $800. 150 – 900 Howe StreetVancouver, BC V6Z 2M4Canada, Copyright 2020 People's Law School. This online system encourages a collaborative approach to resolving disputes. You can talk about who will do the work and how the costs will be covered. If the tree that falls into your property causes no damage but simply make a big mess, you may be solely responsible for all of the cleanup costs. Legal advocates are among several options for free legal help; others include pro bono services and legal clinics. The neighbour one day had a company come in an chop down the tree and remove it over the next day while we were at work. Most people assume that they are liable since it is their tree. But they can also lead to tensions and conflicts. When you and your neighbour have a disagreement about a tree, what you can do depends on who owns the tree, as well as what your local tree bylaws say. If the trunk and any visible roots of your neighbour’s tree are close to, but not over, the property line, this is a border tree. Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. If a tree on your neighbour’s property falls and damages your property, your neighbour isn’t responsible for the damage unless it was caused intentionally or through negligence. If the tree is a jointly owned boundary tree, you and your neighbour have to agree on what is to be done with it. 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. If none of the steps above resolve the problem, it may be time to consider legal action. When you have a disagreement with your neighbour about a tree, what you can do partly depends on who owns the tree. Most people assume that they are liable since it is their tree. Trees on neighbours’ land. Provide the website address where you will use our content. Ted and Janet were neighbours. In such a case, the strata corporation could cut down trees on common property. They can mark property boundaries, keep pets or children safe, offer privacy, or limit unwanted guests. To me, it's even tougher when a tree is involved, because trees are beautiful, living things. The International Society of Arboriculture promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and provides a searchable directory of arborists. Johnson and his neighbour get along well, but he e-mailed me recently to ask if I could write about who bears the legal responsibility for any damage the tree might cause, or the costs of repair. What to do if a neighbour's tree is affecting you. 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