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can i cut tree roots on my property

29th Dec 2020

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right, Gus, your property lines go down to the center of the earth and go up into space. 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. If you need to cut a fallen tree in your yard, follow these chainsaw safety tips. But in some cases, subsidence and structural damage can be linked to tree roots. According to NOLO, some states have laws on the books that make intentional tree damage a crime that can result in a fine or jail time. Yes. Crossing property lines to trim or cut down a tree is not something you or your arborist can do. However, there are exceptions, such as when there is a risk of injury or damage to property. Or, even if it would harm the tree, if the damage they are doing to the neighbor’s property is substantial, then maybe the roots and tree need to go. Under common law, a person may cut back any branch (or root) from a neighbour’s tree that overhangs or encroaches onto their property. If you don't want to do this yourself you can ask a district court for an order for the trimming or even removal of the tree. Trees can become an issue between neighbors if limbs or roots extend beyond the owner's property. You don’t want to cut down the tree. Depending on where you live, if you cut down your neighbor’s tree it could be considered trespassing. A Generally, yes; you can cut back any part of a tree (or any other plant), including the roots, which encroaches on your boundary, as far as the boundary line. No, as the effect of the tree/s on the adjoining properties would have to be assessed separately, each affected adjoining owner would have to lodge a separate application. Understanding the factors involved in tree damage to buildings, including soil type and depth of foundations, will help both tree and house owners determine what action to take and when to get … When Can I Trim My Neighbor’s Tree? Removing a tree because it is a liability. Falling limbs or a falling tree can injure people and property. Here are ways to ease the conflict, as suggested by mediators. In cutting back any overhanging branches (or encroaching roots) the following points must be observed. The work must be done from your own property. The rationale behind this law is that property owners and neighbors should work to solve problems together, rather than jumping into filing lawsuits. Again, there is a process to go through to prove the cause of the damage, and the extent of that damage. Liability for damage caused by tree roots. Garden and street trees are desirable and can drive up property values. Where tree roots have caused structural damage or have affected the foundations of a property, always seek the advice of a tree surgeon. If the tree is unable to take up what it needs, then a loss of vigor can result. Neighbor has a lipstick vine which has grown up and is climbing over my fence, roots traveling under my drive way and sprouting between slates of my deck. THE TREE IS TOO CLOSE It depends on the city you live in and the size of the tree. Blocked drains and lifted paving may also be a problem. In every state, a common-law right exists that allows a property owner to cut the branches and roots of a neighboring tree that is invading their property. Can I cut branches or roots that are encroaching onto my property? If the tree has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) placed on it then you will need permission from the council to perform any works to the tree, whether that’s removing a branch or felling the tree. This fact sheet provides general information and is intended as a guide only. Any uncertainty regarding the location of the actual property line should be dealt with prior to digging. Don’t Cut Down the Tree. Most trees growing near buildings cause no damage. You’re legally entitled to cut and remove any tree branches or roots that encroach over the boundary of your neighbour’s land and into your land, up to the point of where your property ends. You can start by discussing your concerns with your neighbour and asking him to cut them. If the roots or branches of your neighbour's tree encroach on your land, you can cut them back to the boundary line. Technically if you cut the roots to the neighbors tree and it a) causes the ground to be unstable/tree unstable b) causes significant damage to the tree, You would be liable for the losses despite the fact they are on your property. Never tackle the work alone. You’re legally entitled to cut and remove any tree branches or roots that encroach over the boundary of your neighbour’s land and into your land, up to the point of where your property ends. The property owner sued for wrongful injury to timber and won the trial. Usually, they cannot compel the owner of the tree to do this work, but are entitled to undertake it at their own cost. If necessary, you can sue to enforce your rights. The first thing you should do is make sure you are NOT damaging your neighbor’s property. Do i need a permit to cut down a tree on my property? Neither you nor your arborist may go onto a neighbor’s property or destroy the tree. Within a few feet of her townhome, a Mimosa tree’s roots threaten the foundation of her house. The tree roots are part of your property. I also had another tree cut down on the back of my property to keep it from falling i.n the neighbor’s yard. Can I cut overhanging branches or roots from my neighbour’s tree? Can I still sell my house if there is a tree dispute application pending on my property or an order has been made? How to Cut Tree Roots in Lawns. 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. You don’t want to pay for the damage. 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! Cutting a tree’s roots affects its ability to take up water and nutrients. Crossing property lines or removing part of the tree not on your property could result in a lawsuit. Here's the lowdown on what you must prove to recover for a damaged or destroyed tree, and how much money you can recover. Last updated: 1 October 2020. No. I have lived here for 30 odd years and watched the tree grow bigger every year. My suggestion is to contact an arborist, and ask what the impact to the tree would be if the roots you are looking to cut are cut. Most city governments have Tree Preservation Ordinances outlining the rules and regulations that surround tree removal and tree trimming. If your neighbor or someone else cuts down, removes, or hurts a tree on your property without your permission, that person is required to compensate you (the tree owner) for your loss. 'My neighbour's tree drops berries on my car. The tree has already encroached on a privacy fence, and created wide cracks in her patio. Where tree roots cause damage to a neighbouring property, the owner of the tree can be liable, under the law of nuisance, for such damage. Advertisement Story continues below The general position under the common law is that a neighbour can cut back branches or roots on their side, up to the boundary line. ... Do I need permission to cut down a tree in my garden? Can I cut branches or roots that are encroaching onto my property? THE TREE IS LEANING Leaning trees are more of a hazard than those growing vertically. Can I cut branches or roots on my neighbour’s tree if they are bothering me? The Telegraph's Property Doctors answer your questions. (This author lives in an association and a tree fell on his house, … Just because these branches or roots are on your property doesn’t mean you can take matters into your own hands! You may prune the branches back to the boundary of your property but no further. In practice, it is commonly held that you can cut back branches and roots that cross the property line without seeking permission of the tree owner, but there may be legal complications. Removing the tree roots up to the boundary line is a reasonable course of action. If there is a tree on your property that presents an immediate risk to persons or property, it may be removed without waiting on a permit from your city.. The Court awarded damages for the replacement value of the part of tree that was cut on the tree owner's property. It now blocks out a lot of light in summer and the roots are showing through the adjacent pavement. I have a very large tree that is on council land and is overhanging my property. 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. Can I cut it back?' The Telegraph's Property Doctors answer your questions In all cases you must know the exact location of the boundary and the tree. Trees on private property can create a nuisance for your neighbour and have the potential to cause damage to property when branches and/or roots encroach onto the adjoining neighbour’s property. Its main woody trunk is pushing through my privacy fence and breaking the boards. But the worker also cut (i.e., hacked with a chain saw) substantial parts of the tree and that were on the tree owner's land. A sudden lean indicates breakage or weakening of roots and tree should probably be removed immediately. These can be signs that a tree is unhealthy or diseased. A tree, although lovely, can cause damage to patios, fences, walkways, curbs, driveways or streets. But the HOA says Armstrong needs their approval before she can have the tree removed. When his tree roots are coming over on to your property and destroying your pavers, your neighbor is not obligated to come over there and cut those tree roots, because those tree roots are on your property. Your tree is damaging your neighbors property. What do you want to do? Ornamental trees can sometimes grow too large for a property or may be planted too close to a home's foundation. If branches from a council tree are overhanging your property, you can cut them back yourself, unless the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or is in a conservation area. Unfortunately, they’re not about to provide approval. 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