The only reason why trees become a subject of debate is when they become an eyesore to the surrounding. But from any angle, trees provide us with many things. They bear fruits, and they offer wood for fuel and conversion to wood products (furniture) and as giant ornaments in the community.
Trees also serve as shelter for birds. Trees with immense branches and leaves serve as a refuge from rain and sun. And on a larger scale, trees are an indispensable part of the ecosystem.
The benefits are almost infinite.
Can My Neighbour Cut My Tree Without Getting My Permission?
Whether you cut your tree or let it stay there as long as it doesn’t serve as an obstruction to anything is not a problem. Conflicts arise only when the next-fence neighbour feels your tree becomes a problem to their property.
The question is, does your neighbour have the right to cut your tree without permission?
The key is, as long as they know their limits, they can do so. The point is that when a neighbour cuts your tree outside the permitted laws, you have the right to sue them and have them pay you for the harm done.
But it doesn’t have to extend to court debates unless none between you and your neighbour is willing to sit down and straighten things out. Cooler heads don’t need to be elevated to court matters when your objectives are parallel.
Build bridges, not burn them
Let’s put the situation on your side.
Before getting mad at your neighbour’s untrimmed tree, be sure that the violation is clear. If you mistakenly thought that the tree was already encroaching your property, you have the right to trim that branch off so it won’t do any harm.
Any fruit that drops in your lawn can be yours. Any branch that extends to your roof, you can clean up even without telling your neighbour. But it is best if you inform them before any step you make. This way, you will forge healthy relationships with your neighbours rather than burning the bridge that ties you up with them—your tree.
- I have a neighbour with big tree’s branches hanging over my yard. Do I own the tree?
The person who owns the land where the trunk stands also owns the tree. But if the trunk stands partly on any of the properties, it usually belongs to both property owners. But that’s very rare. If it is a co-ownership, you are both responsible for the tree. Each other’s permission is required when one of you wants to remove the tree or do anything about it.
- Can I demand my neighbour pay me for the damages caused by the roots of his trees on my land?
This is a complex dispute. Your neighbour can be liable for the damages on your property due to the crawling of large roots. Do you have the heart to confront them?
Trees with extensive roots can crawl beneath the ground and can cause damage to the next-door’s property or structure. Certain conditions may apply.
- You have the right to tell the neighbour to cut the portion of the tree that infringes on your land.
- As the property owner, but not the tree owner, you have the right to cut the branches that reach your property.
- If there is structural damage, you can sue the tree owner.
- If the tree affects healthy trees in your lawn, you have the right to remove the foreign tree.
- If the encroaching tree hampers your freedom to enjoy a livable outdoor space, you can remove or trim the tree.
- Find applicable laws in your area if the situation is much worse, such as damaging your pipes or septic system.
- My neighbour’s tree branches hang over my lawn; can I trim it?
Most local laws permit you to cut parts of the branches that go over your fence or property line. Even without asking your neighbour when you think those branches are annoying and cause inconvenience in your life as a homeowner, you have the right to trim it down, as long as you don’t violate any rules.
However, if the tree is diseased and having to cut the branches may harm it even more or may infect other plants in your yard, it is best to consult existing regulations in your locality or state.
No matter what situation or dilemma you face with a problematic tree, it is better to talk to your neighbour instead of wasting money on useless and endless disputes. It is more worrisome if your neighbour is also a close friend.
Whatever dispute you may have, this is the ultimate:
You can’t cut down a tree that is not on your property
When you consult a tree surgeon, he will tell you in-depth. But for the basics, not anyone can go into someone else’s property and cut that tree down. You could be liable for trespassing or any misdeed concerning the tree.
Just know that any tree planted inside the neighbour’s property is not your business to have it removed, simply because they are the owner of the tree. You could be facing liabilities for the consequences of barging into someone else’s yard.
Most issues in cutting or trimming down trees pose a lot of debate among tree owners and neighbours.
To settle the score, let your government meddle with the matter. Sometimes there are trees built at the centre or occupying both property lines of two homeowners.
Call a tree surgeon to inspect the tree and if it is safe to remove it if both of you find it more convenient to have it gone. At least, both parties have the consent for the tree removal. If neighbours fail to remove the problematic tree, they could be held liable since the tree would cause certain damage in the community.
Tree surgeons from Alpine Tree Surgeons have handled hundreds of similar disputes on trees. Learn more about Tree Preservation Order and consult the Alpine team about any similar problem you have.