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3 reasons trees become a source of neighborly disputes

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Real Estate Disputes |

For property owners in Texas, a healthy, mature tree could potentially add substantially to what their real property is worth. Some property owners grow trees to harvest timber later, while others simply want the aesthetic benefit of a tree’s natural beauty.

Unfortunately, especially when trees are particularly large or close to boundaries between properties, they can become a source of conflict between neighbors. Why do the owners of adjacent properties end up arguing with one another over a tree near a boundary?

A tree has become a nuisance

Certain kinds of trees made prove irritating for people with different conditions or different ways of using their property. For example, a large tree that has grown up to overshadow a neighbor’s yard might kill off their prize-winning perennial plants. Trees that produce pollen, dribble sap or drop fruits can add frustrating and repetitive chores to a property owner’s life even if the tree isn’t on their property. When a tree becomes a nuisance, a neighbor may start to complain about the nuts, the sap or the shade that the tree produces.

A tree has caused damage

Sometimes, a tree that hangs over a fence onto someone else’s property could lose branches during wind storms and other weather incidents. When that happens, fencing, equipment and even vehicles could end up severely damaged because of the tree. There may then be questions about who should have to cover the repair costs because the tree located on someone else’s property caused the damage.

One neighbor has damaged a tree

Occasionally, people who are frustrated with a nuisance tree or an untrimmed tree that they believe poses a risk to their property may take action on their own by trimming a tree. Technically, property owners can trim branches and roots that come over the boundary onto their land, but they should not do anything that would harm or kill the tree.

They also usually don’t have the authority to remove the tree, as only municipal authorities can order the removal of a tree against the wishes of the property owner. In scenarios where someone cuts a tree that they shouldn’t or causes damage by trimming a tree, their neighbor may try bringing a financial claim against them over those actions.

Trees and the damage that they can cause sometimes lead to protracted disputes between neighbors. Seeking legal guidance to learn about boundary laws, tree laws and other aspects of real estate law in Texas can help property owners better protect themselves and the investment they have made in real estate.



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