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Can your neighbor trim your tree?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Real Estate Disputes |

You have a large tree in your backyard, and you enjoy sitting in the shade to read a book or have a picnic with your children. Unfortunately, your neighbor does not enjoy having the shade in their backyard, and they’ve asked you to trim the tree. Perhaps they’ve even asked if you’d consider cutting it down entirely so they can get more natural sunlight in their yard.

You refuse, and you don’t think anything else of it until one day you see your neighbor outside trimming the branches on your tree. They claim that they’re allowed to do so because it’s affecting their property. But are they?

Where is the property line?

The big question is simply where the property line is located and where those branches reach. If branches extend over the property line onto your neighbor’s property, he or she can legally trim those branches back to the line. This is true even though the tree begins growing on your property.

However, your neighbor cannot cross that property line. If they went all the way to the trunk to cut off some of the branches, that could be a legal violation. If they trimmed branches that didn’t even extend over the property line just because they wanted more sunlight, that’s also a violation of your rights as a property owner. And, of course, they have no legal right to cut down the tree without your permission.

Unfortunately, property disputes between neighbors can sometimes become very contentious and expensive. If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to know about all of the legal steps you can take moving forward.


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