But Illinois law says the limbs hanging over the fence and stretching into Robin Sachs' Mundelein yard are legally her responsibility. Who owns a tree that straddles a boundary line? In Illinois, if someone damages your tree, you can recover your actual damages (usually, what you paid for the tree or what it would cost to replace the tree). Wait! Use this form to revoke a real estate Transfer on Death Instrument that you have filed with a County Recorder of Deeds. In general, the common law adopted in all states is that you have the absolute right to trim any overhanging branches and cut any roots that are growing on your property. Not all legal systems take this approach. One case hinted that caring for a neighbor’s tree “can give one party a protectable interest even if the subject tree is not actually on a boundary line.”. The following question was submitted to John Roska, an attorney/writer whose weekly newspaper column, "The Law Q&A," ran in the Champaign News Gazette. But, now that you think about it, the limbs on that pear tree are pretty low and pretty numerous. As mentioned above, most tree law cases are based on civil torts.This is a broad term for any type of harm that’s settled through personal injury law.While a tort sometimes involves a criminal offense (such as criminal trespassing), the civil and criminal cases are always handled in separate courts.Often, the decision in one court will be used as evidence for the case in the other court.When it comes to Virginia tree law, there are tw… If the trunk stands partly on the land of two or more people, it is called a boundary tree, and in most cases it belongs to all the property owners. How can we improve this site? Encroaching roots are more complicated. If your neighbor refuses to do the right thing and address the issue at … If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. If the tree is on the property line, both property owners share the value of the tree and are responsible for upkeep on their side of the boundary line. When a dead tree falls on your property, you likely will clean it up and deal with any damage on your own. Neighbors may have affirmative obligations to maintain a common wall or preserve a pathway that gives access to another’s property. We simplify the law so you can get justice. After the client and the neighbor were unable to work out the dispute, the client represented herself by filing suit in Magistrate Court. Worried about doing this on your own? . In some states, specific laws allow you to recover additional damages if someone deliberately damages your tree. Some treat disputes between neighbors as a special category of legal problems. But once they do, you can sue for compensation, and probably to make your neighbor remove them. What a person’s rights and obligations are as they pertain to their trees or the trees of the neighbors depends upon state law. You both own it. This law leads to some surprising results. Can you cut them back to their side? Under Connecticut case law, if a tree is growing on one person ' s land but its branches or roots encroach on a neighbor ' s land, the neighbor can cut off the branches or roots up to the line of his or her land (see McCrann v. Town Planning & Zoning Commission, 161 Conn. 65 (1971)). (To learn what you must prove in order to get actual damages, see Nolo’s article When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree.) But the common law rule is that if the tree is in good health, but still blows over, that's an act of … If the tree owner ignores visible rot that might cause the tree to fall during a strong wind, she may be held liable for any damages caused by the fallen tree. An old Illinois case said it’s a truth universally acknowledged “that trees growing upon a boundary line are the joint property of the adjoining owners." Scottish law similarly has recognized that neighbors owe special duties to each other. Every day, we hear cases where people’s lives, liberty, and fortunes hang in the balance. 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. . All the owners are responsible for caring for the tree, and one co-owner may not remove a healthy tree without the other owners' permission. What is the law if a tree is growing on your property, but the branches hang over the neighbor's property? One Illinois case says that you’re “privileged to enter upon a neighbor's land to abate a condition thereon which constitutes a private nuisance.” But, even if that suggests you could ignore a neighbor’s protest, and enter their yard to trim branches hanging over your yard, acting without permission is likely to backfire. Transfer on death instrument revocation TODI. Does your neighbor have the right to cut the branches that are hanging over his property? Trees can be a huge source of contention between neighbors, but as a property owner, you do have certain rights. Although neighborhood lawn disputes may only rarely break into a physical altercation, they do turn into litigation with somewhat more frequency. Trees on Your Property Line: Illinois case law states that if any part of a tree trunk crosses the property line, it's a jointly owned tree. sorry about all those leaves my tree has left in your yard, but the law made me do it. But, these international examples do remind us that it is cooperation and not fences that make the best neighbors. That imposes a duty on you to take reasonable steps to prevent your tree from falling on their roof. Rats, you can’t have the pears. The usual rule is that the entire tree belongs to whoever owns the property where the trunk is located and that includes those pears. If a complaint is filed with the town, the town may require you to remove the tree, … When a fence is built by a property owner whose primary … “My neighbor’s tree has branches crossing over my fence. A: Tree law varies on a state-by-state basis. 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! The amount at stake does not matter. South Africa may have the most developed specialized neighbors law, resting on the idea that the right to use one’s property extends only so far as there is a duty on the neighbor to tolerate the use. Indeed, these disputes are frequent enough that a legal encyclopedia has a 126-page entry cataloguing cases where neighbors have sued over trees and shrubbery that encroached on their property. Q: We recently got our land surveyed and discovered that our neighbors had planted a row of trees on our property. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. To find out whether Illinois … An old Illinois case said it’s a truth universally acknowledged “that trees growing upon a boundary line are the joint property of the adjoining owners." As a personal aside to my neighbor . Slicing off the part that crosses the property line isn’t allowed, either, if that would harm the tree. So, jointly owning a tree means removal must be a joint project. Subscribe to our newsletters to get updates about Illinois Public Media's role in giving voice to local arts, education, new ideas, and community needs, sent straight to your inbox. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. And while you’re at it, can you cut all the roots that are in my lawn?” If I had a dime for every time someone asked me that question, I’d be the better looking version of Bill Gates. A program to prepare a Transfer on Death Instrument to give residential property to your loved ones after your death. As a personal aside to my neighbor . There is one caveat, however. As for who owns any fruit from the tree… You own the airspace over your ground—up to an uncertain limit—so trimming overhanging branches is certainly OK. That’s true even if the trunk is completely in your neighbor’s yard. You would just cut off the limbs, but some guy on the radio told you the entire tree belonged to your neighbor, Now, I have good news. Damage Caused by Your Trees: You have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent your tree from harming your neighbors. Your neighbor. What lessons do these cases teach us other than that there are always people who will sue over the smallest provocation? Imagine a pear tree next to your property line. If my neighbor's tree branches hang over my yard, can I trim them? The 5 inches of the trunk that crossed the border at ground level was enough to give that side veto power over the other owner who wanted the tree to go. (The fence is also about 10-years old, but was put up just before the trees.) Negligence will play a factor in determining liability after a tree falls. Perhaps he or she did not take care of it. No, not really, but I would be able to take the wife to a dinner and show at the dollar theater. Illinois tree-trimming laws are designed to protect tree owners and those who are bothered by their neighbor's trees, especially when the branches begin to encroach on their property. If the neighbor took reasonable care of the tree and a … Later cases specified that adjoining property owners own such trees as “tenants in common.” That’s a type of shared ownership, along with joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety. The appellate court held it did. The weedy trees belong to the business next door. Paraphrasing just a little, the judicial opinions read something like this: We are a busy and expensive part of your government. And since you share ownership, you can’t cut it down without your neighbor’s permission. The primary issue was whether the injection of poison constituted a trespass. Finally, you can be liable for damages caused by your trees, even if they’re entirely on your property. Put more simply, your use of your property affects your neighbors. 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. 2.5. The persons involved do not matter. Don’t be a jerk. Property rights are property rights. And, how you keep that yard affects your neighbors. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. The most recent case to consider jointly owned trees, from 1988, said it all depends on where the trunk enters the ground. And that is generally the case regardless of A’s motivation or reasonableness or the impact the tree’s removal would have on his neighbors. It is accepted law in all states that a tree whose trunk stands wholly on the land of one person belongs to that person. Go ahead and cut those limbs. (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), Charlie Brown Specials To Air on WILL-TV, After All, In PBS Deal, Joe Biden Elected President Of The United States, WATCH LIVE: 13th Congressional District Debate: Dirksen Londrigan V. Davis, Text ‘TALK’ To 217-803-0730 To Help Shape The 21st’s COVID-19 Coverage, Non-COVID News Stories: Ending Cash Bond, Illinoisans Fight Wildfires, Teacher of the Year, Stories from the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, Stories from the Decatur Herald and Review. In that situation, you may […] A statute imposes liability for cutting a tree on another person ' s land without permission. The courts have uniformly ruled that the natural debris from a tree or even a whole bunch of trees does not constitute a nuisance that the tree owner needs to abate. . But, what if it is not your tree? The trunk is on your neighbor’s property, but part of the tree overhangs your property. “A person commits trespass by causing or permitting a thing to cross the boundary of the premises,” citing City of Ar-lington v. City of Fort Worth, 873 S.W. A neighbor can stop the other from removing the tree. In that case, it didn’t matter that most of an 80 foot elm was in one yard, or that 15 inches up the trunk was entirely in that other yard. What about the falling leaves and other detritus from your neighbor’s tree? The client’s neighbor cut down two large trees near the property line without the permission of the client. If you trim the branches or cut the roots and the tree may die as a result, this could be a problem. (Your neighbor isn’t legally responsible for reimbursing your deductible; you could sue to recover that amount, but it’s not a sure bet.) the tree. A necessary corollary is that a property dispute between neighbors is no different than a property dispute between strangers. In Texas, a person is not under an affirmative duty to prune or trim a healthy tree when its branches extend over his neighbor’s property, even if the tree branches extend over the neighbor’s roof or driveway where cars are parked. By law, you have the right to trim branches and limbs that extend past the property line. However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. Neighbors and Trees Trees are a common dispute among neighbors. Luke v. Scott, 187 N.E. Your feedback is the best way for us to improve our services. This commentary so far should strike you as just being barely to the good side of batty. If a well maintained tree falls due to an Act of God, such as a tornado, she will not be held liable. The owner of a fallen tree is responsible for the cleanup and any damages caused by the tree. . And maybe branches on your neighbor’s side threatening your side. If you and a neighbor shared responsibility and ownership of the tree due to property lines, then you should split the cost of the cleanup equally. Until they actually cause damage, you can’t do much. (740 ILCS 185/2.5) Sec. All rights reserved. … Whether you are a United States senator or an everyday citizen, if you own a house you almost certainly have a yard. © 2020 Illinois Legal Aid Online. This result has come to be known as the Massachusetts Rule, although one wonders what it is about the Bay State that these disputes have happened enough that the resulting rule is named after the state. Can I cut it down, or at least trim the branches? sorry about all those leaves my tree has left in your yard, but the law made me do it. . It is neither likely nor necessarily desirable that U.S. law follow these countries and move toward a specialized neighbors law. It’s too bad for you. You can, however, trim branches that hang over your yard. Neither you nor your arborist may go onto a neighbor’s property or destroy the tree. Part of the trunk is on my property, and part is on my neighbor’s. ILAO's tax identification number is 20-2917133. Laws were passed in 2001 that alter the ways in which contractors can trim trees, while other laws that have existed for years continue to protect against unlawful tree trimming. The tree trunk 'flare' and tree roots are now contacting and damaging my neighbor's fence. In a surprising number of cases, people have sued for a court order to force neighbors to cut overhanging tree limbs. Otherwise, it’s OK to remove “encroachments” onto your property. The cases have their roots in a peculiarly American view of property law. Spite Fences in Illinois. Not trimming those overhanging branches might be contributory negligence, if they cause you damage. You see, a rotten tree would be a negligent situation and the other landowner would be responsible in a negligence cause of action for failing to maintain the tree properly. 2d 765. 1933). ILAO is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Those who illegally trim a tree in Illinois will be fined. Best offers for your Garden - https://amzn.to/2InnD0w ----- The Law Regarding Trimming Your Neighbor's Tree. Scottish law goes even farther by imposing a positive duty sometimes to help neighbors under a “common interest” doctrine. Unfortunately for the client, the neighbor hired an attorney and prevailed at the Magistrate Court trial. If any part of that trunk crosses the border, it’s a jointly owned tree that one neighbor can stop the other from removing. May 31, 2019 / in Law Review / Tags: Neighbor Encroaching on Property, Prescriptive Easement, Without Permission by Crysta Dwyer A common occurrence in our area, given the frequent lack of survey monuments, is a neighbor’s inadvertent building over your property line, whether it be a driveway, a fence, a deck or even a portion of a house. Cut those limbs yourself and bother us no more. If the tree trunk sits entirely in your neighbor’s yard, they’re the owner. Neighbor B successfully sued Neighbor A for $5,000 in damages. 63 (Ind.Ct.App. There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: Not so fast. In addition, if your neighbor gives you a warning about a tree or portion of a tree that they feel is a hazard or files a complaint with the town about a tree on your property that they believe to be a hazard, if you do nothing to address this concern and any portion of the tree falls on the neighbor’s property, you may be liable for any damage caused. Later cases specified that adjoining property owners own such trees as “tenants in common.” That’s a type of shared ownership, along with joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety. That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem. And maybe branches on your neighbor’s side threatening your side. But, you’re not necessarily liable if digging in your yard incidentally damages the roots of a neighbor’s tree. In one case, digging a foundation for a home didn’t make someone liable when that killed their neighbor’s tree. In short, they are a danger to persons on your property. Who owns the tree on both my and my neighbor's property? In Scotland, an action that may be justified against a stranger might not be justified against a neighbor. The courts have uniformly ruled that the natural debris from a tree or even a whole bunch of trees does not constitute a nuisance that the tree owner needs to abate. What if, instead, it is your neighbor’s tree that fell? Yes. I have several 10-year old trees close to my lot line, bordering a neighbor's lot & fence. You may be able to get free legal help. Illinois Tree Damage Laws. Trees intentionally cut or knowingly caused to be cut on protected land. Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:05, Submitted by Jeff Cooley on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 11:11. Liability From Trees Infringing Upon Neighbor's Fence. That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem. 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