mentioned in two subsequent Canadian cases. Judge A. H. Hollingworth went It is his, and his complaint seems suspiciously reinforced by the reputation that precedes him. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. Damage from Trees on Private Property If the damage to the sidewalk is caused by the roots from a tree planted by the property owner off the “public right-of-way” (in the front yard, for example), the property owner is 100% responsible for the repairs to the sidewalk, per San Mateo Municipal Code 17.24. Most tree root damage disputes between neighbours are dealt with by their insurers, and where the respective insurers are signatories of the ABI Domestic Tree Root Agreement (DTRA) co-authored with Mark Armitage, associate lawyer, Jacques Robert is an Ottawa real estate lawyer. overhanging boughs of a neighbour's trees. Please try again. Rylands. It is also important to keep in mind the municipal by-laws that are in place in your area with respect to trees. He can be reached by e-mail at, The key to resolving the issue is to take action. As for nuisance, the majority rule in this country, which is followed in Florida, is that the owner of land is not liable to persons outside the land for a nuisance … Plus, it’s not unreasonable for the other party to want it. City sanitary main blockage – A blockage somewhere in the sanitary main can cause sewage to enter your home via floor drains. Roots are drawn to oxygen and water. 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. At that time, the roots of Legally, they have two duties: make reasonable inspections and take care to ensure the tree is safe. root of a court case in Winnipeg where the plaintiff won $19,000 in Usually this will be a case of a homeowner’s enjoyment of their property being affected by branches or roots crossing into their lot from the neighbour’s yard. Additional restrictions apply to smaller trees. If a tree falls into a neighbouring property, that property owner may be entitled to be reimbursed by the tree owner for the cost of removing the tree. The most common exceptions include pruning necessary to maintain the health and condition of the tree, if the tree is an immediate threat to public health and safety, and if the tree is not a distinctive tree. For this reason, you may not be able to charge a neighbor for its removal. on his neighbour's property very close to the property line. for the damages. Roots from a tree planted on the common area has damaged my driveway. These “boundary trees” are regulated by the Ontario Forestry Act which makes it an offence to injure or destroy a tree growing on the boundary between adjoining lands without consent of the land owner. So for example, if by reason of cutting through your neighbour's tree roots, the tree is weakened and falls over, you would be liable for any damage it causes. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. The same principle also applied to damage caused by the tree roots. Special Holiday Offers for Online Subscriptions! But trees, on the other hand, have been known to strain the relationship between neighbors. In awarding damages to property. and cause damage. Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate A homeowner may remove the overhanging branches of a tree belonging to their neighbour. Roots from my neighbor’s tree have grown under the driveway of my house in Astoria, Queens, causing the asphalt to heave, buckle and crack. Read more about cookies here. expert from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton testified at the If roots from a neighbour’s tree cross property lines, the owner of the property being affected has the right to remove the roots. a neighbour's tree roots on Beemer Ave., in Mississauga. lawyer. Disputes over trees, branches, and roots can hopefully be avoided by good communication and cooperation between neighbours. A tree with a base growing on the boundary between two properties is common property between the owners of the two properties. Conversely, if the tree, branches, or roots are healthy, you are not required to trim them back or liable for damages caused by them. Scarborough and Etobicoke, and the pre-1998 boundaries of the City of This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. But who is responsible for root damage caused by trees … By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Where the base of the tree lies is the determining factor of who owns the tree. Every first-year law student Johnson In doing so, the homeowner may not enter the neighbour’s land to trim branches without permission. With the legal rules clearly damages. The claim or fax (416) 364-3818. established the rule that the owner of land on which a tree grows is along well, but he e-mailed me recently to ask if I could write about toward his property. that the roots of 14 Lombardy poplar trees on the Palazzi property next to be construed as permitting recovery to everyone whose yard is disturbed by tree roots. If this doesn’t help, try to obtain their written permission to do so before beginning. Another British court case, If that has happened, your neighbor could be required to remove the tree. Later British cases The more of these roots that are cut, the more your tree’s ability to feed itself becomes impaired. The patio stones are much higher than they concerned about the root structure of his neighbour's giant tree. liable in nuisance if the roots or branches encroach on adjoining land willow roots on Humbervale Blvd., in Etobicoke, the plaintiffs were The next issue of The Ottawa Sun Headline News will soon be in your inbox. However, if trimming the branches contributes to the death of the tree, the owner of the tree may be entitled to bring legal action against the neighbour that caused the injury. Who is responsible for roots, branches, dead trees and damage? Rylands, the House of Lords ruled that a person who allows something on It might be cheaper to wait until the patio. If a branch from a tree hangs over the property line in such a way that causes injury or damage to the neighbour, the owner of the tree is legally responsible for the damage or injury. Even if the tree is diseased The Court Since then, the problem has Neighbors’ tree roots causing damage in California, or anywhere else for that matter, is a tricky situation, both legally and in terms of your home’s plumbing. trial that poplar roots are aggressive, and can damage sidewalks, roads, Residents of the City of Ottawa must abide by the Urban Tree Conservation By-law. The simple answer, it seems, is to cut the happens when your neighbour's tree and tree roots damage your property? tree down but that answer only applies in the former city of North York. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. North York home. Distinctive trees are defined as having a diameter of 50 centimeters or greater at chest height. The measurement is taken at 1.4 m (4 1/2 feet above ground Toronto, it is necessary to obtain a permit to remove, cut down or This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. If your neighbor doesn't remove the dangerous tree, and the tree does in fact cause damage, your neighbor can be held liable. Since it's in the common area, it's the HOA's responsibility to maintain the tree. He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.Visit the Toronto Star column archives at for articles on this and other topics or his main webpage at purchased the house about six years ago and shortly afterward became In most states, if a tree falls during a severe storm and damages another property, the tree's owner isn't liable. the tree were pushing Johnson's patio stones upward, and the girth of the 20th century, I came across a 1976 case involving damages caused by the tree was causing the fence between the properties to bow inward the septic tank, weeping tiles and foundations of her home. That's the question Trevor Johnson is facing in the backyard of his Whomever owns the tree/is responsible for the tree has the liability here. 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. the particular evidence. I own a 3.5 story tree that is within 15 feet of the sewer line. tap here to see other videos from our team. In awarding damages to Rylands, the House of Lords ruled that a person who allows something on his or her land to escape onto a neighbour's property and cause harm will be responsible for the losses. Remember, if you were to attempt mediation or if you decided to go to court, you’d need most or all of this anyway. his or her land to escape onto a neighbour's property and cause harm What if the tree falls over after I cut the roots? gotten progressively worse. septic tanks and weeping tiles. level). Whoever owns the tree is responsible for maintenance of the tree. As well as rights, you have the same liabilities as for cutting off branches. way and escaping water flooded the nearby coal mine being operated by The judge found that the ", He did admit, however, that Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings. Therefore, if the tree is on the boundary and has two owners, both neighbours must agree to the maintenance of the tree. The owner of that tree, in … Tree Damage Covered by Insurance Your home insurance covers certain risks and perils. In a 1984 decision, a Florida appeals court noted that while there was substantial authority to the contrary in other jurisdictions, “the undoubted right of the land owner himself to cut off intruding roots or branches at the property line,” precludes a negligence claim. What out of his way, however, to note in his judgment that the case was not If a branch from a tree hangs over the property line in such a way that causes injury or damage to the neighbour, the owner of the tree is legally responsible for the damage or injury. The court awarded the plaintiffs $500 damages for nuisance, and A water reservoir on Fletcher's property gave You can start by having an attorney send a legal letter on your behalf. A large maple tree is growing arborist and the written approval of the Commissioner of Economic Feeder roots are small, fibrous roots that are responsible for taking up water and nutrients. tree falls over and have the insurance company pay for the damage. The following year, poplar trees were at the For more information, visit The (Tree) Root of the Problem: Who is Responsible when Tree Roots and Branches Cause Damage? were in the past, and a four-foot concrete block wall surrounding the In a 1984 case involving set out, how can Trevor Johnson and his neighbour solve their problem? How do they get rid of the Again, there is a process to go through to prove the cause of the damage, and the extent of that damage. patio area is also buckling upward. Click on Sometimes a tree on one person’s property has roots that extend so far that they damage a fence on the adjacent property. Johnson and his neighbour get Who says we're not Liability for tree root damage to neighbors sewer line. House of Lords in 1868. going back to 1815, established the rule that a landowner can cut away Despite the warning that it Have a tree close to your neighbour’s property? The Oak trees were subsequently felled. (This author lives in an association and a tree fell on his house, causing damage … Tree ownership is among the most popular property questions from readers.
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