Trees seem to be something that neighbors often disagree upon. For example neighbors worried about a tree falling on their home and causing damage or trees that may block views of a scenic property. In some cases the trees may actually help by blocking things that people would not want to see anyways like garbage and cutting down these trees can cause many disputes among neighbors. There is a lot to know about neighbors and trees.
An ordinance will typically be in place in areas that have views or places near an ocean. The view ordinance will require that the person who has the tree that is blocking such things keep it trimmed so that the view is no longer blocked or he will have to cut it down. The person who is having the issue with the tree is able to sue the tree owner in order to make the above happen. You will need to check your local tree ordinances because there may be some limitations in your area. These limitations could include:
- A particular type of tree may be exempt.
- If the tree is a certain distance away, it may be exempt.
- If the trees are owned by the city, they may be exempt.
Neighbors blocking your view. Is it legal?
This is a somewhat tricky question for anyone to answer. It mainly depends on where you live and what the ordinances are in your area. If you live in a city or town with an ocean, they will typically have ordinances. Actually making the ordinance happen can take a long time so sometimes it may be best to speak with your neighbor about the issue. Another option to consider is buying an easement from your neighbor. This is a written contract that means the person with the easement does not actually own the part of the land written about in the contract, but they have the right to use this part of the property for a purpose that will be stated in the contract. Getting an easement to protect a view would legally keep the neighbor from doing anything that could block the view. The last thing able to happen in these situations is that the neighbor is deliberately not trimming or keeping up their trees purposely out of spite. In this case, having you neighbor blocking your view is definitely not legal, but it can be quite difficult to prove.
There are many things that can cause a dispute between neighbors due to trees. some of these include:
- A tree on one neighbor’s property falling on the property of the other causing damage.
- A tree limb falling from the tree on the property of the other causing damage.
- The tree owner allowing the tree to uproot the neighbor’s fence.
There are many other things that are able to happen as well.
Conflicts with trees and neighbors.
There are many unanswered questions about some things that can happen with trees. Some of these are things like if they neighbor has a tree that grows fruit and some of the limbs hang into your own property, are you able to eat that fruit? Since the actual tree belongs to the neighbor, you are not allowed to eat the fruit. If the leaves from your neighbor’s tree end up in your yard, you are not able to make a nuisance claim that would go anywhere because leaves are considered a natural product and you are responsible for cleaning any natural products in your yard. If most of the big tree hangs in your yard but the trunk is in the neighbor’s yard then it is technically the neighbor’s trees. Wherever the trunk is made that person the owner. If a storm knocks down a tree limb from your neighbor’s tree and the limb goes into your yard causing damage, there are a couple of things that would have to be considered before determining if it was the neighbor’s fault or a force of nature. If the neighbor took care of the tree and maintained it then if would just be considered an act of nature, but if there was something the neighbor could have done to prevent the limb from falling during a storm, then they would be at fault. If the neighbor’s trees look as though they may fall into your yard and you speak to your neighbor about it and they do nothing, you are able to file a nuisance claim. If it is found that the tree needs to be removed then the courts will remove it.
What rights you have when it comes to neighbors trees.
In most cases, homeowners can not make their neighbors trim or cut down their trees. Also, neighbors are able to put up as many trees as they would like to unless the trees are violating the view ordinances in your area, zoning laws, subdivision rules, or if there are any existing easements. Homeowners do not have any zoning rights to light, air, or view. If the city you live in does not have any view ordinances, the best thing you can do is be nice and friendly towards your neighbor and if anything ends up needing to be talked about because of the trees, it should go smoothly. If you have a Home Owners Association also known as HOA, that can be helpful in some instances. If you all together just would not want to have to deal with this type of situation, before purchasing a property check whether the city has ordinances, check if the property has a view easement and checks the rules of the HOA.