Tree or Shrubs Boundary Line Lawyers

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Tree or Shrubs Boundary Line Lawyers

Property boundary lines are invisible borders around land that separate a piece of property from another. Landowners may choose to place a tree or shrub along their boundary lines as a way to identify the boundary of their property. However, placing a shrub or tree on or near the property line can cause a boundary dispute.

What Is a Property Line Boundary Dispute?

A property boundary line dispute is a disagreement between neighbors about where the locations of the boundary lines are or the maintenance of items on or near the property line. For example, a landowner is required to maintain trees and shrubs standing on their property in order to prevent them from causing damage to another’s property, such as falling onto a neighbor’s house or growing over a neighbor’s fence and damaging it.

Do I Have to Remove My Tree or Shrub If It Is Damaged?

Yes. A property owner must remove a tree or shrub if it is apparent that the tree or shrub poses an unreasonably dangerous threat to other people off of the property. If the property owner fails to do anything about the dangerous tree or bush, they are liable for any damage that it may cause.

Can My Shrub or Tree Be Considered a Nuisance?

Yes. A tree or shrub that has the potential to cause injury to an individual or property beyond the original boundary line may be considered both a public and a private nuisance. A public nuisance is an interference with a public’s right in general. An example of a shrub being a public nuisance would be where the shrub on a person’s property has become so overgrown that it prevents the general public from being able to walk on the sidewalk adjacent to the property. A private nuisance is any activity that interferes with another’s right to enjoy their property, such as where a dead tree on one property is constantly losing large branches that are falling onto the driveway of the adjoining property and preventing the owner of the adjoining property from being able to park a car in said driveway. Leaves falling onto another person’s property are not defined as a nuisance.

Am I Liable If I Did Not Know the Tree or Shrub Was Dangerous?

Possibly. A property owner must exercise reasonable care at all times to ensure the tree or shrub is not defective. For instance, reasonable care and caution involves at least physically inspecting the tree or shrub for any defects, such as termites or breaking branches. However, if there is absolutely no way that a reasonable person could have known that the tree or shrub posed a danger to other, then the property owner is not liable for the damage caused by the tree or shrub. An example of where the property owner would not be liable would be where a perfectly healthy tree is struck by lightning in a way that causes a tree branch to break off and strike a passing car.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about Tree and Shrubs on Boundary Lines?

Trees and shrubs along a boundary line are very commonplace, but they carry more legal responsibilities than most property owners are aware of. If you are a property owner who had trees or shrubs on or near your boundary lines, it is in your best interest to contact a real estate lawyer about this type of boundary line, especially if you share ownership of those trees or shrubs with your neighbor. 

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Last Modified: 12-10-2015 03:25 PM PST

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