A boundary line dispute is a disagreement about where the boundary line of a property is actually located. Such a dispute involves a dispute over the ownership of the land surrounding the boundary line that is being argued over. Also included in a boundary line dispute is a disagreement over who has the rights and responsibilities with regard to any items on the property in contention, such as a boundary line tree or a fence.

What Is a Boundary Line Tree?

A boundary line tree is a tree used to denote a boundary line of a property.  This type of tree is often used in place of a fence.

What Can I Do If My Neighbor’s Tree Hangs Over My Property?

If a tree located on a boundary line hangs over the boundary line, the neighbor has the right to trim it the portion of the tree that hangs over onto their property. This is also true for any other tree that may hang over onto a neighbor’s property.

What If My Neighbor Destroys My Boundary Line Tree?

When a neighbor completely destroys a boundary line tree, that neighbor is liable for the damage caused to the property. The only exception is when the neighbor has the consent from the owner of the property line tree. Where the owner of the tree has given consent, there is no liability for the tree’s destruction. If the neighbor crosses the boundary line without permission in an attempt to destroy the tree, then they are trespassing.

How Is the Damage Calculated?

The damage suffered by the property owner is measured by the subtracting:

  • The market value of the property immediately prior to the destruction of the tree from
  • The market value of the property immediately after the destruction of the tree.

Can I Prevent My Neighbor from Destroying the Boundary Line Tree?

Yes. A property owner can go to court to seek an injunction to prevent an adjoining property owner from destroying or otherwise damaging a boundary line tree. It does not matter if the neighbor may have already injured or damaged part of the boundary line tree.

What Will the Injunction Do?

An injunction protecting the tree from harm prohibits the defendant from interfering with the plaintiff’s use and enjoyment of the tree by:

  • Cutting the tree
  • Injuring the tree
  • Destroying the tree

Do I Need an Attorney for a Boundary Line Tree Damage Dispute?

As a property owner, you should be able to full enjoy your property to the full extent, including any trees that may be on your property. If you have gotten into a disagreement with your neighbor regarding your boundary line tree, to contact a real estate attorney to understand more about what damages may available to you for a dispute involving a boundary line tree.