Trees and neighbor disputes

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2020 | Firm News |

It isn’t uncommon for neighbors in Pennsylvania and throughout the country to have disputes over seemingly trivial matters. For instance, homeowners may bicker about tree branches or who has the right to eat any fruit that the tree bears. Generally, a person is allowed to trim a tree branch that encroaches upon his or her property. However, it is generally not permissible for a person to pick fruit from a tree even if the fruit is located on that individual’s property.

To determine ownership of a tree, an individual merely needs to look at where its trunk is located. If the trunk is fully in a neighbor’s yard, the tree belongs to that neighbor. If the trunk stretches across a property line, it is considered to be a boundary tree. Anyone who owns property that the tree is situated on is required to take care of it, and it can only be removed with the consent of all who have ownership rights to it.

If branches from a tree fall on a neighboring property, the owner of the tree may be liable for the cost to repair any damage the branches caused. However, an individual is not responsible for any leaves that fall from the tree and blow into a neighbor’s yard. This is typically true even if the leaves cause damage to another person’s home.

An attorney may be able to help a person going through a real estate dispute caused by trees. Legal counsel may be able to use surveys or pictures to determine who owned the tree. Pictures may also reveal whether people trimmed a branch or took other actions that were within their rights. Answering these questions may make it easier to resolve a dispute in a timely manner.