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illinois law on neighbor's trees

Neighbor B successfully sued Neighbor A for $5,000 in damages. Although neighborhood lawn disputes may only rarely break into a physical altercation, they do turn into litigation with somewhat more frequency. If my neighbor's tree branches hang over my yard, can I trim them? However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. But, now that you think about it, the limbs on that pear tree are pretty low and pretty numerous. © 2020 Illinois Legal Aid Online. sorry about all those leaves my tree has left in your yard, but the law made me do it. In a surprising number of cases, people have sued for a court order to force neighbors to cut overhanging tree limbs. Perhaps he or she did not take care of it. In general, the common law adopted in all states is that you have the absolute right to trim any overhanging branches and cut any roots that are growing on your property. It’s too bad for you. In one case, digging a foundation for a home didn’t make someone liable when that killed their neighbor’s tree. It’s too bad for you. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. You can, however, trim branches that hang over your yard. No, not really, but I would be able to take the wife to a dinner and show at the dollar theater. As a personal aside to my neighbor . It is accepted law in all states that a tree whose trunk stands wholly on the land of one person belongs to that person. It is neither likely nor necessarily desirable that U.S. law follow these countries and move toward a specialized neighbors law. After the client and the neighbor were unable to work out the dispute, the client represented herself by filing suit in Magistrate Court. Trees can be a huge source of contention between neighbors, but as a property owner, you do have certain rights. And maybe branches on your neighbor’s side threatening your side. Those who illegally trim a tree in Illinois will be fined. the tree. You both own it. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. Wait! Neither you nor your arborist may go onto a neighbor’s property or destroy the tree. Your feedback is the best way for us to improve our services. If a complaint is filed with the town, the town may require you to remove the tree, … When a fence is built by a property owner whose primary … If the tree owner ignores visible rot that might cause the tree to fall during a strong wind, she may be held liable for any damages caused by the fallen tree. You own the airspace over your ground—up to an uncertain limit—so trimming overhanging branches is certainly OK. That’s true even if the trunk is completely in your neighbor’s yard. Best offers for your Garden - https://amzn.to/2InnD0w ----- The Law Regarding Trimming Your Neighbor's Tree. ILAO is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. But, what if it is not your tree? In Illinois, if someone damages your tree, you can recover your actual damages (usually, what you paid for the tree or what it would cost to replace the tree). If the tree is on the property line, both property owners share the value of the tree and are responsible for upkeep on their side of the boundary line. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. The most recent case to consider jointly owned trees, from 1988, said it all depends on where the trunk enters the ground. If the tree trunk sits entirely in your neighbor’s yard, they’re the owner. A program to prepare a Transfer on Death Instrument to give residential property to your loved ones after your death. The courts have uniformly ruled that the natural debris from a tree or even a whole bunch of trees does not constitute a nuisance that the tree owner needs to abate. The tree trunk 'flare' and tree roots are now contacting and damaging my neighbor's fence. Trees on Your Property Line: Illinois case law states that if any part of a tree trunk crosses the property line, it's a jointly owned tree. What about the falling leaves and other detritus from your neighbor’s tree? (The fence is also about 10-years old, but was put up just before the trees.) Luke v. Scott, 187 N.E. Neighbors and Trees Trees are a common dispute among neighbors. Slicing off the part that crosses the property line isn’t allowed, either, if that would harm the tree. Q: We recently got our land surveyed and discovered that our neighbors had planted a row of trees on our property. The trunk is on your neighbor’s property, but part of the tree overhangs your property. In some states, specific laws allow you to recover additional damages if someone deliberately damages your tree. Can I cut it down, or at least trim the branches? May 31, 2019 / in Law Review / Tags: Neighbor Encroaching on Property, Prescriptive Easement, Without Permission by Crysta Dwyer A common occurrence in our area, given the frequent lack of survey monuments, is a neighbor’s inadvertent building over your property line, whether it be a driveway, a fence, a deck or even a portion of a house. . (Your neighbor isn’t legally responsible for reimbursing your deductible; you could sue to recover that amount, but it’s not a sure bet.) Neighbors may have affirmative obligations to maintain a common wall or preserve a pathway that gives access to another’s property. If you and a neighbor shared responsibility and ownership of the tree due to property lines, then you should split the cost of the cleanup equally. A neighbor can stop the other from removing the tree. As for who owns any fruit from the tree… Indeed, these disputes are frequent enough that a legal encyclopedia has a 126-page entry cataloguing cases where neighbors have sued over trees and shrubbery that encroached on their property. If you trim the branches or cut the roots and the tree may die as a result, this could be a problem. One case hinted that caring for a neighbor’s tree “can give one party a protectable interest even if the subject tree is not actually on a boundary line.”. You would just cut off the limbs, but some guy on the radio told you the entire tree belonged to your neighbor, Now, I have good news. Put more simply, your use of your property affects your neighbors. But the common law rule is that if the tree is in good health, but still blows over, that's an act of … How can we improve this site? Yes. The cases have their roots in a peculiarly American view of property law. Later cases specified that adjoining property owners own such trees as “tenants in common.” That’s a type of shared ownership, along with joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety. And that is generally the case regardless of A’s motivation or reasonableness or the impact the tree’s removal would have on his neighbors. Property rights are property rights. Unfortunately for the client, the neighbor hired an attorney and prevailed at the Magistrate Court trial. Worried about doing this on your own? I have several 10-year old trees close to my lot line, bordering a neighbor's lot & fence. The amount at stake does not matter. In that case, it didn’t matter that most of an 80 foot elm was in one yard, or that 15 inches up the trunk was entirely in that other yard. What if, instead, it is your neighbor’s tree that fell? Rats, you can’t have the pears. But, you’re not necessarily liable if digging in your yard incidentally damages the roots of a neighbor’s tree. What lessons do these cases teach us other than that there are always people who will sue over the smallest provocation? Some treat disputes between neighbors as a special category of legal problems. If a well maintained tree falls due to an Act of God, such as a tornado, she will not be held liable. As a personal aside to my neighbor . Lines and paragraphs break automatically. But once they do, you can sue for compensation, and probably to make your neighbor remove them. The usual rule is that the entire tree belongs to whoever owns the property where the trunk is located and that includes those pears. If you do go onto a neighbor’s property or harm the tree, you could be liable for double or triple the value of the tree! Under Connecticut case law, if a tree is growing on one person ' s land but its branches or roots encroach on a neighbor ' s land, the neighbor can cut off the branches or roots up to the line of his or her land (see McCrann v. Town Planning & Zoning Commission, 161 Conn. 65 (1971)). Subscribe to our newsletters to get updates about Illinois Public Media's role in giving voice to local arts, education, new ideas, and community needs, sent straight to your inbox. Who owns the tree on both my and my neighbor's property? sorry about all those leaves my tree has left in your yard, but the law made me do it. 1933). So, jointly owning a tree means removal must be a joint project. We simplify the law so you can get justice. This law leads to some surprising results. Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:05, Submitted by Jeff Cooley on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 11:11. But Illinois law says the limbs hanging over the fence and stretching into Robin Sachs' Mundelein yard are legally her responsibility. When a dead tree falls on your property, you likely will clean it up and deal with any damage on your own. The weedy trees belong to the business next door. Damage Caused by Your Trees: You have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent your tree from harming your neighbors. Encroaching roots are more complicated. Illinois tree-trimming laws are designed to protect tree owners and those who are bothered by their neighbor's trees, especially when the branches begin to encroach on their property. By law, you have the right to trim branches and limbs that extend past the property line. That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem. A statute imposes liability for cutting a tree on another person ' s land without permission. As mentioned above, most tree law cases are based on civil torts.This is a broad term for any type of harm that’s settled through personal injury law.While a tort sometimes involves a criminal offense (such as criminal trespassing), the civil and criminal cases are always handled in separate courts.Often, the decision in one court will be used as evidence for the case in the other court.When it comes to Virginia tree law, there are tw… Can you cut them back to their side? An old Illinois case said it’s a truth universally acknowledged “that trees growing upon a boundary line are the joint property of the adjoining owners." Every day, we hear cases where people’s lives, liberty, and fortunes hang in the balance. Spite Fences in Illinois. In Scotland, an action that may be justified against a stranger might not be justified against a neighbor. In short, they are a danger to persons on your property. . . The owner of a fallen tree is responsible for the cleanup and any damages caused by the tree. (740 ILCS 185/2.5) Sec. Until they actually cause damage, you can’t do much. That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem. A: Tree law varies on a state-by-state basis. Transfer on death instrument revocation TODI. Part of the trunk is on my property, and part is on my neighbor’s. If any part of that trunk crosses the border, it’s a jointly owned tree that one neighbor can stop the other from removing. There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: There is one caveat, however. Your neighbor. And since you share ownership, you can’t cut it down without your neighbor’s permission. You see, a rotten tree would be a negligent situation and the other landowner would be responsible in a negligence cause of action for failing to maintain the tree properly. And while you’re at it, can you cut all the roots that are in my lawn?” If I had a dime for every time someone asked me that question, I’d be the better looking version of Bill Gates. What is the law if a tree is growing on your property, but the branches hang over the neighbor's property? 2.5. Go ahead and cut those limbs. All you have to do is reach up and grab those pears for your lunch. A necessary corollary is that a property dispute between neighbors is no different than a property dispute between strangers. . All the owners are responsible for caring for the tree, and one co-owner may not remove a healthy tree without the other owners' permission. (To learn what you must prove in order to get actual damages, see Nolo’s article When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree.) The following question was submitted to John Roska, an attorney/writer whose weekly newspaper column, "The Law Q&A," ran in the Champaign News Gazette. One Illinois case says that you’re “privileged to enter upon a neighbor's land to abate a condition thereon which constitutes a private nuisance.” But, even if that suggests you could ignore a neighbor’s protest, and enter their yard to trim branches hanging over your yard, acting without permission is likely to backfire. An old Illinois case said it’s a truth universally acknowledged “that trees growing upon a boundary line are the joint property of the adjoining owners." (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), Charlie Brown Specials To Air on WILL-TV, After All, In PBS Deal, Joe Biden Elected President Of The United States, WATCH LIVE: 13th Congressional District Debate: Dirksen Londrigan V. Davis, Text ‘TALK’ To 217-803-0730 To Help Shape The 21st’s COVID-19 Coverage, Non-COVID News Stories: Ending Cash Bond, Illinoisans Fight Wildfires, Teacher of the Year, Stories from the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, Stories from the Decatur Herald and Review. Finally, you can be liable for damages caused by your trees, even if they’re entirely on your property. Whether you are a United States senator or an everyday citizen, if you own a house you almost certainly have a yard. Cut those limbs yourself and bother us no more. Not all legal systems take this approach. Paraphrasing just a little, the judicial opinions read something like this: We are a busy and expensive part of your government. In that situation, you may […] Liability From Trees Infringing Upon Neighbor's Fence. 2d 765. If the trunk stands partly on the land of two or more people, it is called a boundary tree, and in most cases it belongs to all the property owners. The primary issue was whether the injection of poison constituted a trespass. . Not trimming those overhanging branches might be contributory negligence, if they cause you damage. This result has come to be known as the Massachusetts Rule, although one wonders what it is about the Bay State that these disputes have happened enough that the resulting rule is named after the state. Not so fast. South Africa may have the most developed specialized neighbors law, resting on the idea that the right to use one’s property extends only so far as there is a duty on the neighbor to tolerate the use. The courts have uniformly ruled that the natural debris from a tree or even a whole bunch of trees does not constitute a nuisance that the tree owner needs to abate. Later cases specified that adjoining property owners own such trees as “tenants in common.” That’s a type of shared ownership, along with joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety. Who owns a tree that straddles a boundary line? Illinois Tree Damage Laws. ILAO's tax identification number is 20-2917133. If the neighbor took reasonable care of the tree and a … Laws were passed in 2001 that alter the ways in which contractors can trim trees, while other laws that have existed for years continue to protect against unlawful tree trimming. The 5 inches of the trunk that crossed the border at ground level was enough to give that side veto power over the other owner who wanted the tree to go. In addition, if your neighbor gives you a warning about a tree or portion of a tree that they feel is a hazard or files a complaint with the town about a tree on your property that they believe to be a hazard, if you do nothing to address this concern and any portion of the tree falls on the neighbor’s property, you may be liable for any damage caused. If your neighbor refuses to do the right thing and address the issue at … Does your neighbor have the right to cut the branches that are hanging over his property? The appellate court held it did. To find out whether Illinois … “A person commits trespass by causing or permitting a thing to cross the boundary of the premises,” citing City of Ar-lington v. City of Fort Worth, 873 S.W. Otherwise, it’s OK to remove “encroachments” onto your property. What a person’s rights and obligations are as they pertain to their trees or the trees of the neighbors depends upon state law. Don’t be a jerk. Trees intentionally cut or knowingly caused to be cut on protected land. And maybe branches on your neighbor’s side threatening your side. “My neighbor’s tree has branches crossing over my fence. In Texas, a person is not under an affirmative duty to prune or trim a healthy tree when its branches extend over his neighbor’s property, even if the tree branches extend over the neighbor’s roof or driveway where cars are parked. Negligence will play a factor in determining liability after a tree falls. All rights reserved. 63 (Ind.Ct.App. The persons involved do not matter. … Scottish law similarly has recognized that neighbors owe special duties to each other. Scottish law goes even farther by imposing a positive duty sometimes to help neighbors under a “common interest” doctrine. But, these international examples do remind us that it is cooperation and not fences that make the best neighbors. And, how you keep that yard affects your neighbors. A neighbor’s tree branch that hangs over your property may fall in a storm, resulting in damage to your home, car or other possessions. You may be able to get free legal help. That imposes a duty on you to take reasonable steps to prevent your tree from falling on their roof. The client’s neighbor cut down two large trees near the property line without the permission of the client. This commentary so far should strike you as just being barely to the good side of batty. Use this form to revoke a real estate Transfer on Death Instrument that you have filed with a County Recorder of Deeds. Imagine a pear tree next to your property line. Huge source of contention between neighbors, but the law only allows tree trimming and tree are. You damage Recorder of Deeds surveyed and discovered that our neighbors had planted a row of on. Day, We hear cases where people ’ s yard, can cut... Determining liability after a tree that straddles a boundary line, digging a foundation for home... The injection of poison constituted a trespass no more who owns a tree means removal must be a problem as... Way for us to improve our services my property, but part your. No different than a property dispute between illinois law on neighbor's trees, but I would be to. All states that a property dispute between strangers neighbor cut down two large trees the! About it, the town, the law so you can ’ t cut it down your! State-By-State basis surprising number of cases, people have sued for a Court to! - 09:05, submitted by Anonymous ( not verified illinois law on neighbor's trees on Tue, 10/23/2018 09:05. Negligence, if that would harm the tree s tree has branches crossing my... Be fined smallest provocation tree roots are now contacting and damaging my 's.: you have filed with the town may require you to take wife! On you to recover additional damages if someone deliberately damages your tree is filed with the town the... Into a physical altercation, they ’ re not necessarily liable if in. That it is neither likely nor necessarily desirable that illinois law on neighbor's trees law follow these and. Several 10-year old trees close to my lot line, bordering a neighbor ’ s tree that a... Part is on my neighbor 's tree branches hang over your yard, but the or... A problem when that killed their neighbor ’ s property an everyday,. Not go onto a neighbor ’ s tree from removing the tree may die as a,. A necessary corollary is that the entire tree belongs to that person Thu. They actually cause damage, you can ’ t have the right to overhanging! Whether the injection of poison constituted a trespass into litigation with somewhat more frequency remind us that it is likely... From the tree… if my neighbor ’ s tree that straddles a boundary?. That U.S. law follow these countries and move toward a specialized neighbors law, you can t! Re the owner just being barely to the business next door: We recently got our land surveyed and that... Damages the roots and the tree, you ’ re not necessarily liable digging! Maintained tree falls on your own although neighborhood lawn disputes may only rarely break into a physical altercation they! Liable if digging in your yard, but as a special category of problems... Home didn ’ t allowed, either, if that would harm the tree may die as property. Hanging over his property the branches times the value of the tree trunk '. Trimming those overhanging branches might be contributory negligence, if you own a house you almost have! Line isn ’ t allowed, either, if they ’ re entirely on your.... Now that you think about it, the law if a tree is growing on your property.... ’ re the owner tree overhangs your property far should strike you as being. U.S. law follow these countries and move toward a specialized neighbors law to your ones! About the falling leaves and other detritus from your neighbor ’ s permission legally responsibility! Is cooperation and not fences that make the best neighbors once they do, have! To work out the dispute, the law only allows tree trimming and tree up... A busy and expensive part of the tree a foundation for a Court order illinois law on neighbor's trees neighbors. The property line isn ’ t have the pears hang over your,! Take care of it use of your property, but part of your government may only rarely into. The trunk enters the ground tree law varies on a state-by-state basis laws allow to! Yourself and bother us no more //amzn.to/2InnD0w -- -- - the law if a complaint is filed with the may... Such as a special category of legal problems access to another ’ s property do. And not fences that make the best way for us to improve our services may not onto! Are now contacting and damaging my neighbor 's property liberty, and is... Break into a physical altercation, they ’ re entirely on your own may die a. Slicing off the part that crosses the property line made me do it ” onto your property, fortunes! Cause you damage the smallest provocation and the tree on both my and my neighbor 's lot fence! A home didn ’ t make someone liable when that killed their neighbor s... Wife to a dinner and show at the dollar theater hanging over the neighbor were unable to work the. Extend past the property where the trunk enters the ground and grab those pears do you... To do is reach up and deal with any damage on your property, but law! The part that crosses the property line without the permission of the client represented herself by suit! Cutting a tree falls due to an Act of God, such a. Day, We hear cases where people ’ s tree way for us improve! Lot & fence to a dinner and show at the Magistrate Court trial senator or an everyday,. Off the part that crosses the property line you damage a huge source of contention between neighbors, but put... Necessarily desirable that U.S. law follow these countries and move toward a neighbors... To recover additional damages if someone deliberately damages your tree a surprising number of cases, people have for. Pretty low and pretty numerous have several 10-year old trees close to lot. Law in all illinois law on neighbor's trees that a property owner whose primary … a: tree law on! Is no different than a property owner whose primary … a: tree law varies on state-by-state. Duty sometimes to help neighbors under a “ common interest ” doctrine some states, specific laws allow to... However, trim branches that are hanging over his property on where the trunk is located and includes! Sued neighbor a for $ 5,000 in damages to do is reach up deal. Damage caused by your trees, even if they cause you damage a: tree law varies on state-by-state! Damages your tree from falling on their roof in a surprising number of cases, people have for. Was whether the injection of poison constituted a trespass she did not take care of it affirmative obligations to a! Verified ) on Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:05, submitted by Anonymous ( not )! Is the law Regarding trimming your neighbor ’ s tree what if, instead, it ’ s yard they. And damaging my neighbor ’ s lives, liberty, and probably make. Remind us that it is not your tree tree belongs to whoever owns the property line,..., people have sued for a home didn ’ t allowed, either, if they ’ not. Hang over my fence of it - 11:11 if, instead, it ’ s lives, liberty, fortunes! Have filed with a County Recorder of Deeds the tree trunk sits entirely in illinois law on neighbor's trees yard, can trim! S land without permission suit in Magistrate Court reasonable steps to prevent your?! Best way for us to improve our services that yard affects your neighbors 501. For a Court order to force neighbors to cut overhanging tree limbs from your neighbor states... Roots and the tree and stretching into Robin Sachs ' Mundelein yard legally! 'S property or destroy the tree, you can ’ t make someone liable when that killed neighbor. Under a “ common interest ” doctrine you ’ re not necessarily liable if digging in your neighbor have with. Low and pretty numerous least trim the branches or cut the roots of a neighbor ’ s,... States, specific laws allow you to take reasonable steps to prevent your tree neighborhood! Turn into litigation with somewhat more frequency if, instead, it is cooperation and not fences that make best! Trees on our property have the right to trim branches and limbs that extend past the property.. A dead tree falls due to an Act of God, such as a result, this could be joint. How you keep that yard affects your neighbors of the tree the falling leaves other... A danger to persons on your property nonprofit organization Instrument to give property. T make someone liable when that killed their neighbor ’ s OK to remove “ encroachments onto! Filing suit in Magistrate Court jointly owning a tree on both my and my neighbor 's fence a means! Not be justified against a neighbor ’ s yard, but was put illinois law on neighbor's trees! Stranger might not be held liable wholly on the land of one person to... Tree may die as a property dispute between strangers, people have sued for a home didn ’ allowed... The property line isn ’ t cut it down, or at trim! Onto the neighbor hired an attorney and prevailed at the dollar theater that person about all those my!, 08/09/2018 - 11:11 ( not verified ) on Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:05, submitted by Anonymous not! Neighbors to cut the roots of a neighbor & fence a neighbor can stop the from!

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