I would also tell the new owner about the information available on this website. How can we stop this person from doing anymore harm? In Chapter 8, the author shares the first-ever comprehensive review of tree law in Quebec. No discussions of sharing of costs were had at the time so I had assumed they were taking care of it themselves as good neighbors do when they subject their neighbors to months of construction chaos. What is interesting about this, however, is that many of these trees may have to be reclassified in conditions of climate change, since some of them are among the most resilient species. A suggestion would be to check the home and car insurance. 1. I have already reached out to Urban Forestry to see if this is the case. It might be helpful to include in your letter to your neighbor a reminder that your prior permission is required for any work involving your private property (including into your airspace)—otherwise it is a trespass. Tree Protection By-law. Any direction, thoughts or comments on the matter would be greatly appreciated. It would be good to let the police know that he has explicitly indicated he wants to kill the trees, and also get witnesses to any future statements of this kind. I am so sorry to hear about this situation! The tree trunk is across the property line so it is a boundary tree, but the neighbours are arguing that when the tree was planted over 50 years ago it was planted in our yard. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Immediately contact Urban Forestry via email and let them know that this is a boundary tree and falls under the Ontario Forestry Act. Boundary trees in Ontario are governed by the Ontario Forestry Act. A tree that is located on the boundary line cannot be removed unless both parties agree to do so. Hi There It is probably best to do the above in the form of a letter with a tracking number or signature required. 22, s. 4. Written by Dr. Julian A. Dunster, one of Canada’s leading consulting arborists, Trees and the Law in Canada covers nuisance, trespass, negligence, damage appraisal, personal injury, and property damage. For example, in the Canadian jurisdiction of Ontario, §10 of the 2009 Forestry Act prevails: "An owner of land may, with the consent of the owner of adjoining land, plant trees on the boundary between the two lands. There’s an interesting/helpful article on this issue here: https://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/01/31/if_your_neighbours_tree_falls_in_your_yard_who_pays.html. Any advice is greatly appreciated. BY ROB KENNALEY AND KIRK BROWN. Thank you for all this information. It is best if this is done in writing and sent requesting a signature. If you are concerned about the condition of a neighbour's tree, speak to them first before contacting the By-law Enforcement Department - they may not be aware of the potential hazard. Because the trees are boundary trees, the developer must have your consent to remove them. This neighbour now says it’s my tree and does not want to help pay to remove it. Neighbours’ conduct relating to boundary trees has been legislated since 1896 when the Ontario Tree Planting Act was enacted. Hi Laurie, A tree planted on your neighbour's land belongs to them, and they will be liable for any damage it causes. In a footnote to a Superior Court decision (Jones v. Wagner, 425 Pa. Super. You can also call or send a letter (cc:ing neighbour) to your local police indicating that you have some boundary trees and are concerned about your property rights being respected and protected. Hi David…as far as I know, you are a co-owner of the tree and the City cannot cut the tree down without your permission. Is there a law on how close he can plant these trees? As such it does not apply where the boundary is marked out by trees. The Line Fences Act never mentions livestock! Last summer we had a look at the property lines together with the new neighbours, so they certainly were aware that the trees are on our side. Since we had concerns that the mature 25′ L x 20′ h x 5′ w cedar hedge trees bordering the back yards would be removed we asked the city to have them preserved during the construction process, which they thankfully did. Private Tree Protection Bylaw: As of Jan. 27, 2020 if you live within the Urban Boundary, you will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree 20 cm in diameter (8”) or greater measured at 1.4 m from the ground, or more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm (4-8”) measured at 1.4 m above the ground in a calendar year. Because there are 15 trees involved, the sum of their worth may be quite significant. These are inexpensive and relatively easy to install and also prevent insect infestations (i.e., wasps). My fence is about 4 inches inside my property. Urban forestry has objected. These 2 articles from the Toronto Star might be helpful for you. If you intend to injure or destroy (remove) a protected tree you must obtain a permit. The trunk of a tree includes everything from the root collar up to the first branch. I’ m sorry that I don’t have an answer to your question, Lynne. Thank you. Your neighbour sounds like he is acting out of frustration—we all do this sometimes!—but we all still need to obey the law. The confusion over property boundaries is the basis of many neighbor disputes, including encroachments (or perceived encroachments) on one's property. They told me they will remove the fence and tree stump and build a new fence as part of the reno. The Forestry Act, s. 10(2) provides that “Every tree whose trunk is growing on the boundary between adjoining lands is the common property of the owners of the adjoining lands.” This tree is known in law as a Straddle Tree. This by-law protects our trees in two ways; by protecting trees within “Tree Protection Areas” and protecting “Distinctive Trees”, trees with a diameter ≥50 cm. That way if the City sends someone out, you have made them aware of your property rights. Under the law of nuisance, property owners are entitled to resort to self-help remedies to eliminate a continuing nuisance caused by roots and branches from trees, or the court may order that the nuisance be abated or removed.” Justice Perell determined that evidence showed the damaged boundary tree as a continuing danger. Under the Ontario Forestry Act (the “ Act ”), a tree whose trunk is growing on the boundary line between adjoining properties is the common property of both owners.  It therefore cannot be injured or destroyed without the consent of both owners. Boundary trees in Ontario are governed by the Ontario Forestry Act. The question regarding the canopy of a boundary tree that is co- owned , is there anylaw on how high one can trim or cut branches of a boundary tree. Learn more about conflicts with neighbors, trees, property, real estate, property lines, damage, and other legal topics at FindLaw's Real Estate section. HI There nice website and very informative and thank you for that. I gave them estimate on a removal 3 months ago and they have not replied or returned any phone calls. You might also tack up a “no trespassing sign” on your side. If the trunk of the tree extends over the boundary, this does not give you the right to chop it down. If this is the case, then you can also ask for compensation. Earlier this year, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was again asked to untangle a boundary tree-related dispute between two Toronto neighbours. The Act makes it an offence to remove a tree growing on the boundary line between adjoining lands without the consent of the other owner. They cleaned it up and now asking for damages to repair the fence and saying I’m 100% liable. Should I be responsible for sharing the costs of this stump excavation? We are fairly new to the house having only moved here two years ago, while our neighbour and our home’s previous owners were both respectively here for 30+ years. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! A second option is to have a qualified landscaper come and give you an estimate of how much it would cost to replace the trees, including labour and all the costs. These trees are boundary trees. Every tree whose trunk is growing on the boundary between adjoining lands is the common property of the owners of the adjoining lands. “If it is a boundary tree, that is where it gets tricky. Avoid any actions that could threaten the health and longevity of the tree: o, ver-pruning, removing branches or limbs, or damaging the bark of the trunk all risk exposing the. We have a boundary tree issue.It is a very large tree and affects our and three other properties. These trees have many lower branches that have broken off from years of being squeezed between two chain linked fences on either side. In case this tree happened to fall, although it doesn’t seem likely since it seems to have grown that way, who is liable for damages that may occur? Thank you laura, Question: I have a boundary tree. Does the cost of taking down a boundary tree get split between neighbours. In some cases, co-owners have had a lawyer write and send the letter. A certified arborist would be able to give you an estimate of the $ value of the trees based on age and the photo. It is your responsibility as a property owner to ensure that your tree does not pose a safety risk to you or your neighbours. You cannot remove a shared tree without the permission of all owners. In my experience, it is best to have a licensed surveyor confirm that the tree’s trunk crosses all the properties. If co-consent to remove the boundary tree is achieved, then the next step would be to discuss and agree upon (as co-owners) how to share the costs. While I understand trimming small branches extending to his side, he had trespassed to our side and trimmed all around the trees stating that it was just “an act of good neighbour” to give it “nice shape”. To my knowledge, there are no such laws/restrictions regarding this, but it would be a good question to raise with urban forestry… it is my understanding, however, that property rights extend into airspace, so that the pruning of any branches involving a human presence on your side of the property requires your consent. Corporation of the Town of Oakville The birch already shades my pool from about 2 pm onward which makes warming the pool with the sun difficult. If the contractor/tree-cutter crossed your property line to cut the trees down, then trespass charges may also be relevant. This is something (or a portion thereof) that you might be able to request in damages. It is your responsibility as a property owner to ensure that your tree does not pose a safety risk to you or your neighbours. In the cases (that I know of) where someone was prosecuted for violating the Forestry Act’s rules for boundary trees, a lawyer was retained. Based on what you indicate above, it seems that your neighbour has trespassed onto your private property to trim the trees. In the end, the Court held that there is no conflict between the Forestry Act (which deals with boundary trees) and Chapter 813-16 of the Toronto Municipal Code (which deals with the granting of tree removal by the City of Toronto Urban Forestry Department). But you are still generally responsible for your trees and any damage they cause. Forestry Act. Our law office is located in Oshawa to serve the Durham Region including Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Bomanville, Newcastle, Courtice and Port Perry. The Tree Protection By-law took effect in August 2016. I was not the owner at the time but does this argument hold any water? Removing or intentionally altering or damaging a shared tree without permission could result in civil action against you, and … I have a question about trees being planted. The branches are quite long and a good pruning is required. Given that the cedars are cut down, how can we determine whose property the trunk was on. There have been an increasing number of cases in Ontario involving boundary trees, and it’s probably best to consult with a lawyer about the specifics of your situation (including the issue of deeded access), and perhaps send notification to your neighbour of your co-ownership in the trees. Even if the trunks do not cross at ground level but cross at another point along the trunk, they are still boundary trees.) “Boundary trees” are trees that fit the legal definition above…”border trees” are trees that grow along the border or near the edge of a property line. To listen to Dial-A-Law information on the telephone, call 1-800-565-5297 (604-687-4680 in the Lower Mainland). Put a sign on your tree indicating that it is a boundary tree and s shared property and thus falls under the Provisions of the Ontario Forestry Act. I have planted bushes that are not boundary because the trunk definition is entirely inside my property by 2 inches but since it is a “bushy” tree (a yew) some of upper VERTICAL GROWING branches do eventually cross onto the neighbours property. The trees might become unstable and become an actual safety hazard. What can I do? Thanks. See the. Check with your local by-law office. Does the developer pay the home owner compensation for the loss of the trees when the city agrees to the cutting down of the trees? Fraser Law attorneys provide professional lawyers consultation with integrity and trust. The presence of any contractors or other workers on your property will require your permission (to avoid trespass). We have a tree that pretty much is situated between our fence and a schools chain linked fence. Thank you in advance. I am happy to answer your questions and share my opinion–but please note that I am not a lawyer. A hedge is always a complex situation: it’s possible that some of the trees in the hedge may be boundary trees but others not—some trees may fully belong to you, some fully belong to your neighbor, and some are shared. If the base of the tree straddles the boundary line, then the tree is jointly owned and both owners must agree on what can or cannot be done to the tree beforehand. The law is confusing as it only talks about pruning or removal of trees, not damages. I suggest that you take photos of the trees before any more damage is done. In Ontario, if the trunks of the trees cross the property line, then they are boundary trees and are protected as co-owned property through the Ontario Forestry Act. (If your neighbour is not an arborist and cuts off large boughs, then he is quite likely to injure the trees.) Bob Aaron is … (In Toronto it is 30 cm or more.) BOUNDARY TREES Trees with trunks growing across property lines are called “boundary trees.” In Ontario, boundary trees are considered common property (i.e., co-owned property) and fall under the legal provisions of the Ontario Forestry Act Section 10. ), you are correct…the Ontario Forestry Act charged with the municipality down trees on his/her private to... Deeded access on the stumps alone Office offers legal services specializing in business & law... 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