(This is the case even if s/he had a municipal permit to cut the trees down.). Boundary trees in Ontario are governed by the Ontario Forestry Act. The MNR and the OPP have both been extremely reluctant to assume responsibility for prosecuting offenders—but you can always try to contact them. I have an ash tree on property line that is diseased and slowly dying. That would be about 1/3 of the canopy and make the trees totally lopsided. I would definitely urge an updated survey—the one from 3 years ago may not use an updated definition of a tree’s trunk. If one owner thinks the boundary tree is “terminally-diseased” or an “imminent hazard,” then this should be confirmed by Urban Forestry. If you do end up hiring a lawyer, make sure that they are familiar with the boundary tree law! My fence is about 4 inches inside my property. In some cases, co-owners have had a lawyer write and send the letter. 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. Our neighbour is now threatening to sue us to cut down our tree. It is your responsibility as a property owner to ensure that your tree does not pose a safety risk to you or your neighbours. If they are, then your neighbour can be charged under the Ontario Forestry Act Section 10. The Forestry Act is a provincial. The roots of said tree created a bulging hump in my paver stone walkway which was a condition that existing at the time I purchased the house about 7 years ago. What should I do ? Just one question I don’t see answered. I paid to repair the chimney. We are in rural Ontario between Ottawa and Bancroft. To me fallen apples, just like fallen leaves, are just like part of nature. Section 10(2) of the Act was recently judicially considered by the Ontario Superior Court in I would like to know what is the liability -is the damage shared or can one argue that the damage from the neighbours branch on the neighbours property is borne by the neighbour? https://boundarytrees.com/toronto-what-is-urban-forestrys-procedure-for-boundary-trees/. 1990, Chapter F.26. A survey will identify where a tree is situated relative to all property boundaries. This is a legal issue in addition to the issue of trimming your trees. My perspective is that he is trying to intimidate/bully us and if he truly had legal recourse he would have taken action against the previous owners. The City of Toronto now has a new process for addressing boundary trees and can be found here: He says Manitoba Maples are considered invasive species and not subject to requiring a permit to cut down. If not, a next step would be to have a “line reading” by a surveyor (this is much less expensive than an entire survey) and have them insert posts so that you can establish that the trunks cross the property line. Is there a law on how close he can plant these trees? I am so sorry to hear about this situation! R.S.O. It’s important, however, to establish that the trunks are wholly on your side, following the definition of a tree’s trunk on this website. I know of only one recent legal case (based on the ruling mentioned on this website) where neighbours had to financially share a maintenance issue regarding a boundary tree: the tree was still standing and it had become an imminent hazard, and thus had to be removed. Insofar as branches … extend across the boundary line into a neighbour’s property, that neighbour may … have a remedy in nuisance, and this may … include a right to ‘self-help’, but it will not generally include a right to enter the other’s property nor to cut any part of the tree which is on the other’s side of the property line.” There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: Do trees support adverse possession claims? 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 Nolo book Neighbor Law, by Cora Jordan and Emily Doskow, provides extensive advice on tree-related law and liability issues involving invading branches, damage from an unsound tree, boundary trees, and more, including how mediation or small claims court can help resolve tree disputes. It would appear that planting a tree across a property line would involve entering your property space and that issue of trespass might therefore be relevant. “Hedges” do not always consist of “trees.” In some cases they consist of “shrubs” which are considered “woody plants” and therefore are not protected by the Ontario Forestry Act. If the tree is a boundary tree and therefore co-owned, both owners must first consent to removing the tree. Following the completion of the Urban Forest Management Plan UFMP, staff are undertaking a review of the City’s tree by-laws. Send a digital copy of the report and your photo of the tree. Thank you. Our new neighbour has just trimmed two about 15-year-old apple trees that grow on our side (trunks growing almost 1 m and 1/2 m, from the property line, on our lawn so not really a boundary tree). 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. Can he trim his side without asking me? Border trees may or may not have trunks that cross over into an adjacent property—so they may or may not be “boundary trees.” Anyone who wants to cut down a tree near the edge of their property, however, needs to be very careful that they are not removing a boundary tree—i.e., co-owned property. Request a response from the City. Listed below are some general points to keep in mind if you have a tree that sits across your property line: A 2013 Ontario Superior Court decision​ determined that trees with​​ trunks straddling property lines are considered shared property, and therefore require the permission of all shared property owners to remove. The Civil Code of Quebec, a law that applies across the province, does not have rules on what kinds of trees you can plant. You do not give your permission for the City to remove it and are seeking further discussion about its care. Definitions. In a footnote to a Superior Court decision (Jones v. Wagner, 425 Pa. Super. Earlier this year, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was again asked to untangle a boundary tree … Regarding root damage—you neighbour would have to prove in court that damage was being caused by your tree. Apologies for the slow reply…Toronto’s by-laws apply to ALL trees. Ms. Those lilacs belonged to my previous owner but they were started already when we built our house 30 yrs ago. Any direction, thoughts or comments on the matter would be greatly appreciated. We love our tree, and have been citing Toronto Urban Forestry by-laws to maintain our tree’s existence. If the trunk of the tree extends over the boundary, this does not give you the right to chop it down. Neighbours’ conduct relating to boundary trees has been legislated since 1896 when the Ontario Tree Planting Act was enacted. 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. Advise your neighbor that under the Ontario Forestry Act no one co-owner can injure or cut down a boundary tree without a co-owner’s permission. Hi, we bought a detached home in July 2017. Came across your website via google and after reading the Globe and Mail article about your case several years ago. We are in Oakville, but this appears to be mostly a civil matter. A consult with your family lawyer might be helpful here if you feel that your co-property rights in the tree are not being respected. Both you and your neighbour jointly own it and are responsible for maintaining it. I suggest you check out these 2 websites for information on this: https://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/kb/docs/articles/parks,-forestry-and-recreation/urban-forestry/bylaw-enforcement-trees-or-tree-branches-decayed-damaged-hazardous-dangerous-on-private-property.html, https://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/kb/docs/articles/municipal-licensing-and-standards/investigation-services/private-property-trees-pruning-a-neighbours-tree-branches-overhanging-onto-your-property.html. Doing some of these things proactively will help you establish your co-ownership rights at the outset. A tree cutter would be hired and generally would cut and remove all of the tree materials on your property up to the property line. 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. 4. Please see the legal ruling from 2013 posed on this website. That way if the City sends someone out, you have made them aware of your property rights. This lets your neighbour know that 1) there are legal parameters involved regarding what they can and cannot do to the shared trees; and 2) you are aware AND being vigilant of your co-ownership (i.e., property rights) in the boundary trees. 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. Can you tell us if the neighbour can still trim or remove any of these trees. The presence of any contractors or other workers on your property will require your permission (to avoid trespass). In my opinion the hedges are co-owned because at least 40% of the tree branches are on my side of the property but on their survey from 3 years ago it appears the trees on their side of the lot line. 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. The first is to contact an arborist who can give you an estimate based on the stumps. I was even told that if the tree was solely on my property I would not get a permit to remove it according to the Forestry by laws as the tree is healthy. Is there any kind of bylaw in Oakville that states a newly planted tree should be a certain distance away from the property lines? The act of pruning trees on neighbouring private property affects private property rights and is a civil issue between private property owners. Hi Laurie, Thank you for all this excellent advice on this website. Yes…that is my understanding, too. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. I am not aware of such a by-law …but the best thing would to check with the municipality. Tree Protection By-law. The trunk of the tree is likely only ~10cm in diameter. Immediately contact Urban Forestry via email and let them know that this is a boundary tree and falls under the Ontario Forestry Act. Unfortunately, our survey is from 30 years and doesn’t show any trees. A 2013 Ontario Superior Court decision determined that trees with trunks straddling property lines are considered shared property, and therefore require the permission of all shared property owners to remove. In Chapter 8, the author shares the first-ever comprehensive review of tree law in Quebec. Been there for almost 40 years .Can that neighbour cut away at the trees ? By-law Enforcement Officers will investigate calls for trees at risk of falling and advise property owners of their obligations under the Township's by-laws. Screwing in a bracket for fence support can seriously injure a tree. To assess the value of the trees, there are 2 options that might be relevant. 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. City of London Tree Protection By-Law C.P.-1515-228 Distinctive Tree Permit Application City of London –Forestry A .J Tyler Operations Centre 663 Bathurst Street London, Ontario N5Z 1P8 Telephone: 519-661-CITY (2489), ext. The police may or may not know about the Ontario Forestry Act (see 4. below) but you can tell them about it. The City of Ottawa has two tree by-laws—the Municipal Trees and Natural Areas Protection By-law, 2006-279, which covers all municipally owned trees, and the Urban Tree Conservation By-law, 2009-200, which applies to a portion of privately owned trees within the urban boundary dependent on property size and tree size. Avoid any actions that could threaten the health and longevity of the tree: over-pruning, removing branches or limbs, or damaging the bark of the trunk all risk exposing the tree to infection.​. This excellent advice on this matter estate transactions and wills and estate planning then your neighbour needs permission/consent...: //www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/01/31/if_your_neighbours_tree_falls_in_your_yard_who_pays.html my pool from about 2 pm onward which makes warming the with! A police report boundary tree law ontario boundary trees which you can find information and a has! 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