Removing Trees on Property Lines: How Much Say Does Your Neighbour Have?

Much of the conflict in neighbour disputes over trees at the edge of one property involves branches and roots from a tree on one plot of land encroaching on a neighbouring property and causing problems. Stories abound about angry neighbours cutting branches that are hanging over their landscaping and attracting pests to rotting fruit, for example. An issue that doesn't get a lot of attention is what happens when the neighbour whose property the tree is on removes the tree to the annoyance of the owner of the adjacent property. Tree removal affects more than just the immediate space around the tree. For more peaceful neighbour relations and fewer issues when removing the tree, keep a few issues in mind.

Your Neighbour May Now Get More Light When They Don't Want It

Depending on the location and height of the tree, it might have been a convenient shade source for the neighbour. Either the branches hanging over into the yard or right by the property line create a shady spot where the neighbours would sit or the trees shade the neighbours' house from the harsh afternoon sun. By removing the tree, you would remove that shade, making the neighbours' yard and house hotter and less pleasant. It would be a very good idea to let the neighbours know in advance that the tree has to be removed (if there are diseases or pathogens, definitely let them know the tree has to go for the safety of other trees around the property).

Removing the Stump and Roots May Create a Hole in the Neighbour's Property

If the tree has an extensive root network that is partially on the other neighbour's property, removing the stump and roots of the tree will leave a hole that could undermine fences and soil stability, not to mention be a trip hazard. When you tell the neighbour about your plans, warn them about the roots. Offer to fill in any hole left on their side of the property line by stump and root removal. And, if the fence is damaged during the removal, be prepared to pay for repairs.

Double-Check About Permits if the Work Extends to Another Property

When you get approval to remove the tree, ensure the local government that the tree needs to be removed and ask if you need separate approval for any work—such as that root removal and filling in the resulting hole that takes place on another property. You don't want your neighbour to be in trouble because of your work.

Speak with the tree removal service that will remove the tree. They have dealt with this issue before and can guide you through the whole process.