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Remedies for Encroachment of Tree or Bush – Removal by Self-help

An adjoining landowner has all the rights to remove any roots or branches of trees standing on or near the boundary line extend over or into his or her land, by cutting off the encroaching parts of the tree at his or her expenses.  Some authorities are of the opinion that intruding tree parts amounts to trespass and thus the adjoining property owner has all the right to remove the danger at his or her own cost.  Such a right is absolute and not dependent on whether the encroaching branches or roots constitute a nuisance, or otherwise cause harm or possible harm to the adjoining property.  In some cases, Courts have taken the view that overhanging branches and encroaching roots constitute a nuisance, and the adjoining landowner has all the right to remove them.

However, it has to be understood that by cutting the intruding parts of a tree such as roots or branches, the adjoining property owner cannot claim ownership over the tree.  The ownership is vested wholly on the property owner on whose land the tree stands.  No notice has to be given by the adjoining landowner who desires to cut off overhanging branches of trees to the neighboring owner of the tree.

In Lane v. W.J. Curry & Sons, 92 S.W.3d 355 (Tenn. 2002), the judgment pronounced by the Tennessee Court stating that the appellant’s only remedy against appellee neighbor’s encroaching tree roots and branches was self-help.  The neighbor’s trees hung over the homeowner’s house and did not allow the roof to dry.  It caused the roof to rot.  A large branch from one of the neighbor’s trees located between both the houses broke off and fell through the homeowner’s roof, attic, and kitchen ceiling.  This caused rainwater to leak down into the interior of the appelle’s home ruining the ceilings, floor, and the stove in the kitchen.  The homeowner was not physically remove the big branch and could not afford to hire someone else to do it. She could not even pay for repairing the damages caused.  The Court decided that encroaching trees and plants were a nuisance when they caused actual harm or posed an imminent danger of actual harm to adjoining property and the case was remanded.

Inside Remedies for Encroachment of Tree or Bush – Removal by Self-help