Curb Appeal in 60406>Question Details

Gram7, Home Owner in 60406

Can a new neighbor cut down a tree that is on my property? It is my tree. He claims "air rights"

Asked by Gram7, 60406 Wed Apr 13, 2011

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Anthony and Alan are giving solid advice, but you should speak with an attorney. The info you gave here is not enough to form a legal opinion. For every general rule, there are a myriad of exceptions.

The information in this answer is general information and is not intended as legal advice, nor do I intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader by answering this question or otherwise contributing as a member of
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 14, 2011
I don't believe your neighbor has the right to enter your property. They can cut anything hanging over their own property. You should try and work it out with your neighbor or contact a lawyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2015
I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but I believe that you are OK. Unless the tree is damaging your neighbor's property, I don't see how they could cut it down. You definitely should contact a legal expert to make sure. Have you considered getting the tree removed? It might save you from a lot of headaches.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2015
The information you have received seems pretty on the mark. If he actually cut down the
entire tree and not just overhanging limbs, it might be best to try to resolve this issue with him directly rather then get into a legal issue. Perhaps he will replace the tree so you can put it on another location further away from his home.

Best of luck to you.

Charlene Weston
Realto/Team Leader
Weston Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 12, 2012
The irony is one of my relatives had a similar experience with a slight twist. The city wanted some overhanging limbs of a neighbor's tree to be trimmed, and the neighbor (an elderly man) filed multiple complaints to force my relative to do the work. My relative disputed the complaints with a counter-claim that the overhanging limbs were technically not on his property. He ordered a survey which proved his counter-claim was true, but he was still forced to do the work anyway with the city's reasoning that "[the neighbor] was too old to do the work."

Ultimately, he decided to trim the limbs rather than continue to fight for his rights, and then that neighbor complained that my relative trimmed too much.

Hopefully, you and your neighbor will work something out amicably.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 14, 2011
My understanding (and I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice) is that you are allowed to trim any portion of a tree that overhangs your lot line, without endangering the viability of the tree.

In other words, you can trim parts of the tree that hang over your fence, but only if by doing so, you're not going to kill or damage the tree.

If the trunk, or the most substantial portion of the trunk is on your side of the property line, then "no", he cannot cut down your tree.

Now, if the parts of your tree that hang over his yard are endangering his family or property (ie: old tree... the limbs are very heavy, and might fall on his house, car or children)... he has every right to request that you trim it back, and if you aren't willing, to trim it back himself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 14, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Did he already cut down the tree, or did he trim back branches that were hanging over his property line?

Or, is he he is threatening to do this?

If he is threatening,,,,why not .try to discuss it with work it out.
If it is beyond the "working out" stage, then you should certainly call a real estate attorney and find out what your rights are...and his!

Best wishes...........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 13, 2011
I completely agree, if he hasn't already gone and done it, you should discuss a solution. It can be really annoying to have your neighbor's branches hanging into your yard. If he's not damaging the tree, I don't see anything wrong with him trimming back the branches a little to give him more space in his yard.
Flag Fri Dec 12, 2014
How did the neighbor cut your tree down without trespassing on your property?

If you wish to pursue the matter, see an attorney. Your neighbor does not have the right to cut down your tree.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 13, 2011
I believe he can trim the part that overhangs his property. He can't cut it down. Consult your attorney about an injunction or the like.

I will also add that your neighbor can't cut the tree back so much as to damage the viability of the tree. Possible exception: The driveway is now being blocked by the tree to the point where it is difficult for a car to pass, and the driveway was there first, or the tree is threatening to damage his house, etc.

I am not an attorney and do not give legal advice. Please verify all info with your attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 13, 2011
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