boundary tree law ontario A tree planted on your neighbour's land belongs to them, and they will be liable for any damage it causes. thanks. He already has a gigantic birch tree about 10 feet on his property who’s branches overhang my property and makes a mess of leaves seeds and branches in our yard and worse in the pool. Thank you. If the tree is a boundary tree and therefore co-owned, both owners must first consent to removing the tree. Please see the legal ruling from 2013 posed on this website. The tree in our case was a Norway Maple, also considered an “invasive species,” but this had no legal relevance to our case. Bob Aaron is … 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. Get in touch with your municipal councillor and ask for assistance. So in other words, an arborist who wants to trim the tree’s branches accessing your side of the property line (including both your ground and airspace) requires your consent to do so. A homeowner who does not object to a neighbour regularly accessing a strip of his or her property should not normally lose any legal rights over that land, an Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled. There have been cases of co-owners threatening to hold their neighbors repsonsible for damages if a boundary tree falls down…but (as in our case), there has to be sufficient cause to remove a tree. In my experience, it is best to have a licensed surveyor confirm that the tree’s trunk crosses all the properties. Your neighbour sounds like he is acting out of frustration—we all do this sometimes!—but we all still need to obey the law. Its wording refers to “trees” and “trunks.”. 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. In some cases, co-owners have had a lawyer write and send the letter. Hi There! He thinks he cannot be expected to rake apples on his side because the tree is not his. I contacted 3 different arborists and they all have confirmed the tree is fine and we’re very surprised the city wants to cut it down. If you or your neighbor are concerned about safety and property damage, then I suggest having an arborist come and evaluate the tree. Been there for almost 40 years .Can that neighbour cut away at the trees ? 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.​. Boundary trees in Ontario are governed by the Ontario Forestry Act. As a result, your neighbour needs your permission/consent to injury or cut down any co-owned trees. If a proper survey shows that any portion of the trunk of a tree crosses a property line, then the tree is considered a “shared tree” or a “boundary tree.” Note that this applies to the trunks of trees (not canopies or roots)–so it is important to understand that it is the legal trunk of a tree that must cross the property line. If the trees are boundary trees, then hopefully your surveyor should be able to determine this from the stumps alone. I immediately texted this contact person and says the developer left a letter in the mail box indicating which trees would be cut down. 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. b) protected by Section 10 of the Ontario Forestry Act; and Its branches knocked my metal pipe chimney down, the trunk is crushing the fence between our properties and a shed roof of mine, and my roof is threatened. If the tree is on a boundary, most states will not allow either party to destroy the tre,e it will need to be up-rooted. 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. There are a number of things that can be done to remedy this and do not require either injury or destruction of your tree. In the rare case that the tree trunk lies right in the middle of the boundary between you and your neighbor, then it will be a mutual responsibility to take care of the tree. He says it is a safety risk to have fruit trees because they attract wasps, fallen apples destroy his lawn, and branches might have hit his daughter’s face when he lifted her up when walking on his driveway. “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. But how can the trees be properly assessed as border or shared when the trees have already been erected and only stumps remain? 2. Your help is very much appreciated on this matter. Hedges are often made up of both, so it’s important for you to establish that your hedge consists of trees. If not, you can have a specialist come out and identify the cedars as “trees” (and put it in writing for you). You are correct…the Ontario Forestry Act makes no mention of any diameter. Hi Laurie, Any advice is greatly appreciated. But you are still generally responsible for your trees and any damage they cause. These trees have many lower branches that have broken off from years of being squeezed between two chain linked fences on either side. Urban forestry has objected. Also what is the difference between boundary trees and border trees? In light of your concerns, I would suggest 2 things: First, is to have a certified arborist confirm that your hedgerow is made up of cedar “trees.” The boundary tree law applies to trees only (not shrubs). Our law office is located in Oshawa to serve the Durham Region including Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Bomanville, Newcastle, Courtice and Port Perry. If one co-owner wants to remove the tree, the property … Your neighbour would have to follow these rules if s/he wishes to cut down trees on his/her private property.). Councils of counties and townships in southern Ontario were empowered to enact tree-cutting bylaws through the Trees Conservation Act (1946), the Trees Act (1950), and the Forestry Act (1998). That way if the City sends someone out, you have made them aware of your property rights. If the contractor/tree-cutter crossed your property line to cut the trees down, then trespass charges may also be relevant. 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. Then mail a hard copy of your email and report—signature required. Apparently this often happens when someone goes away for a weekend: they return to find the trees gone. Oakville does have tree protection by-laws, but permits to cut down trees would be issued to the owners of the trees—not to a neighbour who doesn’t like someone else’s trees. The trees he is planting are all on the property line. A tree whose trunk is on the boundary between properties belongs to both property owners, according to the Forestry Act of Ontario. Do you have photos of the trees? You cannot remove a shared tree without the permission of all owners. 1. (You would have to ask a lawyer about the right-of-way property–that’s a very interesting situation! These trees are boundary trees. The law is confusing as it only talks about pruning or removal of trees, not damages. Is it an arborist or does it require a property line survey? But if the tree was planted on the boundary, you are probably a co-owner. Neighbours’ conduct relating to boundary trees has been legislated since 1896 when the Ontario Tree Planting Act was enacted. To my knowledge, if a boundary tree is declared terminally diseased or considered an imminent hazard, the co-owners are equally responsible for the cost of removal—unless they come to some other agreement. Image by Julian Dunster via Tree Service Canada 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. Take a photo. How does the city deal with this? Recently our neighbor on the other side of the hedges came over and said he wants to cut the hedges down and share a fence. The trees might become unstable and become an actual safety hazard. No consent was given. He purchased the house knowing these trees had been there for long with the agreement of us and the previous owner (planted on our side by the previous owner actually, so not really our choice, but we were happy). 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. What are my rights as it is a boundary tree? Two of these trees are inches away from my fence. 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. 1990, Chapter F.26. I do encourage that you have a certified surveyor do at least a “line read” of the boundary (this is not quite as expensive as a full survey). You could also include information about the Ontario Forestry Act as well as the address of this website—both outline the potential consequences if the co-owned trees are injured or destroyed. Ms. However, today they sent me an email stating that they could not grind out the stump for the same reasons I mentioned above. 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. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. We are getting a survey done now. Hi There, thank you for your answers and it has help me a great deal. 1990, Chapter S29. 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