Hi Laurie, This blog is written by our law summer student, Ira Marcowitch. We share a number of trees between our property line and a developer who wants to build an 8 storey building beside me. Our law office is located in Oshawa to serve the Durham Region including Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Bomanville, Newcastle, Courtice and Port Perry. It doesn’t hurt to register your case with them, even if they do not act on it. Thus, the first source of legal research on tree law ought to be local government or statute. You can politely explain that if this is the case then the trees are: Hello, A tree just fall into our neighbour’s yard. Removing or intentionally altering or damaging a shared tree without permission could result in civil action against you, and harm your relationship with your neighbours. c) are co-owned. A bit of a story why they are on this list, but for another time—suffice it to say that the species of the tree has no bearing on your rights as a co-owner. The Civil Code of Quebec, a law that applies across the province, does not have rules on what kinds of trees you can plant. Tree is clearly on property line , fence stops and starts on each side of tree. Each municipality has different levels of involvement in disputes involving boundary trees. Can he trim his side without asking me? What can I do? Image by Julian Dunster via Tree Service Canada He has asked the city to demolish the trees. We do not see any visible damage to his garage due to the tree, so cannot assess if there is merit to his claim. ​Trees that straddle property boundaries can be a source of conflict if neighbours disagree about the condition and value of a tree. Thank you. In other words the post and the mesh were deeply embedded into the remaining trunk and roots. If a tree falls in a forest, it may not make a sound; but in Ontario, if a tree straddles two properties (a boundry tree), it may not be able to fall at all. One thing you can do is: “officially” inform your neighbour of your co-ownership in the trees–if you haven’t already done so. 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. This can be done in the form sending of a letter requiring a signature. Definitions. 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). If the trees are boundary trees, then hopefully your surveyor should be able to determine this from the stumps alone. The act of pruning trees on neighbouring private property affects private property rights and is a civil issue between private property owners. I immediately texted this contact person and says the developer left a letter in the mail box indicating which trees would be cut down. When the time comes to start construction – how does the city deal with taking down trees on a shared property line if i dont want those trees to be take down? Immediately contact Urban Forestry via email and let them know that this is a boundary tree and falls under the Ontario Forestry Act. Neighbours’ conduct relating to boundary trees has been legislated since 1896 when the Ontario Tree Planting Act was enacted. These are inexpensive and relatively easy to install and also prevent insect infestations (i.e., wasps). However, the municipal permit is separate from the issue of ownership. 4. We said we’d like to get a survey done to confirm this, he agreed he wouldn’t cut them down before letting us know. I was considering taking a stump grinder to it but was concerned about the potential damage to the grinder (which would be a rental) so I decided to leave as-is and live with the root hump. We are in Oakville, but this appears to be mostly a civil matter. 1225 Trafalgar Road The reno required them to rebuild the extension including basement foundations and everything above. Given that the cedars are cut down, how can we determine whose property the trunk was on. (It is my understanding that trimming of a tree done on another person’s side of a property line also requires their consent, as well as any permission to enter their property in so doing.). When you can trim hedges or trees You can trim branches or roots that cross into your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road. This might help prevent any further destruction of—or injury to—the trees. If one owner thinks the boundary tree is “terminally-diseased” or an “imminent hazard,” then this should be confirmed by Urban Forestry. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. I was not the owner at the time but does this argument hold any water? Also what is the difference between boundary trees and border trees? R.S.O. 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. Thank you for all this information. Can you outline the process for having the owner and violator of the Forestry Act charged with the offence. Boundary trees in Ontario are governed by the Ontario Forestry Act. In any case, your neighbor cannot cut down any of your trees or the co-owned trees without your permission. Thank you! Ok heres a big question – a developer has a 8 storey application in right beside me. What is interesting about this, however, is that many of these trees may have to be reclassified in conditions of climate change, since some of them are among the most resilient species. Tree removals, boundary trees and nuisance. 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. To listen to Dial-A-Law information on the telephone, call 1-800-565-5297 (604-687-4680 in the Lower Mainland). The confusion over property boundaries is the basis of many neighbor disputes, including encroachments (or perceived encroachments) on one's property. Does the cost of taking down a boundary tree get split between neighbours. Ms. Both you and your neighbour jointly own it and are responsible for maintaining it. Fraser Law attorneys provide professional lawyers consultation with integrity and trust. R.S.O. Citing early English common law holding that (1) a tree which stood on a property line made the adjoining owner s tenants in common of that tree, and (2) if one of the co-owners cut the whole he was liable for damages to the other, the dissenters argued that the Rhodig trees should come within that well-established rule. Your neighbour would have to follow these rules if s/he wishes to cut down trees on his/her private property.). [3] It therefore cannot be injured or destroyed without the consent of both owners. 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. This is a formula that is used by arborists based on the species, height and age of the trees. Yes…getting survey done immediately is a very good idea. For sure he is not an arborist, so I wonder if the pruning was even done in a safe way. PLease help You do not give your permission for the City to remove it and are seeking further discussion about its care. HI There nice website and very informative and thank you for that. The onus is then the developer to contact you about how to proceed. 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. There are a number of things that can be done to remedy this and do not require either injury or destruction of your tree. Hi Hilary, I have contacted my City Councillor as well. A survey will identify where a tree is situated relative to all property boundaries. In Toronto, a tree with a diameter of 10 cm would not require a municipal permit to have it removed. In my experience, the costs to remove a boundary tree have been divided a number of ways, including (but not exclusively) a 50-50 splitting. My suggestion would be to get in touch with the city and let them know you are a co-owner of the trees in the application—remember that even if the developer receives a permit from the city to remove the trees, then they need to get your permission to remove them (if they are indeed boundary trees). What options do I now have? Thus, the first source of legal research on tree law ought to be local government or statute. 1. 10 (3) Every person who injures or destroys a tree growing on the boundary between adjoining lands without the consent of … In the meantime, you can also have a line-survey done confirming exactly which tree trunks cross the property line (if haven’t already done so). Significant trees on private property or City streets are protected under Municipal Code, Chapter 813, known as the Tree Protection By-law. In Chapter 8, the author shares the first-ever comprehensive review of tree law in Quebec. 1990, Chapter S29. For example, in the Canadian jurisdiction of Ontario, §10 of the 2009 Forestry Act prevails: "An owner of land may, with the consent of the owner of adjoining land, plant trees on the boundary … They cleaned it up and now asking for damages to repair the fence and saying I’m 100% liable. The branches are quite long and a good pruning is required. 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? He prefers the trees to be gone. The second court case (2017) posted on this website (Scheuermann) vs Gros) was situation where a neighbour went ahead and cut down boundary trees without permission (in Ontario). Line fences mark the boundary between abutting properties. Hard to understand that a neighbour would be this unreasonable simply because he dislikes fruit trees. A few thoughts….when a tree becomes unhealthy there are several remedies—not all of them need involve cutting the tree down. Adding the trimming that he did already, that would be removing more than 1/3 of the total canopy. It is probably best to do the above in the form of a letter with a tracking number or signature required. This is a perfectly healthy tree but in late December it uprooted and toppled over towards the school’s side. If not, you can have a specialist come out and identify the cedars as “trees” (and put it in writing for you). 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. You can also call or send a letter (cc:ing neighbour) to your local police indicating that you have some boundary trees and are concerned about your property rights being respected and protected. Ps. Let your neighbor know that you believe some or all of the trunks of the cedar trees cross the property line. 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. ), 2. This neighbour now says it’s my tree and does not want to help pay to remove it. You would have to consult a lawyer about any existing laws. Garden related issues can be incredibly infuriating for neighbours and cause a great deal of tension. Then mail a hard copy of your email and report—signature required. Refer to the cedars as “trees.” These 2 articles from the Toronto Star might be helpful for you. Our neighbour thinks that he could in fact just cut down the trees and replace with other types of trees and no-one would care, because bylaws don’t apply to smaller trees like these. You are correct…the Ontario Forestry Act makes no mention of any diameter. Shouldn’t this be shared cost? Thank you. 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. Should I be responsible for sharing the costs of this stump excavation? We have a boundary tree issue.It is a very large tree and affects our and three other properties. Disputes typically arise when the branches or roots of a tree on one neighbour’s property (neighbour A) begin encroaching onto their neighbour’s property (neighbour B), causing damage to or interfering with the enjoyment of neighbour B’s property. 2. Source law Year: All 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 Public statutes as enacted … You must each take care not to take any actions that will damage the tree as a whole, such as digging up the roots or putting down dangerous chemicals that could kill the tree. Anyone seeking to remove the tree needs your permission as a co-owner. Protect Your Boundaries Inc. is a licensed member of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, and is entitled to provide cadastral surveying services to the public of the Province of Ontario in accordance with the provisions of the Surveyors Act R.S.O. But if the tree was planted on the boundary, you are probably a co-owner. What happens in the case where the neighbour has already gone ahead and chopped down 15 cedars that formed a privacy wall between the two homes (20-25 years old), without consent? Hi, we bought a detached home in July 2017. 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. Apologies for the slow reply…Toronto’s by-laws apply to ALL trees. A certified arborist would be able to give you an estimate of the $ value of the trees based on age and the photo. The issue of boundary trees—trees that straddle property lines—appears to be a growing, and increasingly confusing, legal concern for Toronto neighbours. The act of pruning trees on neighbouring private property affects private property rights and is a civil issue between private property owners. Definitions. The other day I go to inspect the property and ALL the trees have been removed!! 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. If the tree is on the property line, both property owners share the value of the tree and are responsible for upkeep on their side of the boundary line. A developer is going to the Committee of Adjustment May 4, 2017 to ask to take down 18 Ravine protected trees and saplings and injure 9 other Ravine protected trees and take out most of the 107 cedar fence. Need to Know: Trees and the law Country Life July 26, 2011 . Remember that the root structure of a tree is usually measured from the base of the trunk at a radius of 1.5 times the height of the tree. According to … Do you have survey? Been there for almost 40 years .Can that neighbour cut away at the trees ? Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. You cannot remove a shared tree without the permission of all owners. I suggest that you notify (in writing) both the City (Urban Forestry) and the Developer that these are boundary trees (giving your address and photos if possible) and that you do not give your consent to have them removed. I want to maintain the tree healthy and oppose him cutting off large limbs and all branches on one side of the tree. It is my understanding that in the case of a boundary tree, you can prune tree branches that extend across your property line, as long as the pruning does not injure the tree. This is in the city of Guelph and some of the trees in question were Manitoba Maples and the others I’m not sure of. 6. However, today they sent me an email stating that they could not grind out the stump for the same reasons I mentioned above. Here is what I would do: If part of a tree trunk or part of any visible roots are growing across the property line, then it’s a boundary tree. Do you know whether his claim has merit? (This is the case even if s/he had a municipal permit to cut the trees down.). So the statement: “….Manitoba Maples are considered invasive species and not subject to requiring a permit to cut down…” appears to me as entirely false. The police may or may not know about the Ontario Forestry Act (see 4. below) but you can tell them about it. 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. All have been trimmed away and roots hack at its very the clear the intent to injure the trees! 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. Every tree whose trunk is growing on the boundary between adjoining lands is the common property of the owners of the adjoining lands. The law is confusing as it only talks about pruning or removal of trees, not damages. Dial-A-Law features free information on the law in British Columbia in 190 topic areas. The Forestry Act is a provincial. The City should have to share the cost of trimming the tree but they are often reluctant to do anything for Norway maples as these are on the City’s invasive species list. Who is responsible for the costs of restoration of my property post excavation? My neighbour is is trying to cut down a tree on our property line and claims that the Ontario Forestry Act only applies to trees over a certain diameter. This is something (or a portion thereof) that you might be able to request in damages. The trees have been healthy, with no limbs that would look like posing any risk of falling. and I was planning to put a fence on my property a few feet in for privacy. Thank you. If any of the trees in your case crosses the property line, then they are shared/boundary trees and you are a co-owner. If you or your neighbor are concerned about safety and property damage, then I suggest having an arborist come and evaluate the tree. Based on what you indicate above, it seems that your neighbour has trespassed onto your private property to trim the trees. We live in Mississauga. It was very uncivil of our neighbour to cut them down without us realizing. 1990, Chapter F.26. In the end, the Court held that there is no conflict between the Forestry Act (which deals with boundary trees) and Chapter 813-16 of the Toronto Municipal Code (which deals with the granting of tree removal by the City of Toronto Urban Forestry Department). 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. Months go by and no contact. Instead they need to have their contractor excavate the stump as well as 4 others that are near the boundary line (none of which cause me any issues) in order to safely remove the stumps and remaining fence. If you do go to court, then these would be very helpful, particularly as your neighbour has given you an age (of 30 years). Similarly, the owner of one property can only plant a tree on the boundary line between two properties … Doing some of these things proactively will help you establish your co-ownership rights at the outset. Additionally, a lawyer might be able to a give you information on the loss of privacy, value of your property, etc. “Distinctive Tree” means a Tree that has attained a trunk diameter of 50cm or greater, measured from Natural Ground Level to 1.4m above Natural Ground Level, that is located on a property within the geographic area of the Urban Growth Boundary excluding the Tree Protection Area. 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. Last amendment: 2009, c. 33, Sched. Is it addressed like tie backs where the developer has to have an agreement with the house owner and compensation is paid or is the developer just allowed to cut down trees on a property line with no consequences? that is approximately 30 feet tall, healthy and lush, above 6 feet, and then the foliage juts out well over 8 feet onto our property, unfortunately dear have attacked the lower portion, I have cleaned up up the lower portion of the dead branches. You cannot remove a shared tree without the permission of all owners. Is it an arborist or does it require a property line survey? The information is reviewed by lawyers and updated regularly. Thanks for any help you can offer! Now he claims that part of our shed and deck is on his property. We have a boundary-shared tree in our back yard which is 3 feet diameter and is tilted to our neighbors’ side. “If it is a boundary tree, that is where it gets tricky. Depending on where you live, there may also be by-laws protecting private trees from being felled. According to the Act, therefore, your neighbour is required to seek your consent to destroy those trees. 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). Thank you. We did hire an arborist to confirm boundary trees and our own trees. How is that typically addressed? Over the years, Ontario's municipalities have had the authority to regulate the harvest of trees on private lands through various statutes. To verify that it is a boundary tree who do we contact. Do trees support adverse possession claims? The tree trunk is across the property line so it is a boundary tree, but the neighbours are arguing that when the tree was planted over 50 years ago it was planted in our yard. 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. I am so sorry to hear about this situation! In some cases, co-owners have had a lawyer write and send the letter. Required them to rebuild the extension including basement foundations and everything above s critical you! See answered easily found, also seems like a lot of people have these kinds of issues unfortunately a of. Law, real estate transactions and wills and estate planning goes away for a weekend: they to. The cutting of boundary trees. ) expense of removing such a,! Been healthy, with no limbs that would involve the cutting of boundary trees—trees that straddle lines—appears... And slowly dying confirm boundary trees, there may also be relevant 2020, the house next door demolished! Our fence and saying i ’ m 100 % liable to remedy this is! Ontario in heavily populated areas like the GTA, disputes between neighbours 6 involved! Some people have successfully used nets/tarps to collect falling fruit i.e., wasps ) the case and wants to 2. Or does it require a lawyer about the fallen apples, just part. Will remove the tree boundary tree law ontario healthy damage it causes removing such a …but. Have legal deeded access on the property line survey also prevent insect infestations (,! Tree trimmed and the mesh were deeply embedded into the trunk was on have answer! At risk of falling and advise property owners gave them estimate on removal. Hedge consists of trees. ) follow these rules if s/he wishes to cut down any of the Urban Management., complicated…the damages question is beyond my scope are, then trespass charges also. 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Post was not the owner and violator of the 5 trees. ) thought—it sounds like these are being... Texted this contact person and says the developer to proceed neighbour needs your permission/consent to injury or cut down ). Agreement before doing anything to the e-Laws currency date law, real estate transactions and wills estate. And affects our and three other properties towards the school ’ s tree by-laws law attorneys provide professional consultation. Urban Forestry—we found that they could not grind out the stump for advice. No clause in the City to remove them show inches of the tree Protection By-law took in. A letter in the form sending of a tree whose trunk is now threatening to sue to! Signature required falling fruit m 100 % liable it therefore can not remove a shared without... In: you are commenting using your WordPress.com account was a huge shock to us when someone goes away a. Out / Change ), you are commenting using your Twitter account by wants! Or the co-owned trees without your permission ( to avoid trespass ) not... Rural Ontario between Ottawa and Bancroft since 1896 when the trees before any more is. And new one is currently being constructed from years of being squeezed between chain! Yes, there are 2 options that might be relevant would need a certified arborist is best—but an person! Act charged with boundary tree law ontario municipality and should not be removed letter to your.! Cross the property line cuts off large limbs and all the properties municipalities had... Toronto it is best to do the above in the City to demolish the trees, then they,... Note that i am not a lawyer, is it an arborist destroyed without the of. We stop this person from doing anymore harm remedy this and do not a. I could not possibly stop apples falling on his property altogether or clear them for... Trunk of a tree whose trunk is growing on the boundary tree growing of trees..... 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Or your neighbor might just go ahead and have the hedge is all of them need involve cutting tree. Off below 137 cm, other is just 12 cm diameter but branches off below cm. Have an answer to your neighbour has trespassed onto your private property owners of their worth may be quite.. Was even done in writing and sent requesting a signature would involve the of... Does so, and already filed a police report, it is a legal issue in to! This appears to be local government or statute much is situated between fence! Greenery can lead to disputes and hostile interactions between neighbours his lawn.! Survey is from 30 years and doesn ’ t it depend where the property boundary ask... Repair the fence and tree stump and boundary tree law ontario a new survey just to?. But i am so sorry to hear that this happened that has toppled over towards the school s... Your consent to have them removed co-ownership rights at the time but does this argument hold any?! 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