Trees on a property line

Who owns a tree on a property line in the province of Ontario? If you purchased a tree and planted it on a property line, your neighbour is getting one of the owners of this tree (even he paid nothing for a tree and service to plant it). Every tree that is growing on a property line is the common property of both neighbours.

It means that, and you cannot harm the tree that you planted without permission of your neighbour. For some of us it sounds surprising, but it is a fact, and we have to accept it. What can happen if we injure or destroy a tree that is growing on a property line? We can be penalized up to $20,000 in addition to any remedies. A person who is guilty can even face imprisonment for up to three months.

We also cannot enter the neighbour’s property to trim the tree. At the same time if a tree fell and harmed the neighbour’s property, they cannot complain or sue us. They are responsible for their losses, and have to file a claim with their insurance company.

Sometimes we see another situation involving trees between neighbours’ properties. A tree was planted close to a property line, and it is very clear on whose land it is growing. Branches from a neighbour’s tree hang over our property. Can we trim this tree? Yes, we can cut the branches off, only the ones that are actually on our property. We cannot cut off the brunches in such a way that we kill the tree, if there is a way of trimming branches without killing the tree.

In most cases legal issues involving trees on property lines can easily be solved between neighbours when they talk to each other. It points to the importance of good communication between neighbours. The proverb that we mentioned in the other article is very true – a good neighbour increases the value of your property.