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What to Do If Your Neighbor’s Tree is Affecting Your Property

Is there a tree on your neighbor’s property that you want removed? Maybe it’s blocking the sun from your yard or its unsightly branches have crossed onto your property. If you have discussed this with your neighbor and they refuse to remove the tree, you may be able to do something about it yourself.

In Connecticut, if roots from the tree are wholly on one person’s land, the tree belongs to that person. While the growth of a tree is an act of nature outside of a landowner’s control, the landowner does have a responsibility of tending to the tree. That being said, if a tree is entirely on your neighbor’s land, you cannot cross property lines to tend to the tree without your neighbor’s permission.

Nevertheless, if the branches of the tree are growing or hanging on your property, you may trim the tree branches up to your property line without asking your neighbor for permission. The same principal applies to roots that grow onto your property. It is important to remember that you may not go onto your neighbor’s property when cutting the tree or its branches.

Under Connecticut Statute § 52-560, any person who destroys a tree on the land of another may be responsible for up to five times the value of a tree intended for sale, or up to three times the value of any other tree. It is important to understand that the value of the tree is not the cost of planting a replacement for purposes of calculating damages. Connecticut courts have held that the value of a tree is either the market value of the tree once it is severed from the soil, or the difference in market value of the property after the tree has been cut.

It is always best to sort our neighborly disputes without legal intervention. However, if a neighbor is refusing to care for their land or if an individual has illegally removed a tree from your Connecticut property, please contact David Rintoul at drintoul@znclaw.com to schedule a free consultation at our Bridgeport office to discuss your options for protecting your property.

This article was co-authored by legal intern, Alyssa Ferreone. Alyssa is not yet admitted to practice law.