Who Owns Tree Rights?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with CB Stagecoach 492107

Who Owns Tree Rights?


Homeowners do you know who owns tree rights when branches overhang or encroach over your property line?


If some of the tree limbs or trunk are on both property lines both land owners can claim an ownership interest.


Trimming branches or removing roots which encroach your property can be trimmed or removed with caution up to the property line. One cannot trespass unless there is immediate irreparable harm threatening homeowners property.


A case in Texas recently went to court from neighbor's tree encroaching adjoining landowner and the question was asked is landowner liable for damage of neighboring property? The court has said no, assuming the tree was healthy. After a 90 mile per hour wind caused overhanging branches to fall on neighbor's home severely damaging it. Owner of the damaged home sued for negligence for allowing tree to overhang and also nuisance of trespassing. Court dismissed the negligence and said trespass and nuisance required the encroaching landowner an intentional act to remove the tree. Since the neighbor did not intentionally cause the tree to overhang the neighbor’s house, the court held that the tree owner was not liable for damages.

Know your rights before trimming or treating trees that encroach your property line, unsound trees that are a threat from neighboring property owners do not have the same protection as a sound, healthy tree.


Who Owns Tree Rights? has been brought to you by Bob Ratliff, REALTOR® (512) 587-5689 When searching homes for sale in Cedar Park, Leander and Austin Northwest you can count on Bob to assist in your real estate investments. Search homes now by clicking on this link.


Information gathered through Austin Board of REALTOR'S® legal articles; information deemed reliable but not guaranteed all rights reserved by Bob Ratliff RE/MAX Capital City.


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 01/06/2016 03:24 AM
  2. Praful Thakkar 01/29/2016 04:03 PM
  3. Mary Yonkers 01/14/2016 11:49 AM
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David Landau
Newtown, CT
RE/MAX Right Choice

Hi Bob, thanks for in info, it will help get to the root of the problem. If a tree needs to be trimmed or taken down, its best to leave that to a professional. Post's like these helps me branch out with my knowledge.


Jan 06, 2016 09:55 PM #24
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Hey Bob-we are allowed here in my county to trim back to the property line any encroaching branches. The power company has an easment and they can come in and virtually distroy any tree close to their lines.

Jan 06, 2016 10:06 PM #25
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Bob. For all the homes that we flip, we send someone in to trim the trees, it is always a good selling feature.

Great job with your post!

Jan 06, 2016 10:09 PM #26
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Bob, this is a common issue, and nice to know what happened in Texas.  Probably should do some research to find out what would happen in Denver. 

Jan 06, 2016 11:00 PM #27
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

It may just be that man is the problem as trees just go about growing & sowing

Jan 06, 2016 11:05 PM #28
John Oman
Newington, CT

I don't know if this is a state by state issue, but in Connecticut if your nieghbors tree damages your property, your insurance handles it.  Not the tree owners.   If no damge to your property and part of tree just falls on your property, again deal with your  insurance.    They might assist depending on your insurance or just might be your responsiblity/expense.   Each side takes care of their own property issues..

Jan 06, 2016 11:54 PM #29
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Here in my area it seems most trees are palms and they grow straight up...which is good in this case!

Jan 07, 2016 01:55 AM #30
Joy Bender
Pacific Sotheby's - La Jolla, CA
#1 San Diego Luxury Real Estate Digital Marketer

Awesome post Bob I had no idea of the legal ramifications of this.  I have had clients offer to pay to trim their neighbors trees blocking an ocean view.  Some neighbors are stubborn just to be cruel.

Jan 07, 2016 02:38 AM #31
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Great job with this post Bob! Every state may have different laws on trees that fall on your property. Important thing is to know your rights as well as your property lines.

Jan 07, 2016 04:36 AM #32
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Bob - Interesting post and something that has come up from time to time. We once talked to a couple of local attorneys on behalf of a client who was dealing with the issue, and, surprise, we got two separate and conflicting opinions.

Jan 07, 2016 05:59 AM #33
Hamilton Landon Real Estate - Apple Valley, CA
...Marketing your home like no one else will.

I hope my neighbor plants fruit trees next to my fence!   All joking asdie. Good points and we talk about it a lot while out with buyers.

Jan 07, 2016 09:36 AM #34
David Jones
BuyersAsk.com - Aliso Viejo, CA

Clearly tree issues results in damage to peoples property. Branches fall on homes, damage fences and invade sewer and drain lines. The law not only varies from state to state, but may even vary from city to city. California is living proof. Naturally seeking your neighbors help and co-operation is best, and owners should probably seek both legal and a professional aborist advice prior to doing any significant trimming or removing of roots or branches.  Great post Bob.   Dave 

Jan 07, 2016 12:31 PM #35
Maria Gilda Racelis
Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington - Manchester, CT
Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen!

Good Morning Bob,

This is a very relevant and important topic in real estate. I am glad that you wrote this ruling and was more delighted that it was featured because of its relevance.

It is very common to have trees growing between 2 property lines.

Great job. great info.

Jan 07, 2016 08:51 PM #36
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Bob Ratliff, Broker Associate - REALTOR® CRS, GRI ~ 512-587-5689 - interesting case - and good judgment, I'd say.

Yes, we should be aware of our TREE rights.


Jan 08, 2016 02:20 PM #37
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Bob!

I included this post in today's Last Week's Favorites!

Jan 10, 2016 10:58 AM #38
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Interesting, I learn something new every day "in the Rain".....

Jan 10, 2016 06:22 PM #39
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


I have heard of some pretty challenging court cases having to do with trees, encroachments, damage, etc. You cannot make assumptions about what you can and cannot do with regard to a neighbor's tree. Growing trees can also create potential problems with a neighbor's solar system - there are some protections for that I believe, and I imagine things vary from area to area


Jan 11, 2016 06:13 AM #40
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Bob Ratliff, Broker Associate - REALTOR® CRS, GRI ~ 512-587-5689 

First, congratulations on Featured post 

Second, thanks for very informative information about who owns what & who is responsible 

Third, the picture looks like tree in my daughter's yard. A year ago her tree damaged the neighbor's fence. $$$$

Jan 13, 2016 03:04 AM #41
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Bob. I experienced this personally. My neighbors tree took out a significant part of a fence and did damage to my lawn too. My neighbor informed me it was an act of G-d and after checking with his insurance company he had no obligation to to take care of it. Had the situation been reversed I would have taken care of it, regardless. I now know who my neighbors are and take care of things myself.

Jan 14, 2016 09:31 PM #42
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

 The dispute over any tree related issues should be disclosed and carefully negotiated ( at least here, in CA). A homeowner thinking of substantially cutting back an encroaching tree should be advised to consult an arborist beforehand. Even where there is no danger of seriously injury to a tree, cutting back a tree must be done carefully. 

Oct 11, 2017 09:28 PM #43
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