What should your buyer know about trees?

Real Estate Sales Representative with for real estate results in the Tri-Cities.

Let me start by disclosing that I am not an Arborist, but a recent story in the local newspaper of a toppled tree, well over 100 feet, raised some interesting questions for me to consider as a Realtor.

Most urban jurisdictions regulate the conservation, removal and replacement of trees.

Whether a tree is deciduous (sheds all leaves) or evergreen, the health, regulation and safety of trees is important for buyers to know.

Establishing whether the tree is within the survey stakes should resolve ownership issues, but what are the possible consequences of roots that cross boundaries?

A buyer will likely not want to find out after the fact that they are the new owner of a:

•·         tree that compromises public safety (e.g. proximity to other houses or power lines);

•·         compromised rotting tree, caused by disease, insects or improper care;

•·         tree root system that has damaged drainage or foundations underground;

•·         a garden or lawn that cannot be rehabilitated due to shade or root compacting;

•·         controversial tree that obstructs the view of neighbours from a new subdivision;

•·         "heritage" tree of community value; or,

•·         "topped" or otherwise damaged tree.

See seven due diligence tips to help your homebuyer manage the risks associated with trees here [...]

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John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

According to the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, Neighbour Law:

If your neighbour's tree branches hang over your property, you can cut them, but only up to the property line. You cannot go onto your neighbor's property or destroy the tree. The reverse situation is true, too.

If your tree damages your neighbour's property, for example, a branch falls on their roof during a storm, are you responsible? No, not unless you caused the damage intentionally or through negligence. Negligence means you did not take reasonable care in the situation. But if your tree roots go under their property and damage their pipes or foundation, you may be responsible. It depends on the facts of the case.

This is not a legal opinion and should not be relied upon. Always seek professional legal advice from a lawyer.

Jun 10, 2009 04:45 PM #1
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John Grasty

Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.
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