Can I cut a tree root so it doesn’t damage my driveway if the tree is on my neighbor’s property?

The tree is on another’s property that’s up for sale. My subdivision planted trees in the parkway on the property line. The 1st tree died another planted in it’s place, 2nd tree ended up on neighbor’s property. That house is up for sale. There are 3 roots growing out, 1 towards the street, another towards the sidewalk and 1 towards my driveway.

Asked on August 28, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that state laws vary a bit on this issue. However, most courts hold the view that if the roots of a homeowner's tree cause damage to a neighbor's property, then the neighbor can take action. They have the right to cut off branches or roots that have grown onto their property. First, however, they must give notice to the owner of the that they will take such action. Also, when they trim an encroaching tree, they can only trim up to the property line. Additionally, they cannot cut the entire tree down and cannot destroy the structural integrity of the tree by improper trimming. 

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