What can I do if my neighbor’s tree is damaging my fence?

UPDATED: May 31, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: May 31, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What can I do if my neighbor’s tree is damaging my fence?

I would like to write a letter to my neighbor regarding the encroachment of the tree and I would like to cite a law specific to this; however, I have not been able to find anything. Does it exist? I have pictures which show that the tree is completely lifting my fence out of the ground. I believe that it is the owner’s responsibility to remove the tree; however, I can’t find any law supporting this. If I send a letter, do I have a legal leg to stand on if I have to proceed to small claims court?

Asked on May 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Delaware


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

For specific statutes and case law it is best to consult with an attorney in your area.  But not having any should not deter you from writing the letter requesting that they remove the tree as it is causing damage to your property. 

Here is a general rule in some states like California: although you may cut tree limbs and remove roots from your neighbor's tree where they cross over the property line, you cannot do so if it will damage the continued viability of his tree.

But know that the encroachment can be considered continuing trespass and the neighbor should remove his tree (regardless of how long it has been encroaching).  Also note that a boundary tree is one planted on the boundary. It cannot be removed without mutual agreement. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption