What to do if my neighbor came onto my property and trimmed trees without permission?

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What to do if my neighbor came onto my property and trimmed trees without permission?

Neighbor asked permission to trim my trees to clear his view from above; permission was not given and after 8 months he came onto the property, trimmed the trees and rung them. Ringing a tree kills it within 3 years. He left all the branches and now we will be responsible for clearing the stump when the tree dies (assuming the 100+ year old tree does not land on our house). What legal right do we have and should we pursue him legally?

Asked on July 27, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) He intentionally damaged or destroyed your property: you have the right to sue him for the value of the trees or the cost of replacing/replanting them with trees of equal maturity; you can also sue him for clean up costs; and if the trees damage other property of yours (they fall over, because he ringed them), you could sue for those damages, too. The fact that they blocked his view gave him NO right to do this; possibly he could have brough a lawsuit, under a theory of nuisance, to compel you to cut  the trees, but it's very unlikely he would have won, and the only legal way to seek recourse would be through the courts.

2) He committed criminal trespass and vandalism as well; you could report him to the police.


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