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Question DetailsAsked on 9/23/2012

Today we just discoverd that our neighbor cut back a row of plants that we planted to define the property line. What should we do?

The plants separate our properties and are lined against their driveway which is technically about 8-10 inches into our property line, however, we never made an issue. This cutting by them without our permission will likely harm the plants. The branches could not have extend into their property when the extra 10 inches is accounted for. Who do we call? Is this reportable?

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4 Answers


Laws vary from state to state regarding this sort of issue. You must decide whether you want to talk with them first or go directly to a lawyer.

Answered 7 years ago by Labour of Love


If you are absolutely certain, I guess I would call the police first and get a written report and then see an attorney or, you can take it to small claims court yourself and sue for damages to replace trees that are of the size they cut down.

Answered 7 years ago by Wilma


The police will not be able to help you. They have enough to do that involves much more serious issues. Besides, do you think that would improve relations with your neighbor? NOT! Neither would calling an attorney. Your first step should be to have a POLITE talk with your neighbor. Explain why you planted on/inside the boundary line. Hopefully you have a copy of the survey of your property that shows exactly where the boundary is, and that the plants are actually on your property. If, indeed the plants would have encroached on the neighbor's property, your neighbor has a right to ask you to trim back the encroachment. However, the fact that the neighbor did not ask you is not worth provoking an argument, as the deed is done. The plants have already been trimmed, so you can't do anything to reverse that. All you can do is ask Neighbor not to trim your plants in the future, and to ask you directly before making a decision about what no doubt appears to them to be a common boundary. STAY COOL.

If things do heat up, you can tell Neighbor that part of their driveway is actually on your property. Neighbor may not be aware of this. Again, you need the survey. If push comes to shove, then you can consult an attorney to notify Neighbor in writing that they will have to remove the portion of the driveway that encroaches on your property. That's Heavy Ammunition; use it wisely.

Answered 7 years ago by Oleron


we had an issue with a common fence and a neighbor. we were told to have a land survey done to determine the true property lines. if you are sure of the line, If someone cuts a tree or a plant that is on your property and grows into their property they have the right to cut it. But that said, if they damage or kill the tree/plant they are liable for up to 10X the cost to repair! Leaves/ dirt/ dust/ weeds are all part of nature and to be expected. I did alot rading on city ordinances and neighbor law. SOmetimes its esier to just let it go, they could have done worse. I always worry that if I make a fuss alot, they may do something terrible back to me. ( hurting dogs, kids, fence)

Answered 7 years ago by jmazurek1961

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