Tree Act FAQs - Canadian Trees and Regulations | Frequently asked questions (2023)

What is the difference between a boundary tree and a boundary tree?

Ownership of a tree is determined by where the tree grows in relation to the property boundary. Boundary trees grow close to the property line or boundary, but not beyond. This means that it is fully owned by the people on whose land it is grown. A boundary tree grows on the property line or boundary, making it common property. Traditionally, it is measured where the roots of the tree touch the ground. There have been a few recent cases where the location of the trunk has been used to determine ownership, but this has created additional difficulties.Chapter 3, Boundaries and Boundary TreesThese issues are discussed in detail.

What should I do if my neighbor cuts down my tree?

If you think your tree will be of great value, start by contacting your neighbors and discussing a monetary solution. If that doesn't help, you'll have to sue your neighbors for the damages they've suffered. If the tree is only growing on your property, your neighbors may trespass on your property and remove the tree. Violation of regulations alone is sufficient to trigger legal claims. The value of the lost trees will be another issue the court will have to decide. LookChapter 5 Trees damaged as a result of unauthorized trespassandChapter 7 Assessment of damage done.

When is a tree considered a nuisance?

Disruption is a special legal area. Tree roots or branches that cross the boundary can be a nuisance and cause a range of problems, from inconvenience to real damage. If you sue the tree owner, not all nuisance cases will go to court, but actual damage will often result in a court order for damages. The first step is to formally notify the tree owner of the problem and ask them to fix it. If they choose to take no action, you can help yourself (see below) or you can sue your neighbors to force action to fix the problem. Leaves on neighboring trees are unlikely to be considered a nuisance unless they can be shown to have caused some form of actual damage. The dropped fruit actually belongs to the neighbor, so in theory it cannot be legally picked up and eaten, let alone harvested and sold. LookChapter 4 Trees are a nuisance.

If you own a tree and have received notice that it is causing problems, you must decide what to do. The available options are usually:

  • Do nothing and ignore it (later accept any penalty if the request is confirmed)
  • Hire a qualified professional to inspect the tree to see if it fits the bill (don't forget to get that person's permission to enter a neighboring lot to inspect the tree)
  • Accept the request and pay to resolve the issue

What are the self-help rules?

Self-help rules apply across Canada except Quebec. As long as there are no regulations on the property, the do-it-yourself principle states that a person bothered by overhanging or encroaching branches can prune the tree back to the property line without the consent of the tree's owner (Neighbors). However, such cuts must not pass through the vertical projection of the site boundary. If this happens, it will be a violation of the law and the owner of the tree may have a valid claim against you for damage to the tree as a result of the burglary. The first rule is to know exactly where the property line is. Hedges and fences rarely accurately reflect the exact location of property boundaries. If you are in doubt, have the line measured by an authorized surveyor. It's a lot cheaper than dealing with property damage lawsuits. LookChapter 4.4. self help questions

The new construction next door cut the roots of my tree and it is now dying. Can I sue the developer?

In the absence of local laws restricting such activities, developers have the legal right to cut down trees within the boundary, but not outside. If the work damages or destabilizes your tree, you have no legal recourse to stop it, unless you live in Quebec, where the rules are completely different.

How is Quebec law different from the rest of Canada?

Quebec is governed by the Civil Code. It details every possible situation that needs to be managed and describes how it can be achieved.Chapter 8 Quebec Tree LawsA comprehensive review of these issues and the relevant clauses of the code is underway.

Who pays if a neighbor's tree falls on my land?

Two things usually happen. If a tree that falls on your property doesn't cause any damage, but just makes a big mess, you may be responsible for all cleanup costs yourself. It may be okay if the neighbors are willing to help or cover some or even all of the costs, but they are under no obligation to do so. If a fallen tree causes damage, such as falling on your car or damaging your home, your insurance policy will likely cover the physical damage and even cleanup costs. If the insurance company so chooses, it can seek subrogation in an attempt to recover those costs from the neighbor's insurance company. This can complicate matters if you alert your neighbors to your concerns about their tree and they do nothing to address it. However, merely alerting the neighbors only brings them real attention. Chances are, if they've been reviewed by a qualified person and found nothing out of the ordinary, you probably don't have any claims. Each case will be considered individually.

How much is my tree worth?

There are industry standard methods for determining the value of trees. If the lost trees are planted for timber or pulpwood, forestry methods will be used to determine the amount and grade of timber and operating costs. If trees are planted purely for practicality, this is one of the amenity assessment methods discussed in the Environmental Impact StatementA guide to plant identificationThis is the correct standard of damages. Numerous approaches and judicial practice inChapter 7 Assessment of damage done. These problems also occur in Quebec and inChapter 8.6 Case law on valuation methods and compensation.Vegetation assessment of timber or multi-purpose boxes is a specialist area and should be carried out by suitably trained personnel.

What would happen if someone was injured by a falling tree?

In general, questions will focus on the standard of care (Chapter II. Legal principles and concepts) and predictability (Chapter 6 Negligence, foreseeability,Damage from trees to property and people). In Quebec, seeSection 8.7.4 The issue of foreseeability of unavoidable accidents and injuries. The injured person must prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the tree was clearly defective before it was destroyed and that the owner knew or should have known of its condition and took reasonable steps to prevent it from falling and causing injury. Each case has its own specific circumstances to consider and will likely require special expertise to investigate the case. This will usually be a forensic examination of all available evidence, an analysis of the expected standard of care, what actually happened and an opinion as to whether the standard of care was met. This type of work is almost always carried out by an experienced consultant arborist who has extensive experience in conducting such studies.

I have an easement on my neighbor's lot that gives me the right of way. One of the trees is already too big for me to drive across the property. which can be done

It depends almost entirely on the content of the easement. Every situation is a little different and the entire easement agreement should be thoroughly reviewed by an attorney to determine your rights. You may not have automatic permission to cut offending trees, so check first. As always, building a constructive relationship with your servant is often much simpler and cheaper than going to court. Similarly, easement holders may be better off cooperating with easement users rather than trying to annoy and prevent easement use.

My neighbor's tree is drying out the ground and causing the foundation of my house to settle. Can I claim compensation?

Trees growing on clay can cause the clay to shrink, which can shift the foundation. These problems are more common in Quebec than in other parts of Canada. See section4.2 Threats to trees - roots and subsidence. For Quebec, see8.5.2 Clay - roots and foundations.

My trees have been damaged by chemicals that have been blown or landed on my land. Are the neighbors responsible for the damage to my tree?

There have been several cases of herbicides crossing over and causing damage to plants. Similarly, the use of road salt to soak up groundwater and damage plants elsewhere is also well documented. Look6.10 Chemicals - Salt - HerbicidesIn Quebec, see8.7.1 Trees and salt.


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