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What happens if a neighbor refuses consent to remove a boundary tree?

Washington, DC |

There is a large tree in the rear of my property. In an attempt to prevent us from building a rear addition to our house, the neighbors have refused consent to remove a tree that straddles the property line. The diameter of the tree is about 24 inches, and the trunk appears to project about 1 inch over the property line based on a recent survey. What damages could the neighbor collect if I remove the tree without consent? Can I remove the portion on my property and leave their 1 inch of trunk? The tree is considered a nuisance species and is not covered under the Endangered Tree Act.

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Attorney answers 1


This is one of those problems that would be better solved before you take the tree down. Perhaps having a third-party (like a lawyer) contact the neighbor and trying to negotiate the tree removal would work. If not, you are left with the options of leaving the tree up, or cutting it down and dealing with the consequences later. Those consequences could be nothing - or the neighbor may sue you for trespassing. In such a case, the damages would be something the court would determine.