Trees and Neighbors: What are your rights?
In Louisiana, trees belong to the owner of the soil on which they stand. If a neighbor’s tree branches, bushes, or plants extend over a landowner’s property, the landowner has the right to demand that the branches or roots be trimmed at the neighbor’s expense. In Louisiana, this right can be especially important, as tree branches can be a hazard for adjoining properties in the event of a hurricane or storm. While a property owner can demand a neighbor to trim a tree that encroaches on their property, a property owner cannot trim their neighbor’s tree without permission. Should the neighbor refuse, there are means of relief to protect the property owner from a hazard or from loss of use or enjoyment of their property.
Under the Louisiana Civil Code, trees, bushes, and plants on the boundary of neighboring properties are presumed to be common unless there is proof to the contrary. If the tree branches or roots of a common tree encroach onto a landowner’s property and interfere with their enjoyment of or pose a risk to the property, it is the concerned landowner’s responsibility to trim the tree, and they are also responsible for the costs.
If a neighbor’s tree falls onto a landowner’s property and causes damage, such as during a hurricane or while cutting down the tree, the owner of the tree may be responsible for the costs of repairing the damage and removal of debris. Typically, the neighbor or the neighbor’s insurance company will be responsible for the costs of the damages if the neighbor knew or should have known that the tree posed a risk to the neighbor’s property.
If you have any questions regarding your rights as a property owner or need assistance with any real estate matters, please contact Johnston Burkhardt at (504)324-2141 or Johnston@qtsnola.com.