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

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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