In relation to property line disputes in Virginia- If my neighbor planted trees for purpose of privacy, on my side of the property line(she did not have a survey done and they were installed sometime prior to my actually owning the property),are those trees my trees or hers? Inversely,if she removes those trees without my consent, can I sue her for the cost of reinstalling the trees and my privacy?
State/Country relating to Question: Republic
Nothing, except stopping her from cutting all the trees down which was her plan, and writing a letter about our discussion over this property line encroachment for the past 13 years. It appears there is also a brick shed structure which doesn't have proper setback either.
How long have the trees been there?
13 years plus. When we purchased they were already 12-14 feet- now they were 25 feet before they chain sawed them down. From day one survey and stakes were done and we had many conversations about the encroachment. I offered property line adjustment to correct encroachment but they did not want to pay for survey.
Since trees are usually planted at no more then 6 feet (and often less), I think it safe to assume the trees were there at least 2 years before you moved in. Because of Adverse Possession - which is 15 years in Virginia - the tree line is now the property line. That means the trees belong - or belonged - 1/2 to you and 1/2 to your neighbor. If your neighbor has destroyed them, you can sue her for the entire cost of replacement.
The easiest way to handle this is to file a claim in Small Claims court. Small Claims is very easy to manage, you don't need an attorney, and you can get the forms and instructions at the court. You can sue for up to $5,000.
Admitted NYS Bar, member ABA, NYSBA, NYCBA, QCBA, Licensed Real Estate Broker
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