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J.Hazelbaker
J.Hazelbaker, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience:  Attorney and small business owner with 10 years experience in the general practice of law.
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what are my rights on trimming my neighbors trees and plants

Resolved Question:

what are my rights on trimming my neighbors trees and plants growing over their property line onto mine? I live in palm beach county, fla.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 3 years ago.

J.Hazelbaker :

Hello. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

Customer:

hi

J.Hazelbaker :

Under Florida law, you are entitled to trim the brush/limbs back to your property line so long as you don't damage the plant in the process.

J.Hazelbaker :

However, you can't go onto the neighbor's property without permission.

J.Hazelbaker :

You must trim from your property.

J.Hazelbaker :

And, since the law considers the overhanging vegetation to be a "trespass", which allows you to cut it, the residue (e.g. cut branches) belong to the neighbor.

J.Hazelbaker :

Therefore, you can put the cut vegetation back on their property for them to dispose of.

J.Hazelbaker :

If you need support, the Palm Beach County code officer can assist:

J.Hazelbaker :

http://www.pbcgov.com/pzb/CodeEnforcement/index.htm

Customer:

is their a statute # XXXXX law # XXXXX I can look it up & print it. I need to send it in to my homeowners management co. So they can address this with the neighbor.

Customer:

is their a statute # XXXXX law # XXXXX I can look it up & print it. I need to send it in to my homeowners management co. So they can address this with the neighbor.

J.Hazelbaker :

This is a principal of Florida common law, but sometimes it is codified in the county or municipal code of oridinances.

J.Hazelbaker :

I'm looking to see if that is the situation in PBC

Customer:

o.k.,thanks

J.Hazelbaker :

O.K.

J.Hazelbaker :

It's still "common law" under Florida law.

J.Hazelbaker :

This means, that the right to trim is based on prior case decisions. It hasn't been reduced to statute.

J.Hazelbaker :

Here is the leading case

Customer:

it didn't show the leading case

J.Hazelbaker :

Richmond v. General Eng'g Enters. Co., 454 So.2d 16 (Fla.
Gallo v. Heller, 512 So. 2d 215 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987)

J.Hazelbaker :

I'm trying to get you to a copy of the case you can print out. ONe second

J.Hazelbaker :

O.K. I have to copy and post it in here.

J.Hazelbaker :

there's no free source to direct you to, so I had to use my fee service

J.Hazelbaker :

But, it's not long.

J.Hazelbaker :

454 So.2d 16 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 1984) Michael RICHMOND, Appellant, v. GENERAL ENGINEERING ENTERPRISES CO., a Florida corporation, Appellee. No. 83-2937. Florida Court of Appeals, Third District. July 17, 1984


Rehearing Denied Sept. 14, 1984.




Page 17


Welbaum, Zook, Jones & Williams and John D. Weatherford, Miami, for appellant.


No appearance for appellee.


Before SCHWARTZ, C.J., and HUBBART and NESBITT, JJ.


SCHWARTZ, Chief Judge.


Richmond sued for money damages based on the alleged "negligence" of the defendant-appellee in permitting branches of a ficus tree growing on its property to extend over and onto the next lot where the plaintiff's home was located. We affirm the trial court's dismissal of the complaint.


While there is substantial authority to the contrary, which may indeed represent the majority rule, cases collected, 2 C.J.S. Adjoining Landowners § 53, n. 37 (1972), we agree with those decisions which hold that in view of the undoubted right of the landowner himself to cut off intruding roots or branches at the property line, 2 C.J.S. Adjoining Landowners § 52 (1972), [1] no such action may be maintained. Sterling v. Weinstein, 75 A.2d 144 (D.C.1950); Michalson v. Nutting, 275 Mass. 232, 175 N.E. 490 (1931); Norwood v. City of New York, 95 Misc.2d 55, 406 N.Y.S.2d 256, 258 (Civ.Ct.1978); Mead v. Vincent, 199 Okl. 508, 187 P.2d 994 (1947); Granberry v. Jones, 188 Tenn. 51, 216 S.W.2d 721 (1949); see Knepper v. Slovak, 31 Fla.Supp. 131 (15th Cir.Ct.1968). It seems to us that the recognition of an action of this type to redress a claimed wrong which might otherwise be obviated by the time-honored remedy of self-help would represent a wasteful and needless use of the judicial system. See Kirou v. Oceanside Plaza Condominium Association, Inc., 425 So.2d 650 (Fla.3d DCA 1983).


Affirmed.

J.Hazelbaker :

we agree with those decisions which hold that in view of the undoubted right of the landowner himself to cut off intruding roots or branches at the property line, 2 C.J.S. Adjoining Landowners § 52 (1972)

J.Hazelbaker :

So, Florida law is clear that you have a right to cut the branches, but you can't sue the owner of the tree to force them to do so.

J.Hazelbaker :

Here's another case that I can link to:

J.Hazelbaker :

http://www.rgllaw.us/FL_trees.pdf

J.Hazelbaker :

Please let me know what follow-up questions you have. If my above responses have been helpful, please click Accept so that I get credit for the time/effort. You may always restart the thread and ask follow-up questions at any time by clicking the “Reply” button at the bottom of the question/answer thread. You can access this thread later in your profile under the “My Questions” tab.


J.Hazelbaker, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience: Attorney and small business owner with 10 years experience in the general practice of law.
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Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 3 years ago.
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