Landowners and Tree Liability


Landowners and Tree Liability

02-Jun-2005

Landowners can be liable for damage caused by healthy trees

Trees are a great form of adornment for one’s home. However, your neighbor may have a differing opinion about your trees. Healthy trees grow and may grow over the property line or prevent your neighbor from putting up a fence. This would not have been such a big deal under the old Tennessee law. Under the old Tennessee law, the courts held that the property owner could not be held liable for the results of their growing healthy trees. However, the Supreme Court of Tennessee has now held in Lane v. W.J. Curry & Sons (Tennessee Supreme Court 2003) that a landowner can be forced to trim or remove healthy trees that cause damage to the property of the landowner’s neighbor. In addition, the landowner can be held liable for that damage. The Courts have ultimately determined that living trees and plants are ordinarily not nuisances, but can become so when they cause actual harm or pose an imminent danger of actual harm to adjoining property.