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Tree on property line: Tresspassing/self help?

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  • Tree on property line: Tresspassing/self help?

    Hello all,

    I have a property in Maryland where, according to a recent survey that I payed for, a 30" dia tree is growing on the property line. The majority of the tree is mostly (28") on my side, but there is 2" on my neighbor's side. I am trying to build a new fence and would like to take the tree down to do this- my neighbor tells me that he doesn't give me permission to remove his portion (the 2" sliver and the top portion thereof (~60' high tree). Do I have the right to self-help here? I think a tree man will be afraid to touch this- can I sign an agreement with the treeman to release them of any liability or is this not worth worrying about such nonsense?- I will probably have the tree cut down or topped and wait to get sued. Any advise is appreciated.

    The long story/History- my neighbor's dog kept coming over my chain link fence which is one of the reasons that we decided to replace the fence. We had a boundary survey done (as required) and discovered that he built his flowerbed (1'h, 5'w, 20'l) on our property less than 7 years ago (this was not shown on our location survey/title co). His various different stories coalesced into suggesting it was an accident and had been told that the fenceline was the property line (the fence was built in the path of least resistance around the trees) and originally said he asked permission from our previous owners (since recanted)- I have lived there 3 years. I tried very hard to negotiate a solution/remedy:I offered to help him move it/move it for him/sell him that portion/etc and or create a revocable agreement for him to leave it there until some time in the future- all to no avail. He basically wanted the garden to stay on my land -even asked me not to remove my fence so he could have more time to explore adverse possession claims against me. Needless to say, I had to remove my fence and all of his encroachments to clear a path for my new fence that was as close as possible to the property line. It was a very unfortunate situation, but it had to be done. He threatened to sue me for adverse possession, but since he/they are the fourth owners in 20years(chained), the fenceline is not on any property description/deed, and he has only had it for less than 7 years (MD=20years), its been over a month and I don't think he will find a lawyer for this.
    I can truthfully say my neighbor is now being spiteful, since he had offered to cut the tree down if he could keep my land. (PS, it was basically his nasty wife that was insisting that he defend "their" territory- we got along great before this nonsense. My neighbor's on the other side just moved there stuff.)

  • #2
    Hopefully you and the neighbor can work it out. If not, then you need to file an action in court, likely a declaratory action before the court, or the local body that hears permitting and land use cases (body to hear this matter may vary from community to community and could have many different names) and seek approval for the tree removal. Notice should be given to the neighbor if required by law to do so.


    • #3
      Adverse possession/boundary dispute

      Thanks- I am in the process of being served with a adverse possession/quiet title action, and need some answers to some basic questions. My property is in Maryland, I have lived there 3 years, my neighbor 7. The original owners of my property put up a chain link fence extending from the back of the house, coverinig most of the back yard and well within my property(1-5ft inside). The fence is allegedly more than 20 years old. To replace my fence, I was required to prove it was on my property so we got a boundary survey and discovered that our fence was inside our property line by 5 ft in the backside down to 1.5ft (a wedge shape side). My neighbor had built a 20ft long by 4ft wide +/- flower bed (less than 7years) in that area and refused to move it. I spent about two months trying to negotiate with them to resolve it to no avail. At first he said he got permission from our prior owners, than changed that tune to "that's where everyone thought was the boundary".
      After consulting with a real estate lawyer, I took my old fence down and put up my new one nearer the property line, I now possess the property in question.
      Some simple questions-what happens with property "discovered" by a new survey- who has more of a claim? If both parties thought that was the line, was he adversely possessing for 20 years?
      How do I defend against this action?
      Does he need to find ALL the previous owners (husband and wife) to chain the time?
      He is alleging to use a former occupant of our residence(a daughter of the owner) against us. She was never an owner, but she allegedly told him it was ok to put the planter in. Does she have merit?
      Does cutting the grass count as adverse possession?(ie, the balance of the fenced in yard did not have anything except grass on it)
      I noticed that one of the last paragraphs in our land deed states that the seller promises to sell it to us without encumberances, etc, and will warrant especially, etc - is the previous owner liable for allowing this?
      Do owner come out more often than adverse possessors?
      Can you recommend anyone in the Annapolis area who has experience defending against this?
      It is extremely difficult to find statutes and cases that can show which way this should go.
      Help please, thanks.


      • #4
        Please make your post a separate and independent post.