Mon | Dec 18, 2017

A Matter of Land | Those annoying trees from next door!

Published:Sunday | September 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
If the breadfruit tree hangs into your property it is an encroachment and you can do what you want with the fruits.
Craig Francis
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Good day, readers. Today I will continue to respond one of the many questions that I have received in recent weeks.

Good day Mr Francis,

What options do I have to deal with a neighbour's tree which is causing much nuisance and annoyance?

Apart from the leaves and fruit falling off of the tree (actually two trees, one ackee and a breadfruit) into my yard, which I then have to rake up every day, they have grown so tall that they are now leaning over the dividing fence and starting to lean on my water tank.

Over the years, my requests to him to have the trees trimmed, as they pose a danger to my property, have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, the last time the branches which overhang my property were trimmed, I had to pay a man to go over there to do it.

This neighbour has been a perennial problem, as on two occasions when I raised the matter of building a proper fence between us, he told me point blank that he was only responsible for the fence on his left side when facing the road.

What are my options for dealing with this?

Thanks for your advice.

Regards

D.W.

Good day D.W.,

I thank you for not just reading this column but also for taking the time to write us concerning your issues.

This is a very common problem for many persons who often feel powerless and frustrated at this nuisance of trees that they don't own hanging over on to their properties and also littering it with leaves and spoilt fruit.

Trees that hang over on to your property are encroaching on your property and you are allowed to do with them what you want.

 

ENCROACHMENT

 

Being an encroachment, you can pick fruit from same or you can cut the overhanging portions from your property. However, for harmony between you and your neighbour, I suggest it be discussed first. If he refuses to do anything about it as you seem to suggest, you can undertake the activity yourself.

I noticed that you have stated that the trees have grown really tall. This may be the answer to your questions of getting the trees trimmed and having him foot the bill.

Most titles have a restrictive covenant that governs how tall trees can grow on your property.

If your title has this restrictive covenant, you can involve your local authority and this body will intervene in the matter to have him cut the tree. You may also want to involve the Jamaica Public Service Company if the trees are near any of their power lines.

So you do have redress to this problem that doesn't involve you doing it yourself and at a cost to you.

To approach the municipal council, however, may require that you carry a surveyors report to actually confirm that there is a breach of the restrictive covenant where the tree heights are concerned.

That's all we have time for this week, I will deal with the next part of your question next week. I hope this part of your problem will be dealt with in a manner satisfactory to you.

Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or Precision Surveying Services