• Home Home

Homeowner upset after finding their trees chopped down by neighbor without notice: 'Lawyer up'

"Whoever did it is about to owe you a lot of money."

"Whoever did it is about to owe you a lot of money."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Minnesota resident was upset to discover that three large trees had been chopped down on their property — seemingly by a company hired by their neighbors.

They posted a photo showing the three trees and the resulting stumps to the subreddit r/TreeLaw, asking for advice. "[The neighbors] did not speak to me first and I still haven't talked to them yet. They hired a service … and I caught them after the damage was done. Does anyone know … the best course of action?" 

"Whoever did it is about to owe you a lot of money."
Photo Credit: Reddit

Redditors were quick to jump in with advice. "Ask who authorized to have trees cut on your property, because you didn't," one person wrote. "And then lawyer up - Whoever did it is about to owe you a LOT of money."

"[It seems] your neighbor just bought you 3 new trees. … Do not let this slide. You deserve compensation or replacement. … Research your rights," advised another.

It's not the first example of a neighbor cutting down trees on adjacent properties — and facing hefty fines for it. Tree owners also face threats from HOAs and property managers who decide trees are visually unappealing. 

Fortunately, there are ways to fight back. One person pointed out a law that protects landowners in situations like this. "I learned from an arborist in Missouri that our 'timber trespass' law would entitle the victim to TRIPLE the appraised value of the tree," they commented

Indeed, timber trespass laws exist around the country to prevent the unlawful destruction of trees. In Minnesota, where this incident occurred, the laws state that "whoever shall … destroy any wood, timber … or other personal property of another person, without lawful authority, shall be liable to the owner thereof for [triple] the amount of damages assessed therefor in an action to recover such damages."  

However, some states take it one step further, making it a crime to damage a tree intentionally. And even if you live in a state without these protections, there are still options for compensation. "A prosecutor could rely on general criminal statutes; such as those related to theft or property damage; to bring a criminal prosecution for intentionally harming a tree," reported Nolo Law.

"This isn't the first lot line discussion," the poster wrote about their neighbors. "And I want to make a statement even if it costs me money. I want them to stop disrespecting us."

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider