Palatine, IL asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan

Q: I put a tree in an alley way which is now condemned. My neighbor is claiming them now. Is there a way I can move them?

I planted them in the alley, it has since been condemned and the trees are now on the half that my neighbor gained by less than 2 feet. I have offered to buy the land and he refuses. Is there a way I can legally remove the trees? Or anything at all?

2 Lawyer Answers
Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris
  • Dexter, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: You probably mean that the alley was vacated.

A tree, once planted, becomes part of the land. It belongs to the landowner. That’s the simple answer, but there are possible exceptions. For example, rights to timber can be owned separately. I think that your neighbor owns the trees.

Kenneth V Zichi agrees with this answer

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: I agree with Mr Morris, but let's put your question in a different way:

I built a house on my neighbor's land and now he won't let me live there. How do I force him to let me?

I built a fence on my neighbor's land and he took it down, What can I do?

Do you see where this is leading?

If you undertake to put something permanent on the land, it matters that you do it on land YOU control and/or own.

If you didn't check, shame on you, but those are now your neighbor's trees and he can do with them whatever he wants so long as they stay on his land and don't fall onto yours. Surveys are a good thing if you have questions!

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