Saint Petersburg, FL asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New Hampshire

Q: Who owns trees in New Hampshire? Owner of the land they grow on, or owner of easement over that land, ie: condo unit?

Our limited common area is an airspace unit, ie: right to exclusive use of our limited common area (unit) ABOVE the land. The land under each limited common area is "owned in common by all unit owners" just as is the common area land. So who is responsible for the cost of removal of trees, especially dangerous ones? The unit owner or the condo association (all owners)?

NH Municipal Association says owner of the land owns the trees. Where is this supported by NH RSAs?

Excerpt: "We start by determining who owns the tree in question. Because a tree is a product of the soil, the tree is owned by the owner of the land where it is rooted. This responsibility may be modified somewhat if the tree is located on soil subject to an "easement," that is a right held by someone else to use that land. If a person has an easement for vehicular access over another person's land, that easement includes the right to maintain..."

1 Lawyer Answer
Israel Piedra
Israel Piedra
  • Nashua, NH
  • Licensed in New Hampshire

A: This is an interesting question, but probably not one where you will find a definitive answer. In particular, if the tree is within the airspace and poses a danger, property ownership of the tree may not be the sole determining factor for who is responsible for it. Any answer would probably come from the case law, not statute, and there may not even be a definitive answer.

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