#1 Question to LawCall

Oct 23, 2020 | Allen A. Ritchie

Allen's Answers


Every week we take your questions on TV through NBC 15 LawCall, calls to our office or through our website. What do people want to know? Is it how to get out of jail, how to get the money to get better after an accident, or perhaps how to fight their landlord? No.

The number one question is about their neighbor’s trees.

Really, I went to law school, passed the bar and represented people for decades and the question that will not go away is …. CAN I CUT THE BRANCHES FROM MY NEIGHBOR’S TREES THAT COME OVER MY YARD?

OK. Here are the two things you need to know (and proof I learned something in law school).

Number 1

In Alabama, you own what is above and below your land.

We use the doctrine of cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum et ad inferos, which is Latin for “To whomever the soil belongs, he owns also to the sky and to the depths.” Full disclosure, I had to cut and paste this.

Perhaps more interestingly, this also means if you own the land and you dig for gold and find it, you own it.

Number 2

Let me state Harding v. Bethesda, 551 So. 2d 299 (Ala. 1989). This is where the Alabama Supreme Court confirmed your right to cut what hangs over your property. Seriously, this went to the Supreme Court.

Now let me add that you cannot remove anything that does not extend over your property. So do not remove the entire tree.

In my years of practicing law, I have also learned something else. Talk to your neighbor before cutting anything. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of what you can do … but rather what you should do.

If you suffer a personal injury like an auto accident, slip and fall or on-the-job injury, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are working remotely mostly but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We are taking a fall break and will offer 5-minute segments for the rest of the year and a live call-in segment every Monday on NBC 15 at around lunchtime.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer