The massive ice storm that recently devastated the Toronto area felled whole trees and large branches. This damage to the urban canopy knocked out electrical service to hundreds of thousands of people and caused untold property damage.
With the post-storm clean-up now underway and expected to last several weeks, condominium managers may need guidance dealing with trees that fell from neighbouring properties onto condominium common elements.
Ownership of a tree is usually clear-cut – trees belong to whoever owns the land on which the tree is situated. If, however, a tree’s trunk is growing on the boundary between adjoining lands, section 10(2) of the Forestry Act provides that the tree is the common property of both owners. But what is a trunk? Luckily, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision just a week before the ice storm clarifying that, for the purpose of the Forestry Act, the “trunk” is “that part of the tree from its point of growth away from its roots up to where it branches out to limbs and foliage.”