New 2019 Florida Law on Residential Property Tree Removal

Invasive Tree near house roof

In June 2019, Governor DeSantis signed Florida House Bill 1159 into law expanding residential private property owner’s rights for the removal of trees on their land. This law was meant to stop local governments from enforcing permits, stop work orders, fines and remediation on owner’s who need to remove trees on their property which present a danger to persons or property.

Florida Statue 163.045 states:

s. 163.045 Tree pruning, trimming, or removal on residential property.—

(1) A local government may not require a notice, application, approval, permit, fee, or mitigation for the pruning, trimming, or removal of a tree on residential property if the property owner obtains documentation from an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture or a Florida licensed landscape architect that the tree presents a danger to persons or property.

(2) A local government may not require a property owner to replant a tree that was pruned, trimmed, or removed in accordance with this section.

(3) This section does not apply to the exercise of specifically delegated authority for mangrove protection pursuant to ss. 403.9321–403.9333.

This is a much needed action by the state. Many homes have oak trees with roots that can cause damage to home foundations, pools, decking and neighboring property. Condominium and Homeowner Associations also appear to be protected by the statute.

There are reports of local governments ignoring this new state law. If you have received a stop work order from your city or county, direct them to the State of Florida statute above. If that doesn’t work, you may need to have your attorney send the city manager a letter.

For further reading, the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council maintains a list of invasive plants and updates it every two years.