SECTION 1. Section 7 of chapter 242 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
When the roots or branches of a tree protrude or encroach onto abutting property, creating a nuisance or causing property damage thereto, an abutting property owner who acts reasonably in cutting, pruning or trimming the roots or branches to abate the nuisance or prevent damage shall not be liable for monetary damages to the tree owner. A tree that straddles a property boundary at its trunk shall be presumed to be jointly owned by the fee simple owners of the properties on which the trunk is located, and said owners shall act reasonably with one another in the cutting, pruning and trimming of the tree and its parts. There shall be a presumption that an abutting property owner or a co-owner of a tree is not acting reasonably in the cutting of the roots and branches of a tree if said cutting is caused by, or likely to be caused by, excavation on the abutting property within the minimum front, side or rear yards set forth in the zoning ordinances or by-laws of the municipality where the tree is located, whether said ordinances or by-laws are waived or not, and said cutting has, or likely will, injure or destroy the tree. The Superior Court and the Land Court for the county in which the damage to the tree is occurring, or is about to occur, may, upon a civil action in which equitable or declaratory relief is sought, determine whether such damage is occurring or is about to occur, and may, before the final determination in the action, restrain the person causing or about to cause
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