A resident in a building has placed and maintained a plant in our building's common courtyard. Can another resident of the same building legally pick off the fruit from this plant?

I am mostly interested in the following jurisdictions:

  • California, United States
  • Massachusetts, United States
  • 1
    Is it in the ground or in a pot?
    – mkennedy
    Aug 21, 2016 at 19:01
  • 1
    @mkennedy I am interested in both situations. Aug 21, 2016 at 20:23

1 Answer 1



The fruit of a tree belongs to the owner of the land it is planted on1. As this is common property it belongs to all the owners.

1. Or in some states, like California, the owner of the land above which the fruit literally hangs owns the fruit, but in this example, that wouldn't make a difference.

  • Thanks, I realized that my question was phrased ambiguously: I tried to improve it, from your explanation shall I infer that the short answer is "yes"? Aug 21, 2016 at 15:03
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    Assuming a lease, if one were to read the lease, it is highly likely that it states that anything permanently affixed to the real property is the property of the owner of the real property. This is quite common and standard. While there may not be a specific law, contract law usually applies in a cases such as this.
    – closetnoc
    Aug 21, 2016 at 16:41

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