They discovered tree roots as the culprit. Please feel free to contact our office at (626) 578-0708 or through our website at www.No-Probate.com. For a minor nuisance or inconvenience, the law will expect the neighbor to trim bothersome branches. The CC&Rs may dictate specifications and rules regarding trees within the community. In the 1994 case of Booska v. Patel, a California appellate court held that a neighbor does not have the absolute right to cut encroaching roots and branches so that they end at his or her property line. Background. Contact your homeowners’ association office to obtain a copy. Complaints to the adjacent property owner have resulted in the tree being cut down, but no removal of tree stump or tree roots causing the damage. In California, any claim up to $10,000 can be brought to small claims court. Keep the tone respectful and emphasize your plan to keep the tree safe and healthy, while notifying the owner how the tree’s branches or roots have impacted your property. Should the trimming be extensive, your neighbor may want to utilize a tree service and may pay for the cost entirely. What are my legal remedies? The first step to take should a tree owner refuse to your suggestion of trimming or maintenance of the tree, is to write a letter setting out your intentions. See the jurisdictions in which our lawyers are licensed, admitted, or otherwise authorized to practice. If necessary, you can sue to enforce your rights. An appraiser can help you assess the difference in value. If the tree belongs to your neighbor, you should still proceed with caution. Which form when adding spouse to Grant Deed I own my home as ''sole and separate... More Real Estate and Real Property questions and answers in California. Once your tree has been injured or killed by a neighbor’s construction damage, you do have legal options. Even the best of neighbors may run into tension when faced with issues regarding trees. Removing the tree roots up to the boundary line is a reasonable course of action. Use … If a tree causes damage to a neighboring property, the person who owns the tree may be liable if the party who suffered the damage can prove negligence on behalf of the property … In that case, a tall pine tree’s roots were extending into a neighbor’s yard and allegedly causing harm to the neighbor’s property. Obviously, tree roots cause property damages. Patel, Patel (the neighbor) hired a contractor to remove the roots from the large Monterey pine his neighbor (Booska) owned. Trimming may only occur up to the boundary line between properties. Last week my neighbor discovered damage to her sewer line. In the opposite case—a tree from your yard causes damage to the property next door—it’s up to your neighbor to put in a claim with his or her insurer. Hence, it is best to secure legal … I know in California, I cannot cut the roots on my side, or I will be liable if the tree falls on his property and causes any damage In California, trees belong exclusively to the owner of land where the trunk of the tree is located, even if the tree’s roots or branches extend into another person’s property. Question: My backyard contains a big, beautiful shade tree. Johnson purchased the house about six years ago and shortly afterward became concerned about the root structure of his neighbour's giant tree. We are a San Diego based real estate law firm. Property deeds will reflect the CC&Rs. One day the neighbor went out and cut all of the roots back to the property line and to a depth of 3 feet. As the tree owner, there is a duty to ensure that trees are adequately trimmed for purposes of reducing injury, property damage, or death. In this case, you must prove the following: Should your property suffer harm as a result of an encroaching tree, you may be entitled to compensation for costs for repairs and or clean up. The bids I've received to fix this problem are in the $15,000.00 range. This is known as a demand letter. Patel claimed the roots had started to damage concrete around his property. However, should the relationship become less than amicable, consulting an attorney to know your rights and remedies may help you avoid costly litigation down the road. It’s likely he made the same assertion to the previous owner who apparently didn’t think to divulge it to you under the disclosure portion on the sales contract, possibly because he wanted to hide the fact or because it had little or no merit. Tree encroachment onto neighboring property. Surprisingly, the answer is “No.” In the 1994 case of Booska v. Patel, a California appellate court held that a neighbor does not have the absolute right to cut encroaching roots and branches so that they end at his or her property line. Are you breaking the law by breaking the branches? “Trees on property lines are a common complaint between neighbors, but not so much at the courthouse,” says Cleve Clinton, partner at Gray Reed, Attorneys and Counselors, based in Dallas and Houston. We sent a certified letter letting the owner know about the problem. California: Tree roots from a neighboring tree have damaged a block wall, gate and concrete at my moms house. The branches or roots are over or under your property. Years ago, a previous owner gave the neighbors permission to run the drain pipe on his (my) land. If you happen to live in a planned community or subdivision, residents may very well be bound by certain restrictions in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Among the remedies are cutting the roots at the property line; there is a caveat that this must be done in a "non-negligent manner," which the court didn't further define, but probably would include avoiding killing the trees or causing them to be in danger of toppling in a high wind. You can ask for me, Scott, but the attorney with the expertise in this area is Anthony Grossman. If the entire trunk rests on one side of the property line, that neighbor has ownership regardless if branches, roots, foliage or any other portion of the tree hangs over the property line. Equity Legal LLP is the California attorney responsible for this advertisement. The injured party may start a civil action or “abate the nuisance” themselves. My Neighbor's Trees Are Killing My Lawn. I know in California, I cannot cut the roots on my side, or I will be liable if the tree falls on his property and causes any damage Mediation can help keep costs down and avoid a lengthy lawsuit. More on Homeowners Insurance Our office has handled similar cases in the past and the owner of the tree is liable for the damage caused by its roots or other out-growths. It is his, and his complaint seems suspiciously reinforced by the reputation that precedes him. At Equity Legal LLP, our aim is to offer you unparalleled legal advice all under one roof. >> We are open during COVID-19. Keep in mind, many small claims judges will require proof of a demand letter before allowing the case. Where the roots of a tree causes damage to a neighbouring property the owner of the tree can be liable, under the law of nuisance, for such damage. In most situations, a neighbor who is bothered or worried by encroaching branches or roots of a healthy tree won't be able to successfully sue the tree … I own a 3.5 story tree that is within 15 feet of the sewer line. tree. First, you will need to determine whether the tree is on city property. There are guidelines in place that will limit the amount of trimming you may perform on a neighboring tree. Should you be seeking compensation for costs involved in trimming the tree, this should be brought to small claims court. Mother changing property to son & spouse after father has passed How does my... Can a spouse change/remove the other spouse from title? If the invading roots or branches cause serious harm to the neighbor's property or threaten to do so, the neighbor may sue. If the tree is causing actual damage such as roots uplifting a deck or branches pushing down a fence, the owner can be held liable for “nuisance”, that is allowing his use of his property to damage the property of another. Sincerely, GK, Re: Neighbors tree roots causing damage by uplifting driveway. We are conveniently located in downtown on the 33rd floor of Symphony Towers. If necessary, you can sue to enforce your rights. Regarding “Neighbor Must Prove Tree-Root Damage” (by Robert J. Bruss, Sept. 10), when branches of a tree overhang or its roots come on to property, the owner may do any of the following: Find out what to do if you have a California Tree issue. This is not legal advice. Learn more about this in the section on subrogation below. Patel claimed the roots had started to damage concrete around his property. If you are looking for a court to order a tree owner to trim back a tree, you will likely have to go the route of trial court, which will likely involve the use of an attorney. To remove the tree, both property owners must consent. Should you notice nearby utility use, contact the appropriate utility company to see if they may trim back any invading branches or roots. My communications are being ignored. Last week my neighbor discovered damage to her sewer line. Compensation for potential legal violations, and any results obtained, depends upon the specific factual and legal circumstances of each case. Second opinion] Hello. 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