Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight
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I am very sorry for your situation. This is commonly known as the "trespassing tree" problem and is a standard in almost every tort (wrongful act) class in law school.
As such, this is a more complex situation of a very basic problem - what to do is one's neighbor crosses the property line into yours with their vegetation
California's Courts have weighed in on the issue as well in numerous opinions. One that sets the doctrine (arguably) is below:
"The trial court followed the defendant's contention that an action would not lie for the reason that plaintiff had the right personally to cut off the offending roots. The reviewing court, however, pointed out that the evidence showed that the roots were noxious because they ruined the plaintiff's soil and under the authority of section 3479, Civil Code, defining a nuisance, and section 731, Code of Civil Procedure, permitting a party to bring an action to abate a private nuisance, ordered the trial court to grant an injunction and damages. Grandona v. Lovdal, 70 Cal. 161 [11 P. 623]
, held that a complaint alleging that an encroaching tree constituted a nuisance and was causing damage, stated a cause of action in a private action for the abatement of the encroachment, saying (p. 162): 'Trees whose branches extend over the land of another are not nuisances, except to the extent to which the branches overhang the adjoining land. To that extent they are nuisances, and the person over whose land they extend may cut them off or have his action for damages, and an abatement of the nuisance against the owner or occupant of the land on which they grow, but he may not cut down the tree, neither can he cut the branches thereof beyond the extent to which they overhang his soil.' (Wood on Nuisances, sec. 112, citing Commonwealth v. Blaisdell, 107 Mass. 234; Commonwealth v. McDonald, 16 Serg. & R. 390. Bonde v. Bishop, 112 Cal. App. 2d 1 - Cal: Court of Appeal 1952.So what options does one have?
(a) One has the right to either use self-help and REMOVE any trespass on one's property AND sue for reasonable costs on doing so if a contractor was used;
(b) one may sue for trespass/nuisance and get the Court's prior permission to do so, and then get the cost and permission to remove the offending vegetation in judgment.
(In my answer, vegetation means both roots, branches, leaves, and the like.)
Very often, a letter threatening
to sue and/or act with self-help will have the other party capitulate and agree to cut the offending vegetation to avoid litigation/liability. Let me know if you need an example of such a letter.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.
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