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KimberlyLaw, Attorney and Real Estate Broker
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4218
Experience:  13 years of experience in real estate law: Foreclosures, Landlord-Tenant, Condo/Coop, Property Law, Deeds, Purchases/Sales, Estates.
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I would like to put a lien on the house adjoining my back yard.

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I would like to put a lien on the house adjoining my back yard. There is a sissoo tree in their back yard which has sent roots under our common wall and has done considerable damage to the wall besides threatening my pool and patio. I have had the roots in my yard removed once about 9 months ago, but because the tree still hasn't been removed, there are now roots back in my yard and I will have to remove them again. Meantime the owner has moved and this week there were real estate agents looking at the house. If I could put a lien on the house, I could ask for my costs to be reimbursed, and the wall could be removed and rebuilt, plus asking for attorney fees. Is this plausible?
Hello, I am happy to assist you today.

The answer is yes, and no. Let me explain.

If you have a legal claim against your neighbor, which it sounds like you do, you can take them to court and get a judgment against them. Once you get that judgment, if they refuse to pay, then you become a creditor and you can file a lien against their property. That takes an additional court proceeding and we are talking about a lot of time and money spent.

What you need to do instead of focusing on a lien, is file a court action against your neighbor immediately, and file what's called a "lis pendens" on the property, which gets filed in the registry of deeds in the county where they property is lcoated. The lis pendens will put the world on notice that there is litigation ongoing regarding the property and the property will not be able to be sold or otherwise transferred until that lis pendens is removed.

This is a great move because if they are really thinking about selling, then they can't do it with this litigation ongoing. So this really encourages them to settle the issue with them.

I would request that the tree be removed entirely, since the roots keep growing back. I would also request damages for any harm caused to your house, including the work you did to remove the roots previously.

If you don't want to pay for a lawyer, you could file in small claims court if your damages are below the level required in your particular court - typcially 5k.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Please do not rank my answer until we finish discussing.


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KimberlyLaw and 5 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you recommend a lawyer in my area (southeast Chandler) who could handle this procedure?

I don't know anyone personally, but you can do a search on or in your area. Look for a real estate litigation attorney. You should call around to a few different people to get a feeling for their experience with this type of matter, and also to get quotes for legal services.

I am a big fan of flat rates, although I know with litigation many attorneys don't want to do that. Maybe you could break down the process in stages with fees for the stages. For example. Preparing and filing the complaint - one fixed fee. Filing a motion - another fixed fee. Etc. That should protect you from spending more money than you expect.

Good luck and thanks for the positive rating!