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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6769
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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Fifteen years ago (approx.) a contractor built a new

Customer Question

Fifteen years ago (approx.) a contractor built a new subdivision behind our property. He built a "consideration" fence across the back of our property & up part of one side where the subdivision property lines were surveyed. We were then responsible for completing the fence on the other 2 & 2/3rds sides, plus all the gates that we needed.
We have two families whose properties adjoin ours. One of them has been driving us nuts because he claims his daughter won't sleep in her bedroom because she doesn't like the branches of one of our oak trees being too close to their house. His latest excuse is that the leaves from that tree are causing a backup in their basement stairwell & flooding results. (the basement stairwell is not even on that side of the house). The tree is a very healthy & very large beautiful oak tree, & while we really don't want branches cut that will make the tree lop-sided, we have told him that if he insists on trimming it, he will have to pay all the expenses, have all the wood hauled away, & be liable for any damages to our property. He doesn't want to pay for it, this is the third time he has bugged us about it.
Now, the two neighbors have gotten together & told us that the fence is 2 feet onto their property line & they want to move it. We are talking about 100' of 6' privacy fence, plus about 60' of a 4' privacy fence that protects the line of Leyland Cypress trees that we planted as a sound & privacy buffer. It will disturb the roots & health of those Leyland Cypress, plus all the other trees that are along that area.
My husband & I think that this latest plan is just another way of trying to get the tree problem taken care of. But we need to know what our rights are because we have dogs & we must have the fence across the back.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 3 months ago.

The issue of a tree hanging over the neighbors property is pretty much the same legally in most states. The neighbor can trim the branches of your tree that hang over his property. You have no duty to do so, and in fact if you did you would be trespassing on his property. The fence line is a different question, and involves different legal issues. First legal issue is the accuracy of the survey that was done by the developer initially, versus any subsequent survey that's been done by the neighbor. If you are shown one that supports the neighbors current claim, then you should immediately take this matter up with your title insurance company, and perhaps your own real estate lawyer to see where you stand. Until that occurs however there is nothing that you need to do. Another legal issue that may be involved is called adverse possession, but I'll leave that to your own attorney to explain if you ever get to that point.

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