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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12250
Experience:  JD, MBA
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My neighbor's huge tree is growing over my property and on

Customer Question

My neighbor's huge tree is growing over my property and on to my roof. He is now deceased with a family trust and there have been raccoons coming out from the attic under the eaves with rats and cats everywhere. It is now listed with the court for sale.
Anything that can be done to have the tree cut back, removed or get reimbursed for having it trimmed back.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.
I’m really sorry to inform you that you likely do not have recourse against your neighbor. I have copied relevant Florida case law below:
...the rule at common law and the majority rule in this country, which is followed in Florida, is that a possessor of land is not liable to persons outside the land for a nuisance resulting from trees and natural vegetation growing on the land. The adjoining property owner to such a nuisance, however, is privileged to trim back, at the adjoining owner's own expense, any encroaching tree roots or branches and other vegetation which has grown onto his property. The underlying rationale for this well-settled law is that:
"It is wiser to leave the individual to protect himself, if harm results to him from this exercise of another's right to use his property in a reasonable way, than to subject that other to the annoyance, and the public to the burden, of actions at law, which would be likely to be innumerable and, in many instances, purely vexatious."

The above is from the case: Gallo v. Heller, 512 So.2d 215, 12 Fla. L. Weekly 1765 (Fla. App. 3 Dist., 1987).
The bot***** *****ne is that you have the right to remove the tree branches that overhang into your yard yourself, but you cannot force your neighbor to do so, and you cannot force your neighbor to reimburse you for doing so.
That said, if the neighbor is negligent in some way, then you likely could hold him liable for any damage his negligence causes. For example, if the tree were ready to topple over at any time because it had died and the neighbor refused to do anything about it, then you could probably win a lawsuit against him for negligence if your property were damaged. Unfortunately, aside from that type of scenario, you likely have no recourse against your neighbor.
I am truly sorry that my answer may be bad news for you, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer.

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