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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117359
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I have a lly and only slightly developed property line

Customer Question

I have a hilly and only slightly developed property line between myself and my next door neighbor. For decades, I have knowingly allowed that neighbor to violate the property line by as much as 3 or 4 feet with vegetation and even some hardscape. Our lots are quite large and the degree of which items cross the actual property line is insignificant. We have never discussed this but it has been going on with no objection for as long as I have lived in the property, now almost 28 years.
Said neighbor has planted several small trees that may be in violation of local CC&Rs with respect to height. These trees have been in place for years. Another neighbor across the street has objection to the trees as they slightly obstruct a portion of their view.
The complaining neighbor has obtained a survey determining that these trees are indeed on my property and demand that I cut or remove them. I do not necessarily believe that I can cut said trees without authorization from the neighbor that planted them. They are actually not my property.
Who is responsible for the trees? Me because they happen to be technically be on my property, or my neighbor because they planted and maintained them for years, if not decades.
Thank You
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that unless you can prove she has not only occupied your property without your consent, but she has also paid the property taxes for that entire time on the property she has occupied, the land is your property and you are legally responsible for anything on your property and as such you are legally responsible for the trees and violation of any CC&R.
Now, with that being said, because she planted them on your property and they are her trees, while you are liable to the HOA for violation of the CC&R and to cut the trees to conform, your neighbor is liable to you for planting these trees on your land and not maintaining them and you can seek to force her to pay the costs of trimming the trees if you choose, but you absolutely have the right to trim the trees on your land.

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