Real Estate Law

Have real estate law questions? Ask a real estate lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I own a home in NJ that is surrounded by acres on most

Customer Question
Hi...I own a home in...
Hi...I own a home in NJ that is surrounded by green acres on most sides. A very large home is being built behind my house. It appeared they were building on the green acres that separated our properties. After they removed all the trees in this area and we lost our privacy, I began noticing runoff into my backyard from the tree removal. I went to the building department to find out what recourse I had and was told that the piece of land they removed the trees on is not green acres, but a "gore", which the building department defined as "an area of questionable ownership and that there are no laws saying they can't remove trees". That answer seemed very vague to me and I was told by the zoning department that there's probably not much I can do. I asked what other people do when they find themselves in my position and again, they were not very helpful and said I should ask the owners to plant some trees. I have done several searches on the internet, and can't find any detailed info on the subject.
I would like to know what the law actually is on the issue of gores in situations such as this before I approach my new neighbors, who aren't anywhere to be found. The home has been under construction for two years and there are no signs of life other than contractors.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Real Estate Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Answered in 40 minutes by:
2/26/2016
Real Estate Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: JA Mentor
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The law of private nuisance says that a property owner has an obligation NOT to interfere with his neighbor's use and enjoyment of his property. So, if removing the tress is causing runoff across your property, you can require them to fix that problem, regardless of who owns the property in the middle. They're not allowed to improve their own property at your expense. In addition to fixing the problem, if you can show that your property has been damaged or the value has been reduced, they can be required to pay to restore your property or compensate you for the lost value.

The term "gore" doesn't appear anywhere in the NJ state statutes in this context (there is one statute that talks about the Highlands region). The fact that the area where they removed the trees is "of questionable ownership" means that you'd need a judge to look at all the evidence and figure out who owns it. That's going to require pulling property records, to start, and you may need to have a survey done. It's possible that the land in question doesn't belong to either of you (in which case, it likely belongs to the city/county). But, legally, no matter who owns the property, they can't create a situation that increases runoff to your property. They have to pay to fix the private nuisance they caused.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thanks Lucy. I am somewhat confused by your response regarding gores. I found a survey that was done on my property in 2012 and indeed that parcel I am asking about is referred to as "Lot 94 - Gore per F - Map", so I would guess it is a somewhat common term here in Monmouth County because the engineers report accompanying the 2012 Survey make no mention of the gore area. I understand that I have recourse for the runoff, but it could be hard to prove, even though it is very logical that is what happens when you remove trees, that were on an area "uphill" from my property, we are "downhill" from the gore. I am also very distressed because the area that has been cleared, claimed our privacy at the swimming pool and our backyard in general. The new property owners now have a clear birds eye view of what used to be a private swimming area. The zoning officer said that there were no laws stopping anyone in town from removing trees. That didn't seem right, so I looked it up when I got home and his statement is inconsistent with the local statute on tree removal, which clearly states, regarding the initial construction of a development (which is anything greater than 1 acre), and not to individual landowners once a certificate of occupancy is issued, that no trees with a DBH of 10" shall be removed, and if they were, then two trees must be replanted for every one tree of 10" DBH that was removed. So why on earth would the zoning officer say that to me? I have a call into him and am awaiting his response. So yes, we have a runoff issue, but they could claim when the construction is done, grading will be done to improve that situation. However, that does nothing to help us regain our privacy, our lovely view of trees and most likely my property value, now that we have a view of their garage and they have a very clear view of us.
Real Estate Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 2 years ago

Your testimony that the runoff increased when the trees were removed is proof. If you can get pictures of the area, that will help, especially if you can find old pictures of what it looked like before. And you would have the option of bringing in an expert who could testify as to what happens when trees are removed in this situation. To prove a civil case, you just need to present enough facts for the judge to conclude that, more likely than not, the other party has caused your injury. It's a pretty low standard, compared to what you see on TV in criminal cases.

To regain your privacy, you'll have to prove who owns the middle strip of land. Part of the problem is, if it's not you, you don't have standing to object to the trees being removed - even if the neighbor doesn't own the strip of land, either. You'd need something to establish that you thought you purchased that land with your property. But the NJ statutes don't say anything about gore ownership. You may want to look at the ordinances specific to your area to see if they have anything useful. I found the NJ local ordinances broken down by area, but for some reason, Monmouth County's codes are further broken down into smaller areas. If not, you may need a local attorney who can really dig into the case law. That's the type of work that can take several hours, so it's unfortunately beyond the scope of this site. You also would have the option of planting new trees (although I realize that full grown trees would be expensive) or building a wall between the properties.

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a real estate lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
32,264 Satisfied Customers
Experience: JA Mentor

Lucy, Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Barrister

Barrister

Lawyer

11,963 satisfied customers

17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Lawyer

8,255 satisfied customers

Experienced lawyer

Ray

Ray

Lawyer

8,104 satisfied customers

Texas Attorney for 30 years dealing in real estate

LawTalk

LawTalk

Attorney

6,208 satisfied customers

I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.

Dimitry Esquire

Dimitry Esquire

Attorney

5,526 satisfied customers

JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

4,998 satisfied customers

Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.

P. Simmons

P. Simmons

Lawyer

3,540 satisfied customers

12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Real Estate Law Questions
I have a shared driveway. The survey shows that my neighbor
Hi. I have a shared driveway. The survey shows that my neighbor and I both have 1/2 of the driveway. According to the deed, it is an easement. I have an issue with their children playing in the drivew… read more
DamienJD
DamienJD
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4,857 satisfied customers
What is the definition "workmanlike" mean in a construction
What is the definition "workmanlike" mean in a construction and repair contract? … read more
Robert L
Robert L
Juris Doctor
89 satisfied customers
A couple of questions concerning a construction contract in
A couple of questions concerning a construction contract in South Carolina. I have a fixed bid contract with a GC building a home for us. I specified exterior materials that doesn't require any painti… read more
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman
Attorney
J.D.
2,476 satisfied customers
I had a survey done to find my neighbors fence on my
I had a survey done to find my neighbors fence on my property. I notified her and eventually after she refused to talk to me st all took about 40 percent of the fence down. She has lawyer threatening … read more
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty
Doctoral Degree
59 satisfied customers
Im interested in construction lawer advice. Florida. Nothing
Nothing have been done yet, we are in the process of building our home with production building company. Their contract protects builder from any responsibility. We are not even aloud on construction site. But we know with a lot of rain and no roof shingles to protect interior, there probably extensive water damage and mold problems will arise. Im just trying to see if there any way i can protect my family from being in the house with mold and water damage. … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
8,104 satisfied customers
We had our land surveyed. Our neighbor has planted trees on
we had our land surveyed. Our neighbor has planted trees on our land and built apart of a building on our a joining neighbors back corner. He also bought it no knowing that part of his fenced, landsca… read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
8,104 satisfied customers
I'm buying a house. The seller offers a plat survey with a
I'm buying a house. The seller offers a plat survey with a black seal only. The seller cannot locate the original with an embossed seal. Would my buying be legal with plat survey copy with black seal … read more
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor
Doctoral Degree
8,068 satisfied customers
I have just had a survey and found out my neighbor is over
I have just had a survey and found out my neighbor is over the property line quit a bit. His driveway and all the way up the property to his new shed which is 17' from the line, but also he built a la… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
11,963 satisfied customers
Neighbor built house without surveyed. He is only 13 feet
Neighbor built house without surveyed. He is only 13 feet from property line. Suppose to be 20 feet. Is he illegal? … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
12,279 satisfied customers
A lot was sold, next door to my mother. The survey shortens
A lot was sold, next door to my mother. The survey shortens my mother's property by 4-5 feet, per documents she has. The surveying company says they are correct, however, the 66' of frontage has been … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
8,104 satisfied customers
My neighbor wants to replace a shared wall just for
Hi, my neighbor wants to replace a shared wall just for aesthetics because he's rebuilding his house. When I refused to pay for this wall and also refused to sign off on the new design which changes t… read more
Lori
Lori
Juris Doctor
1,589 satisfied customers
I need atty to sue nuisance neighbor. city has not enforced
i need atty to sue nuisance neighbor. city has not enforced code violations against neighbor for 6 years. neighbor has trashed property, hobos living in cars, no electricity or bathroom for bums livin… read more
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor
Doctoral Degree
8,068 satisfied customers
Contractors working for my next door neighbor removed old
Contractors working for my next door neighbor removed old sheds from his property, then dumped rotten floors on my property . I called neighbor asking him to contact contractors to get debris removed … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
12,279 satisfied customers
I signed a construction loan with Brickstreet construction
I signed a construction loan with Brickstreet construction back in 2016. The contract stated that house would be complete approx. 6 month from permit. Well is be almost a year. Can I get out of my con… read more
DamienJD
DamienJD
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4,857 satisfied customers
I have a neighbor who had a new survey done. According to
Hi Pearl, I have a neighbor who had a new survey done . According to the new boundary, it created a line that crosses over my driveway. by 15' .on an acute triangular sliver that reduces down to nothi… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
11,963 satisfied customers
Neighbor recently did survey and found my fence is 70 feet
Neighbor recently did survey and found my fence is 70 feet on their property. What is requirement for having me move my fence? Fence has been in same place for 50 years. … read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
My property was surveyed and found that neighbors driveway
My property was surveyed and found that neighbors driveway in partly on our property. Should anything be done? … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
8,104 satisfied customers
My neighbor pulled up the survey stakes and says the
My neighbor pulled up the survey stakes and says the property is hers now. We are a platted neighborhood and she says its her property based on Adverse Possession. … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
12,279 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x