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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102597
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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Our tree roots grew into a neighbors yard and lifted up a

Customer Question

Our tree roots grew into a neighbors yard and lifted up a part of their patio. We cut our tree, roots , and dug a ditch to prevent further spread. They are asking us to cut the roots on their property and fix the cement?
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: California
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No, they came to us a few months ago and asked us to take of the roots on our property and we did. We bought the home a year ago, but of course the roots have grown over many years.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: They are "black mailing" us to fix their property before signing off on a landscape project for our backyard. The roots have been there for years and they were welcome to cut them on their property at any time
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and this is one of these times.

This is actually a very textbook case. In California, the Court gives them the right to seek reasonable cost of cutting back vegetation that crosses unto their property:

"It seems to be settled law that overhanging branches are a nuisance, and it must follow that invading roots are. The person intruded on by branches may cut them off; it must be true that one may cut off invading roots; it must be true that he who is injured by encroaching roots from his neighbor's tree can recover damages sustained from them. The right of action seems clear." Crance v. Hems, 17 Cal. App. 2d 450 - Cal: Court of Appeal, 4th Appellate Dist. 1936 (internal citations omitted).

Although not very ethical, it is quite legal for them to refuse to agree to the landscaping project (if it their choice whether to agree or not to) unless someone in your situation reimburses them for the damage your tree has caused on their property.

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