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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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Does dying grass and plants on my property caused by the

Customer Question

Does dying grass and plants on my property caused by the neighbors trees constitute nuisance?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: GA
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: not yet, I spoke with the neighbor and asked them to initiate action but they have not responded yet
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not only are the branches and roots encroaching my property, the ever increasing hight of the trees is blocking more and more light causing more and more damage to my lawn
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 9 days ago.

I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs. Thank you for your patience as I review the question. I will post my response shortly.

Expert:  Loren replied 9 days ago.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Unfortunately, Georgia courts do not recognize a nuisance or trespass action for damage from tree branches, roots or other natural events of plants and trees.

Your legal remedy is self-help. In other words, the common law rules allow you to trim encroaching branches and tree roots back to the property line. You are not allowed to trespass to do the cutting and you should take reasonable precaution not to kill the tree.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
The following is what is posted on your website, so what you are telling me is that what is posted is false then?Real Estate Lawyer's response 16 Oct 2010
Hello,Georgia law does not impose a general duty on a landowner to inspect trees for potential problems. Whether the owner of a tree is liable for any damage depends solely on whether the landowner had prior notice that a particular tree constituted a danger. Under general principles of property law in GA, if the roots of the tree are encroaching on your property, this would be considered a trespass and you could file suit for "private nuisance" and be able to recover any damages and get injunctive action to force him to remove the tree or at least the roots..The encroachment of a tree on the land of an adjoining landowner causing damage could be held to be a nuisance and result in damages against the landowner on which the tree was located. A landowner is generally held to the duty of common prudence in maintaining trees on his or her property in such a way as to prevent injury to his or her neighbor's property..Encroaching trees and plants may be regarded as a nuisance when they cause actual harm or pose an imminent danger of actual harm to adjoining property. In such a case, the owner of the tree may be held responsible for harm caused by it, and may also be required to cut back the encroaching branches or roots, assuming the encroaching vegetation constitutes a nuisance..In a situation like this, if you contact a local attorney and have him send a "cease and desist" letter to the neighbor stating that he must either remove the tree or roots or you will file suit, that may be enough to "encourage" the wife to agree to the removal. This will serve to put him on notice of the damage it is causing and will support any private nuisance claim if he does not act...thanksLawpro
Expert:  Loren replied 9 days ago.

LawPro is an excellent attorney, and I am not sure of the context that this response was given, but my read on the law diverges and the majority of decisions regarding encroaching trees and roots hold that the remedy is not in nuisance claims, but in self help and the right of a landowner to trim encroaching trees and vegetation back to the property line without the consent of the neighboring owner of the tree.