Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

My neighbor has a tree on his side of my property line. Is it his responsibility to to trim it so it does not cross over to my side? It shades my garden and I have difficulty getting to my garden.

Asked on 7/25/13, 7:41 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

The neighbor does not have a duty to prune or trim his branches, but you have the right to trim branches and limbs that extend past the property line. However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree.

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Answered on 7/25/13, 8:18 pm

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

I agree with Mr. Roach. Overhanging tree limbs (and invasive roots) are instances of trespass to land. The law affecting "trespass by tree" is a little different than the ordinary trespass law, however. The remedy is self help. That means you, the victim, can prune, or arrange for the professional pruning of, the invasive roots or limbs at the property line. However, there are two additional limitations. You must do the trimming at your own expense, and you must do it in a responsible way, so that you don't do permanent and substantial damage to the tree. This latter limitation means (possibly among other things) don't kill it, and don't leave it likely to be blown down in a storm.

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Answered on 7/26/13, 7:29 am

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