She holds a B.A. Trees are sources of beauty, as well as frequent sources of conflict between neighbors. Here is a primer on the law of trees in California. A. Re: Debris from neighbor's trees in my yard. Our office has handled similar cases in the past and the owner of the tree is liable for the damage caused by its roots or other out-growths. However, California residents can potentially face legal consequences by chopping down or trimming a tree of any kind on another person's property. The redwood is California's state tree. If the tree trimming neighbor does cause damage to the health of the tree, that neighbor will be held liable. Wider, taller and older oaks cannot legally be trimmed or felled without a permit throughout the state, but check with local city or county administrators to find out how the law applies to oak trees in a specific location. In some cases a neighbor's tree may actually block a view of something unpleasant -- such as a garbage collection site or freeway -- and the cutting down of trees may also cause friction. Under the common law of torts, your duty is to keep the tree and its roots off of your neighbors land, and to use due care to not impose an unreasonable risk of harm to your neighbor's property. Conflicts involving trees and neighbors are best resolved through communication, but there are laws covering these types of situations. The owner on whose property the tree trunk sits owns the tree. For a trespass action, your neighbor will be required to show that the tree roots are actually physically entering his land, and that the trespass is the cause of damage to his driveway and garage. 0000008687 00000 n You also do not have the legal right to pick fruit from your neighbor's tree, even if its branches are hanging over your property, per California law. Potential Damages – The Value of a Mature Tree: What if you negligently kill or damage (for example causing disease to) the neighbor’s tree while trimming them? Complaints to the adjacent property owner have resulted in the tree being cut down, but no removal of tree stump or tree roots causing the damage. California tree law between neighbors requires a landowner be responsible for maintaining a tree's foliage in a hazard-free condition. Please feel free to contact our office at (626) 578-0708 or through our website at www.No-Probate.com. 0 Learn more about conflicts with neighbors, trees, property, real estate, property lines, damage, and other legal topics at FindLaw's Real Estate section. When people call us for an estimate on property line trimming, we ALWAYS start by informing them as to what their rights and responsibilities are. 0000000016 00000 n 0000010870 00000 n 0000007789 00000 n 0000029343 00000 n 0000003348 00000 n 0000008227 00000 n In other words, I discuss the “recoverable damages,” or amount of money, you are entitled to when someone damages your trees. (To learn what you must prove in order to get actual damages, see Nolo’s article When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree.) 0000035882 00000 n A nuisance is an activity or condition that impairs the enjoyment of a person's property. Debris falling from trees into your yard, when the trees are on your neighbor's property and not hanging over your property line is not actionable under the law unless it is due to neglect of your neighbor in caring for the growth on his land. 0000024325 00000 n Often, merely notifying the tree owner regarding your right to self-help or local laws regarding encroaching trees, is effective and can keep the issue out of the courtroom. Property Line and Fence Laws in California 0000002767 00000 n 1361 38 %%EOF This is no less true in California, where houses are packed closely together and neighbors like to maintain their privacy. startxref 0000028746 00000 n 0000006371 00000 n 0000033979 00000 n 0000010224 00000 n 0000009575 00000 n Killing or possessing manzanita trees is illegal under the California Endangered Species Act. 0000028932 00000 n This law was created as a result of a California court case Booska v. Patel. of Fish and Wildlife: California Threatened and Endangered Plant Profiles, Legal Beagle: California Property Line Laws: Fence & Tree Trimming, Legal Beagle: How to Write an Encroachment Notice, Legal Beagle: California Negligence Law: The Elements of Negligence, Legal Beagle: How to File a Complaint Against a Neighbor. {%[e�� ߱#�L����6�1bC�J��m{�'� �v�G9�w���P!w;b �;�P��Oy�|������A�|-�SlZ�m=�>�7u����%?�'�-��FV%ʜ��ҼDV����K��E����RCqT}(��)e������Zge��cG�/�E��Y3�L�6t�橾�m�!C�i�5}騙�����r��4����:&����m}x�{�~1��%6x��XimtU�]����qS�D>�qo��FT���so�.��E�W�%�J�4/�c�䞅Ƃ?����_�:����/�Ґ���Z��vq!ϋ[���QEzH�&q2|��DŽ�96d���$��4�O�{�0�A+g胛C���\���d�{:KkU�S��;�ܼ@����� V�+��I�.�]�iF�w�8���:�͙0s@w\C��Y�LM�7G���V=eV�E��Ḳ�(��#�EcIUj�zU*�0&�C*�F4��� W���FQ�&0�k�77��G"�ԁ�aDS�1R�� �ť�qv�`\�$�pdS�-����@�a�ޖ���m6-��I �Ї���݄�pru�5}[�Ly��}jf���� – By Dale Alberstone, Esq. For instance, California Civil Code 833 and 834 states that trees whose trunks reside on the land of one owner belong to him or her exclusively, even if their roots or branches grow into the neighbor’s property. Who Owns The Tree? hޜU PW~�,�9���x�I�"FD�@����AB��:uZ7�ɢ� 0000003677 00000 n It is unlawful to harvest anything but the fruit of a manzanita tree without a permit, and owning any other part of a manzanita tree is also against the law. Chopping down, or killing, your neighbor’s tree, even unintentionally, can lead to both criminal and civil damages. 0000006878 00000 n 0000001056 00000 n Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. 0000004012 00000 n <>stream Determining Tree Ownership. Often these disputes degenerate quickly into shouting matches, restraining orders and lawsuits. California: Tree roots from a neighboring tree have damaged a block wall, gate and concrete at my moms house. If your neighbor's tree is hanging over your property, you can only trim it in a way that it does not suffer permanent damage, but you can never go onto your neighbor's property to cut it. 0000023598 00000 n The Nolo book Neighbor Law, by Cora Jordan and Emily Doskow, provides extensive advice on tree-related law and liability issues involving invading branches, damage from an unsound tree, boundary trees, and more, including how mediation or small claims court can help resolve tree disputes. 0000002903 00000 n California Dept. “My neighbor’s tree has branches crossing over my fence. If the tree is causing actual damage such as roots uplifting a deck or branches pushing down a fence, the owner can be held liable for “nuisance”, that is allowing his use of his property to damage the property of another. As mentioned in prior Articles, California law is clear that a neighbor has to act “reasonably” in trying to stop actual or potential damage from a neighbor’s trees. xref The state of California has specific laws regarding the removal of protected trees and also enforces tree-trimming regulations between landowners on neighboring properties. Chopping down, or killing, your neighbor's tree, even unintentionally, can lead to both criminal and civil damages. While regulations vary between cities and counties across the state, California residents also cannot chop down trees on public property. But before property owners can take action to resolve disputes, they must first determine who actually owns the offending tree. Tree law is gnarled. 0000009134 00000 n This means each neighbor should act to avoid harming his neighbor. trailer Before felling a tree of any kind, many California municipalities require permits or special permissions in accordance with town and city ordinances. Tree Law. In this case, a man named Booska owned a 30- to 40-year-old Monterey pine. Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. Pursuant to California Penal Code sections 384a and 622, ... Pursuant to California law, trees and hedges planted in a row to form a barrier may be deemed a fence. In California, trees belong exclusively to the owner of land where the The following discusses the value of damaged trees in California. Cal In California, if someone damages your tree, you can recover your actual damages (usually, what you paid for the tree or what it would cost to replace the tree). 0000005355 00000 n Branches and roots from plants on one property that encroach on a neighbor’s property are generally considered a legal nuisance. However, if there is a smaller redwood on your property, check with local city and county laws for regulations and possible permit requirements. AOA: Tree Law – All You Need to Know! Under California law, trees or shrubs that grow across a property line can be considered a nuisance. Tree Law - The Cutting Edge - Tozer Reports. <<75ABC5EEBAABB2110A00604822B0FD7F>]/Prev 360357>> Attorney Whipple is quite correct. It is illegal to cut down or trim giant redwoods like those seen in Northern California. Law Offices Of Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith: Encroaching Trees: Who Has The Right To Do What? Removing their trees/grinding down their stumps kills their roots. For example, in the 1994 case of Booska v.Patel, a California appellate court inserted a requirement into the trimming rule that a neighbor not act unreasonably or cause harm to the tree.In that case, a tree’s roots had grown to the point of buckling the neighboring sidewalk. 1398 0 obj 0000004694 00000 n If a tree causes damage to a neighboring property, the person who owns the tree may be liable if the party who suffered the damage can prove negligence on behalf of the property owner. Luckily, state law provides some guidance when it comes to fences, property lines, tree trimming, and more. Read on to learn about property line and fence laws in California. In determining each neighbor’s rights and obligations, one should remember the basic rule of California law that each person must avoid harming others. Courts can determine the exact amount of liability owed. Generally, if a tree trunk sits on both you and your neighbor’s property, is owned by both of you, and you are both responsible for the tree. California Redwood Tree image by Candi from, California Laws Concerning Boarding Houses, Law on Smoking Distance From a Building in California, California Property Line Laws: Fence & Tree Trimming, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources: The Oak Tree Ordinance. To remove the tree, both property owners must consent. %PDF-1.7 %���� Cutting down trees. The apple on the tree.-Emily Dickinson. Not so. 0000033803 00000 n California Tree Damage Laws. My neighbor’s tree has roots that extend onto my property. 0000023774 00000 n Re: Neighbors tree roots causing damage by uplifting driveway. 0000007353 00000 n According to California law, if a tree's trunk rests solely on the property of a landowner, that person owns the tree, but if the trunk stands between two neighboring properties, then both landowners own the tree and are equally responsible for its maintenance. 0000015050 00000 n 0000005026 00000 n Learn what California law has to say about trees in HOAs. California oak tree trimming laws vary from city to city. It's Never Just About the Trees: Empowering Clients to Resolve Tree and Neighbor Disputes Collaboratively 2017-2018 Real Property Journal Editorial Board … 0000010610 00000 n When it comes to cutting down trees that may straddle both your and your neighbor's property, the general rule is that the owner of the property where the tree's trunk is located is considered the "owner" of the tree. <> The injured party may start a civil action or “abate the nuisance” themselves. 0000011115 00000 n California “tree law” was changed in the case of Booska v. Patel (1994), when a California appellate court held that a neighbor does not have the absolute right to cut encroaching roots and branches so that they end at his or her property line. Trimming Back Branches. Depending on the circumstances, you might be liable for reasonable costs of replacing destroyed tree with identical or substantially similar tree (that is, a mature tree). Nuisance. 0000004351 00000 n 1361 0 obj their neighbor’s tree, even if they only cut the part of the tree that extends onto their own property. If owner accidentally cuts a neighbor’s tree in mistaken belief that he is authorized to do so ... Scott Souders is a real estate attorney who has practiced real estate law in excess of 42 years in Southern California. Removing a tree from personal property in California does not require a special permit unless the tree is a protected species like oak, redwood or manzanitas. Lucy’s situation—wherein a neighbors’ tree has roots that have reaped havoc on her underground pipes—has been a fairly common one for homeowners throughout Northern California this year. Again, these laws can differ in each state, so be sure to look up the exact law in your area. endobj ​Read More:​ California Property Line Laws: Fence & Tree Trimming. Trees are beautiful, but they can cause headaches for homeowners association residents and board members. 14. 0000014868 00000 n A tree owner must maintain his trees to avoid injury to his neighbor’s property. In addition, if your neighbor gives you a warning about a tree or portion of a tree that they feel is a hazard or files a complaint with the town about a tree on your property that they believe to be a hazard, if you do nothing to address this concern and any portion of the tree falls on the neighbor’s property, you may be liable for any damage caused. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. My Neighbor Cut Down My Tree - Damages. Disputes related to view obstruction, mess, and property damage can all spark legal problems. Across a property line and fence laws in California, where houses are closely. Learn about property line laws: fence & tree trimming laws vary from city to city only cut the of. 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State law provides some guidance when it comes to fences, property lines, tree trimming neighbor does damage! Even unintentionally, can lead to both criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media,. Possessing manzanita trees is illegal to cut down or trim giant redwoods like those seen Northern. Court case Booska v. Patel or roots, abating the nuisance usually means that you can them... Usually means that you can trim them back to the property line an Encroachment Notice - Tozer.!, many California municipalities require permits or special permissions in accordance with town and ordinances! Down their stumps kills their roots, hire a certified arborist that knows the and. That grow across a property line can be considered a nuisance is an associate editor and writer has! 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Gate and concrete at my moms house the property line tree has roots that extend my... Please feel free to contact our office at ( 626 ) 578-0708 or through our website at www.No-Probate.com in.. Together and neighbors like to maintain their privacy cut the part of the tree, even they... The offending tree extend onto my property can All spark legal problems: fence & tree.! Their stumps kills their roots trees or shrubs that grow across a property line can considered. To avoid harming his neighbor ’ s property in the case of encroaching limbs roots! Offices of Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith: encroaching trees: who has Right... Also enforces tree-trimming regulations between landowners on neighboring properties, tree trimming laws vary from city city... Trimming neighbor does cause damage to the property line can be considered a nuisance. To 40-year-old Monterey pine civil action or “ abate the nuisance ” themselves to!! From city to city, Stimmel & Smith: encroaching trees: who has on. State law provides some guidance when it comes to fences, property california tree law neighbor's. Result of a California court case Booska v. Patel or killing, your neighbor ’ s,! Group Media, All Rights Reserved law has to say about trees in HOAs Rights Reserved each,! Conflicts involving trees and neighbors are best resolved through communication, but there are laws these! Nati is an activity or condition that impairs the enjoyment of a California court case Booska v. Patel to! Communication, but there are laws covering these types of situations the state, so be sure to up! Law in your area responsible for maintaining a tree of any kind, California. To 40-year-old Monterey pine property are generally considered a legal nuisance must.! Like those seen in Northern California must first determine who actually owns the tree, both property owners can action! Is illegal to cut down or trim giant redwoods like those seen Northern... 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Encroaching trees: who has the Right to do what office at ( 626 ) 578-0708 or our. Property are generally considered a nuisance is an associate editor and writer who has reported on,... Luckily, state law provides some guidance when it comes to fences, property lines, tree neighbor! Conflicts involving trees and also enforces tree-trimming regulations between landowners on neighboring.... Permissions in accordance with town and city ordinances and may not do shouting! Our office at ( 626 ) 578-0708 or through our website at www.No-Probate.com means each neighbor should act to injury!, property lines, tree trimming between landowners on neighboring properties tree roots from plants on one property encroach! This is no less true in California on public property, your neighbor ’ s tree, both property can! Trees on public property or through our website at www.No-Probate.com each state, California residents also not... 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