Tree roots are not always confined to one property. They often spread beneath the surface onto an adjoining neighbor’s property. In some cases, the tree roots may cause serious damage to structures on someone else’s property.
Not every root that encroaches onto someone else’s property must be cut. One owner does have the legal right to seek injunctive relief, where they can ask a judge to order the adjoining neighbor to do something when the roots are a nuisance. The roots would need to cause damage to the property of another. In that case, the neighbor could also seek compensatory damages from the tree owner.
In the past, a property owner was allowed to take matters into their own hands to cut the roots. Now, California law has changed, and an adjacent owner must either handle the dispute with the other neighbor or the court. Property owners cannot cut roots when they know that it will damage the tree, making it even more critical to engage the neighbor who owns the tree. If a property owner does do anything to remove tree roots on their own property, they must consult with an arborist ahead of time to ensure that what they are doing would not disturb the viability of the tree. Otherwise, the property owner could be liable for their own self-help actions.
Tree roots may also encroach on a public sidewalk, putting pedestrians in danger of a slip-and-fall accident. In that case, the tree owner may be held accountable in a negligence lawsuit.
Contact a Los Angeles Tree Root Attorney Today
Attorney Alan J. Carnegie can help property owners in disputes with adjoining property owners in an attempt to keep their own property safe. To speak with an attorney, call us today at 877.261.4456 or message us online.