Does Good Tree Maintenance Make Good Neighbors?

With fall finally in full swing (as much as it can be here in perennially sunny Los Angeles), you cannot help but notice the leaves changing colors and the trees they fall from. But, what to do about those pesky branches hanging over from your neighbor’s property dropping leaves on to your property and car? And, who is responsible for maintaining a tree that is located on your and your neighbor’s property?

A tree whose trunk stands entirely on one’s own property belongs exclusively to the landowner, although its roots extend into the land of the adjoining landowner. In that situation, the landowner is generally responsible for that tree. However, the adjoining owner has the right to remove those portions of the tree (but not the fruits hanging from the tree) that overhang his or her property, as long as he or she does so in a reasonable manner.

In contrast, a tree whose trunk stands partly on the land of two or more coterminous owners belongs to them in common. In that situation, no owner has a right to cut down that tree or to cut away the part that extends on his or her land without the consent of other owners, even if the continued existence of the tree or its overhanging branches will cause damage to his or her property. However, in certain situations, the damaged co-owner may seek damages against the other co-owner.

Schorr Law’s real estate attorneys have experience with many issues that adjoining landowners face. To inquire about a free 30-minute consultation contact us by phone at (310) 954-1877, by email at info@schorr-law.com, or by filling out the contact form on the right side of the page.

By Stephanie Goldstein, esq.