Is my neighbor financially obligated to remove trees damaging our fence?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my neighbor financially obligated to remove trees damaging our fence?

My neighbor has boundary trees on his
property that are growing onto my side of the
property. The trees are destroying our fence.
Does he have any financial obligation to
remove the trees?

Asked on February 12, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In most states, the law is that you can trim the tree or a root, without your neighbor's permission, as long as it is does not kill the tree. You can go to court in an attempt to force a joint action to remove the tree, assuming you do not need or obtain a permit. As to the damage to the joint fence, both property owners are responsible for maintaining it, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. Consequently, when a fence needs repair, both property owners must share the cost. That having been said, if your neighbor has been negligent regarding the treedamage to the fence, then they can be held solely responsible for its repair/replacement.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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