Am I liable for a root from tree in my yard that is cracking the foundation of my neighbor’s house?

My neighbor says that a root from tree in my yard is cracking her foundation and causing black mold. She says I’m responsible for repairs. Am I?

Asked on May 18, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, yes, you would be liable if you don't take action once you are made aware of the problem: a person is liable if he or she knows that something under his/her control, like your tree, is damaging another's property. You would most likely not be liable for any damage done prior to being made aware of the situation, since not knowing of the problem, you did nothing wrong (you were not negligent, or unreasonably careless) in not acting. But once you know of the threat, risk, damage, etc., if you don't act (e.g. have that root cut, or  the whole tree cut down), you can be liable for the subsequent damage.

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