Am I responsible for damage to my neighbor’s property?

I have bamboo that grows on my side of the property. The bamboo was there when we bought the house and the roots can be aggressive. Am I responsible for any damage they may cause on my neighbors side of the property?

Asked on August 29, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Texas


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are liable for damages to your neighbor's property caused by the spreading roots of your bamboo depends on just what state you live in. In most jurisdictions, a neighbor who is bothered by encroaching roots of a healthy tree will not be able to sue the tree owner (at least successfully). Rather, the neighbor can go ahead and trim the tree themselves. However, in some states, a neighbor may sue: if the tree encroaches onto their property to make the tree's owner cuts the roots, even if no damage has yet been done but threatens to do so. In other states, a lawsuit can be brought only if the entroaching roots seriously interfere with the neighbor's ability to use and enjoy their property or causes substantial damage to the neighbor's property. And nearly all statutes on this subject state that new property owners are not responsible for damage caused by trees on their land before they purchased it. Since your specific rights and remedies vary depending upon local law, check specific statutes and ordinances, as well as with your homeowner's insurance carrier.

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