What to do about illegal dumping on my property?

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What to do about illegal dumping on my property?

A tree located on my property, whenever a small number of branches and leaves fall into the neighbor’s property she picks everything up and throws it over my fence into my property and has started a small compost pile on the side of my house. I cleaned it up and posted ‘No Dumping Allowed’ signs, a security camera and sign, and sent her letters. She said it’s not illegal dumping since debris came from my tree (there are many trees on surrounding properties). Also, she wants the signs taken down so she does not have to look at them. Is she committing ‘illegal dumping’? Do I have recourse?

Asked on April 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) You have no right to make your neighbor retain or clean up leaves or debris from your tree (or indeed, any debris from you). She may push debris from your property (i.e. your tree) onto your property (your real estate).

1a) She can't, however, push or throw leaves or debris from other trees onto your property. If she does so, she is trespassing and/or committing a form of vandalism, and you could take legal action against her.

2) She most likely has no right to make you take down the no dumping sign, since a sign would seem to not rise to the level of being a legal nuisance (an unreasonable use or action for the area).

Legally, if you can prove she is throwing debris from trees which are not yours onto your land, you could seek a court order forcing her to not do this. Again though, she may push or throw anything from your trees onto your property, rather than having to clean up your debris herself. The issue, legally, is where the leaves and debris come from; practically, given the cost of litigation and how neighbor feuds can escalate, it is almost certainly better to work something out rather than go down the route of legal action.


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