my tree roots in my neighbor’s backyard

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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my tree roots in my neighbor’s backyard

My neighbor recently complained that roots from my 30 years old magnolia tree is damaging her swimming pool pavements. She fears that the roots may eventually damage the pool itself. In the past the neighbor always complained that the leaves of my magnolia tree were getting into the pool water, and asked me to trim the tree branches so that branches don’t encroach into her property. And I always complied to her request. Now she wants me to remove the tree altogether. Am I legally required to remove the tree? Thanks

Asked on November 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are not affirmatively or proactively required to remove the tree, BUT if you have notice or warning that the tree is causing damage (as you evidently do) and you fail to take action, then you are liable, or financially responsible, for any damage or costs the tree causes, due to your negligence (unreasonable carelessness) in not remediating a known threat. Therefore, if the neighbor is telling the truth, you could find yourself paying for pavement and/or pool repairs.

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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