It’s a common scene. A tree sits on the property line or just over the line on your neighbor’s property. It might be ugly, it might be dropping leaves on your property, or it might block your views. Whatever the reason, you want to trim or cut the tree down.
Your motivation might be understandable, but the law in California should make you proceed with extreme caution. In California, a person who injures a tree owned by another person may have to pay double OR triple damages to the tree owner. Damages can include the cost of the tree, maintenance costs for the tree, and more.
All is not lost though, if your goal is to do a minor trim for safety reasons or to limit the number of leaves that drop on your property from overhanging branches. The law generally permits a person to trim the portions of the tree that hang over onto your property, provided that such trimmings do not harm or damage the tree.
In any situation, it is highly advisable to discuss your plans with your neighbor before engaging in tree trimming of any kind. If you and your neighbor are in agreement, put it in writing. That can help avoid many questions if a problem comes up in the future.
If you find yourself in this situation, either contemplating cutting down a tree or because you are the victim of tree damage on your property, a consultation with an attorney is a smart idea. You may reach me at 323-522-4440 or Kellan@kellanmartzlaw.com.
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog post is only intended as general information and is not intended as actual advice about your individual situation, as I do not have any of the facts of your matter. If you need actual legal advice, please contact me or another attorney.