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Liability for Trimming Encroaching Roots or Branches

Law states that a property owner cannot claim equity for damage to tree roots encroaching onto the neighbor’s property.  Intruding tree roots and branches can be taken as trespass which a property owner does not have right to maintain.  In an instance, a neighboring property owner negligently cut the roots of the adjoining property owner’s tree that extended into the neighbor’s land so severely that the tree had to be cut down.  The trial Court mistakenly granted a summary judgment favoring that the defendant had an absolute right to sever any roots that entered his property.  However, the issue that the defendant acted negligently regardless of the consequences by severing the roots of the tree exists.

In the same way, an adjoining landowner will be liable for trimming of trees that did not overhang the adjoining landowner’s property if the trimming is performed recklessly.  A statute that provides penalty for cutting trees without consent is punitive and must be strictly construed wanting the petitioners to establishing by proper evidence that a violation has occurred.

In Booska v. Patel, 24 Cal. App. 4th 1786 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1994), the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California)’s order granting a motion of summary judgment for respondent property owners in a case over negligence, destruction of timber, and nuisance.  The respondents had cut down the roots that had grown onto their land from a tree standing on appellants’ property.  The appellate Court reversed the order for summary judgment and held that there were primary issues of material fact that had to be tried.


Inside Liability for Trimming Encroaching Roots or Branches