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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    1

    Default Removing a Tree Stump from a Neighbor's Property Where Roots Cross the Property Line

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Florida

    We recently purchased a house in a neighborhood with smaller lots. It has a pool and is therefore required to be fenced. Previous owners replaced back and right side of fence and we knew left side needed to be replaced. The house on that side is a rental and the owner is out of state. Previous owners said they were going to see if the neighbor would split the cost but never got around to doing anything about it. It needs to be replaced and we fully intended to pay for the replacement as we want board on board not stockade. The fence appears to be on the property line as are most fences in the neighborhood. We paid a landscaper to get rid of brush near the fence and hedge back the neighbor's trees growing over it. In the process we discovered the reason the fence was raised and dilapidated was because the neighbor had a tree on their side fall at some point and the root system/stump raised and damaged the fence. The landscaper said he could not touch it because the stump was not on our property. We got the number for the property manager from the tenants next door. I called and spoke to him many weeks ago and he stated getting rid of the stump shouldn't be a problem. Now he will not answer my calls or return my numerous voice mails. I've tried calling the office he works for and he must own it because that number goes into a voice mail with his name. We contacted the HOA and they said it's a civil matter.

    What are the recommendations at this point? My husband is going to try to call from his phone to see if he will answer. Other thoughts are sending a certified letter to the owner, to the management company, calling the owner if I can find a number for them. Last option would be what small claims court?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,583

    Default Re: Is Your Neighbor Liable for Fence Damage Caused by Tree Roots

    Other thoughts are sending a certified letter to the owner, to the management company, calling the owner if I can find a number for them.
    Giving notice is a good place to start but in this situation, a letter written by an attorney might have a far better impact. Attorneys can quickly determine who should be getting the letter and what it should say. Your attempts at communication have produced no results so far. You have already been ignored without consequence. Having an attorney send a letter is not a great expense; it does not put you on a track to court, but is likely to be the best way to avoid court and be the lowest cost solution.

    Good Luck!
    Resistance is not futile; it is voltage divided by current.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Is Your Neighbor Liable for Fence Damage Caused by Tree Roots

    Under Florida law,
    Quote Quoting Gallo v. Heller, 512 So.2d 215, 216 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987).
    [A] possessor of land is not liable to persons outside the land for a nuisance resulting from trees and natural vegetation growing on the land. The adjoining property owner to such a nuisance, however, is privileged to trim back, at the adjoining owner's own expense, any encroaching tree roots or branches and other vegetation which has grown onto his property.
    See also Scott v. McCarty, 41 So. 3d 989 (Fla.4th DCA 2010).

    In terms of removing the dead stump, as it is on your neighbor's property it would need to be done by him or with his permission. The roots from the stump, however, can be cut at the property line.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Removing a Tree Stump from a Neighbor's Property Where Roots Cross the Property L

    Agree with Mr. K. The law prohibits you from cutting roots at the property line if they kill the tree. Since the tree is dead, you are free to cut away on your property.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Removing a Tree Stump from a Neighbor's Property Where Roots Cross the Property L

    While the rule usually is as Disagreeable describes, I have yet to find any Florida authority that would impose liability for damage to a tree from trimming roots or branches at the property line. It's not relevant to the present question, but it's something worth exploring in greater depth for similar questions involving live trees or vegetation.

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