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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Default Is a Neighbor Liable for Root Damage to a Water Line That Runs Across Their Property

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

    My water main has sprung a leak and the waterline runs through a portion of my neighbors property. The tree that is near my line on their property caused the leak. Are the liable at all?
    My home was built in the 1950's and was in place before the other home was built. Also what are my responsibilities if they are not liable in regards to the tree that is causing the damage? can I cut roots to get to leak and trim them back to make sure it doesn't happen again?

    Thanks M

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,501

    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    Does your waterline run on an easement?

  3. #3
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    Aug 2018
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    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    As far as I know there is a utilities easement

  4. #4
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    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    As far as you know? There is or is not an easement across your neighbor's property for your waterline. If there is an easement, then you are and were responsible to maintain the easement. That includes safeguarding your waterline from tree root damage. And if there isn't an easement, you will need the permission of your neighbor to enter their property to fix the leak.

    Check your deed for the language of any easement for your utilities.

    Either way, you will be responsible for the repair cost.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    144

    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    Tree roots don't normally penetrate water lines. More than likely, your waterline sprung a leak due to some other factor and the roots migrated toward the water source.

    I would contact your water purveyor and verify that the line in question is a customer-owned line. (It likely is). If so, the line would be your responsibility to fix. If it was a utility owned line, the onus would be on them.

    In no case would the tree owner be responsible.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2018
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    3

    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    I do have a copy of the easement and was wondering can I cut or request the tree to be cut by the owner ? the Plumbing companies have all stated that the line was broken by the roots from the tree and don't want to spend thousands of dollars to have this happen again.

    Thanks M

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    Quote Quoting 206mac
    View Post
    I do have a copy of the easement and was wondering can I cut or request the tree to be cut by the owner ? the Plumbing companies have all stated that the line was broken by the roots from the tree and don't want to spend thousands of dollars to have this happen again.
    A utility easement probably does not provide for you to remove trees or vegetation from the servient estate; but we have no access to its language. If you want the language interpreted, you will need to share it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    672

    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    You can certainly request that the tree be removed. You can also look into having your water line moved onto your property, where you can insure that there are no further damages that could be caused by other people or circumstances beyond your control.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: My Water Main Goes Thru Neigbors Property and a Tree Caused Leak Are the Liable

    If that were possible (to move the line onto OP's property) perhaps there would not be a need for a utility easement. But since there is a utility easement, chances are that the utility has to run over the neighbor's land for OP to get his utilities.

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