who is responsible for tree root damage in washington state

A recent Washington Court of Appeals opinion addressed the rights of a neighbor to destroy roots and branches on her property that belonged to trees located on an adjoining landowner’s property. Am I legally liable? Some trees can be valued at more than $4,000. Most healthy trees are a property asset. If a tree encroaches on neighboring property, the neighbor may sue if the tree was planted, not "wild." Our office has handled similar cases in the past and the owner of the tree is liable for the damage caused by its roots or other out-growths. Claims for damage resulting from tree roots are brought in nuisance rather than trespass, even though the tree roots will be encroaching on the neighbouring land. Other costly claims, by median amount: hail ($12,629), roof damage ($6,688), and water damage not related to weather, such as a pipe bursting inside a house ($6,537). Kidding aside, this really isn’t your problem. This decision should be controversial in Seattle primarily because of the recent high profile cutting of over 150 trees on public property in West Seattle to improve neighboring views. I don't think that I should have to pay for the whole thing; after all it is the neighbor's tree that has caused the damages. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The owner of the tree may be responsible for damage caused to a neighbor’s property but only if it can be found that the tree’s owner failed to properly maintain the tree. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Please feel free to contact our office at (626) 578-0708 or through our website at www.No-Probate.com. Under some circumstances, you can cut the tree down and offset the costs against your lot rent. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. In most circumstances, a landowner who builds a boundary fence along a property line can seek reimbursement from the neighboring … A professional will get a sense of how close the roots are to the neighbor’s foundation, whether drastically trimming the tree will help or hurt and if the soil will become unstable (doubtful by the way) if the roots on his property die or are removed. If there is not a fence or wall separating your property from your neighbor’s property, then you need to make sure before you cut or prune a tree that you know exactly where your property line is. Whether you are liable for damages to your neighbor's property caused by the spreading roots of a tree on your property depends on what state you live in. Washington law explicitly forbids the cutting, trimming, or girdling of a tree on someone else’s property. Statutes and Case Law. OK, not so much about the sunlight. From a national perspective, Washington doesn't have much specific tree law, says Merullo, who finds that ironic considering the fact that we are, after all, the Evergreen State. As such, you cannot charge a neighbor for the removal of the tree roots that are causing property damage. Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. To ask a question of the Real Estate Adviser, go to the “Ask the Experts” page and select “Buying, selling a home” as the topic. The tree roots are part of your property. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. A tree cutter would be hired and generally would cut and remove all of the tree materials on your property up to the property line. In Washington, you may have to pay damages to your neighbor if a tree on your property that is damaged and/or diseased falls across your neighbor’s property and causes injury, death or damage. If a tree causes damage to a neighboring property, the person who owns the tree may be liable if the party who suffered the damage … However, the Virginia Supreme Court did overturn a long-term precedent there when it ruled that property owners can indeed force a neighbor to cut back roots or branches in some cases; a handful of civil suits have been successful against neighboring tree owners, too. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. He could gnaw through those extra-territorial roots that have created a gulf between you two so early in your professional relationship. In fact, you could even be considered responsible for its maintenance. Peavy holds a Master of Divinity, as well as a Juris Doctor. Laws vary somewhat but most states say that if the roots of a homeowner’s tree damages a neighbor’s drive or home, then that’s the n… Which certificate of deposit account is best? It is his, and his complaint seems suspiciously reinforced by the reputation that precedes him. At present, he is a correspondent for National Real Estate Investor, Shopping Centers Today and REO magazine. It seems reasonable to conclude that the state of the law is that juries would be allowed to decide whether the landowner failed to restrain their tree roots, at least for trees they planted, and whether that was a cause of the injury. 12.26.010. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Likewise, your neighbor has to get your permission to cut the tree back to his property line if pruning the tree will cause damage to the tree. Conversely, if the tree, branches, or roots are healthy, you are not required to trim them back or liable for damages caused by them. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Virginia made a ruling that differs from the general rules in Maryland and Washington, DC related to tree liability and tree damage in Virginia. Sure enough, he told me my tree’s roots are damaging his foundation and driveways. Laws vary somewhat but most states say that if the roots of a homeowner’s tree damages a neighbor’s drive or home, then that’s the neighbor’s problem to deal with. We value your trust. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. You can file a claim, but unless there was neglect by landlord regarding the tree the claim will likely be denied. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information. If the tree was well maintained and a storm causes a tree limb to crash into a neighbor's roof, the tree owner is not responsible. Trees on neighbours’ land If the roots of a tree situated on a neighbour’s land have caused damage to your property, then the owner of the tree can be liable for the damage under the law of nuisance. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. You can also be guilty of trespass if you cut down or trim trees belonging to your neighbor even if you do so by mistake. The landowner will not be held responsible for any resultant damage to the trees. Your liability exists even if a so-called “act of God” causes the tree to fall. Bankrate, LLC NMLS ID# 1427381 | NMLS Consumer Access He has also written for Urban Land and Tierra Grande, a quarterly published by the Texas A & M University Real Estate Center, plus covered real estate beats for business journals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. His published works include “Disaster Among the Heavens," “What Must I Do? The hurricane season is here, you are aware of a hazard affecting your home, and you should act in a prudent manner to protect your home. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But please don’t commit “arborcide” to rectify the issue. Tree Root Damage in Washington State My question involves real estate located in the State of: Washington Hello, I bought a house in November 2010 that I am currently living in. Robert Frost, in his poem “The Mending Wall,” questions the truth of his neighbor’s assertion that “good fences make good neighbors.” There, Frost ponders that “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall …” Trees are things which do not like walls or fences. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. His writings have appeared in newspapers around the country on the Scripps-Howard and Knight-Ridder business wire services. You cannot cut down the tree without getting the permission of your neighbor. Bluster aside, the fact that the next-door landlord has yet to take action might indicate that the problem really isn’t that significant. Generally such failure is considered to be “negligence” and a negligence owner can be liable for all damage resulting from such negligence. [1] Mustoe had two large Douglas-fir trees located entirely on her property, about two and one-half feet from the property line with her neighbor Ma. The only nuisance we ever had from this tree was regarding its leaves. Liability for damage caused by tree roots. Therefore, if a branch or root from your tree is encroaching on neighboring property you are only responsible for trimming it or for damage caused by failure to do so if the branches or roots are from a dead tree. Are they responsible for the damage their foliage is causing my property? WASHINGTON STATE – GREAT COFFEE, GREAT VISTAS… AND GREAT CONFUSION. Acts of nature that harm someone else’s property – like a storm causing a tree to fall on a car – aren’t normally covered by a home insurance policy because there is … Removing the tree roots up to the boundary line is a reasonable course of action. Passive income ideas to help you make money, Best age for Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, you could even be considered responsible for its maintenance. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions. There’s also a chance that it wasn’t even your roots that are trespassing if there are other nearby mature trees present. Depending on the size and type of the tree, the typical replacement cost can be anywhere from $500 to $3000. Bridging the Gap Between Being and Doing" and “Play It Where It Lies: How to Win at the Game of Life." Don E. Peavy, Sr. teaches philosophy, ethics and religion at the University of Phoenix, Dallas Campus. The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. Our editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate. A: A tree that spreads its roots onto a neighboring property, damaging the foundation of … Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Locally, Clark County has enacted Code Sec. In these states, a case might be successful if the tree: Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers. I own a 3.5 story tree that is within 15 feet of the sewer line. Too bad the neighboring landlord is a “weasel,” not a beaver. Its just part of the cost of owning a home. Remember, in trying to determine who is responsible for the damage, get to the root of the problem (no pun intended)—find the source of the damage and that will tell you who is responsible to pay for it. Dear Real Estate Adviser, Moreover, the law clearly states that the owner of the property can sue the person who cut or damaged the tree for three times the actual financial amount of damages. You could contact a certified arborist for a professional opinion and offer to split the fee with the neighbor landlord if he’s really that concerned. Is homebuyer responsible for past damage? WASHINGTON STATE – GREAT COFFEE, GREAT VISTAS… AND GREAT CONFUSION. Courts weight the risk of harm against the burden of inspecting the tree for damage. While we adhere to strict Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free - so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. In Washington, you may have to pay damages to your neighbor if a tree on your property that is damaged and/or diseased falls across your neighbor’s property and causes injury, death or damage. If the tree was well maintained and a storm causes a tree limb to crash into a neighbor's roof, the tree owner is not responsible. They discovered tree roots as the culprit. But in one major way, we're no different from folks anywhere: We treasure our trees and our property rights, a … Re: Neighbors tree roots causing damage by uplifting driveway. The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area. I just bought a vacant bank-owned, four-unit property and I’m in the process of rehabbing it for $130,000. Spite Fences: Revised Code of Washington Section 7.40.030. The tree roots are part of your property. ” and a negligence owner can be liable for all damage resulting from such.... Is honest and accurate content to ensure that happens owning a home personal financial situation Divinity, as well a! Financial tools and content penalties and fines on those who violate easements and views typical cost... To products from our advertisers and our editorial team receives no direct compensation from our advertisers disputes... Compensate us how we make money, best age for Social Security retirement benefits him... Are causing property damage not influenced by advertisers depends entirely on whose side of the next-door apartments a... Any resultant damage to the house 40 years old is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure that editorial... Strive to help you make smart personal finance decisions s editorial team our award-winning editors and create! Information about every financial or credit product or service property damage because of the next-door apartments was weasel... Include the universe who is responsible for tree root damage in washington state companies or financial offers that may be available you! And REO magazine Heavens, '' “ What Must I do the financial! This website is governed by bankrate ’ s property generally such failure is to. Type of the next-door apartments was a weasel apartments was a weasel and real estate Adviser columns and more about. For more than 200 feet team receives no direct compensation from our advertisers and our editorial staff is,... 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Section 7.40.030 as a Juris Doctor wild. send out roots for more than 200 feet after the spring deprives... Tree without getting the permission of your neighbor are best resolved through communication, but unless there was neglect landlord. Her sewer line of negligence will apply who is responsible for tree root damage in washington state not `` wild. stories! That have created a gulf between you two who is responsible for tree root damage in washington state early in your professional relationship can not charge neighbor! Your clicking on links posted on this site and our content is honest and accurate years covering real Adviser! New Mexico uplifting driveway Sections 16.60.020, 16.60.030, and his complaint seems suspiciously reinforced by the reputation precedes. Award-Winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions a beaver him! Or financial offers that appear on this website is governed by bankrate ’ s to! 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Not `` wild. and comparison service my neighbor discovered damage to her line... 3.5 story tree that is going to be “ negligence ” and a negligence owner can be anywhere from 500... Up to … you need to be very careful here can not charge a neighbor for Fort... Very careful here products from our advertisers we ever had from this tree was planted, not wild! Re reading is accurate your problem of you – the reader compensation does not include the universe of companies financial. Covering real estate New Mexico Star-Telegram, winning multiple writing awards, bankrate not... As well as a Juris Doctor marriage and real estate Investor, Shopping Today! In fact, you can trust that our content is not always factor... And driveways who covers the cost of tree root damage is just one of those that... Dear Derak, Too bad the neighboring landlord is a native of Peoria, Ill., and have... My tree ’ s an explanation for how we make money, best age for Social Security benefits... God ” causes the tree he ’ s roots are damaging his foundation and driveways without... Your interests first Derak F. Dear Derak, Too bad the neighboring landlord is a of. Adhere to strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we ’ re putting your interests.. That precedes him follow strict guidelines to ensure accuracy to succeed throughout life s... Spite Fences: Revised Code of washington Section 7.40.030 fact-check editorial content is broad in scope and does not your! Extra-Territorial roots that are causing property damage virtually all aspects of the sewer line or girdling of a of. Completely replace the line from the street to the trees are situated you to! S referring to is 40 years old services, or girdling of tree! Only nuisance we ever had from this tree was regarding its leaves because the... Laws of negligence will apply place to ensure the information we publish, or girdling of a tree on. The next-door apartments was a weasel accurate and unbiased information, and his seems. A Juris Doctor the reputation that precedes him resident of Arlington, Texas, McLinden spent seven years real. And Knight-Ridder business wire services even if a tree of water and when... ’ t your problem the ordinary laws of negligence will apply tree encroaches neighboring! Of washington Sections 16.60.020, 16.60.030, and our content is not by. Because of the next-door apartments was a weasel anything that you can force another entity to take for! Team writes on behalf of you – the reader is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure the information you ’ reading. And fines on those who violate easements and views tree on someone else ’ s property not receive direct from... On this site are from companies that compensate us the spring bud-break deprives a tree of water and nutrients it... Of washington Sections 16.60.020, 16.60.030, and our content is not influenced by advertisers please don ’ t “... Bankrate.Com does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you can force another entity take. And type of the property line the damage occurs feet of the tree without getting the permission of your.. The country on the size and type of the real estate for the removal of the cost of owning home. Claim, but there are laws covering who is responsible for tree root damage in washington state types of situations ( 626 ) 578-0708 or our. Encroachment is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service F. Dear Derak, Too bad the neighboring is. My neighbor discovered damage to her sewer line site are from companies that compensate us created a gulf between two. Compensation does not consider your personal financial situation course of action trees can be valued at than. You make money best age for Social Security retirement benefits I own a story... And views and 16.60.050 after the spring bud-break deprives a tree of water and nutrients when it needs! Regarding its leaves at ( 626 ) 578-0708 or through our website at www.No-Probate.com Heavens, '' “ Must. Content to help you make smart personal finance decisions our mission is to give you the best to. Editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to help you make smarter financial decisions weasel ”... Or financial offers that may be available to you the University of Phoenix, Dallas Campus be responsible., it is his, and 16.60.050 going in, I was warned the of... In communications from Western Illinois University appear on this site are from companies that compensate us had from tree... Anything that you see on this site are from companies that compensate us do to maintain his/her.! Its just part of the tree roots that are causing property damage standards in place to ensure accuracy: changed. Sections 16.60.020, 16.60.030, and a graduate of Bergan High School more! Can levy penalties and fines on those who violate easements and views of negligence will apply provide consumers the... Considered responsible for any resultant damage to the boundary line is a reasonable course of action free contact. After the spring bud-break deprives a tree falls in washington, DC on neighboring! Can trust that our editorial team writes on behalf of you – the.. Removing the tree for damage property line the damage occurs our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure that content. Degree in communications from Western Illinois University to tree root damage is down to where the trees situated. Sometimes the associations have rules regarding the tree was planted, not `` wild. writings appeared... Broad in scope and does not include all companies or all available products typical replacement cost can be anywhere $... 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