Gualala, CA asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for California

Q: What to do about non-responsive property owners when there is a hazardous condition on their property?

A huge 250' redwood tree is leaning towards falling on my house. I have tried contacting the owner via mail, email, and phone. The RE agent who sold the parcel has also tried. But the owner is not responding, yet he is applying for a variance permit on the parcel, so he is still active. I can't get the tree removed because it is not on my parcel.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, when you encounter a hazardous condition on someone else's property, such as a potentially dangerous tree, the first step is usually to make a reasonable attempt to notify the property owner of the hazard. It seems you've already done this through various means without success. The owner's lack of response, despite being active in other property matters, complicates the situation.

In such cases, you may need to escalate the matter to involve local authorities or governmental bodies. Municipalities or counties typically have regulations regarding hazardous trees and public safety. Contacting your local code enforcement office or the department responsible for trees and public safety could prompt an official inspection. If the tree is deemed a public hazard, the government can often take action to compel the owner to address the issue.

If governmental intervention does not resolve the issue, legal recourse might be necessary. California law allows for legal action in cases where an imminent danger is posed by another's property. Consulting with a legal professional experienced in property and neighbor law can provide guidance on how to proceed, potentially including seeking a court order to remedy the hazardous condition. This route should be considered carefully, as it can be time-consuming and costly.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.