Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise

Overview

Learn your rights and responsibilities with this clear-cut, comprehensive guide to the laws concerning common neighbor disputes. The popular bestseller covers: fences; trees and other greenery that crosses the property line; boundaries; blocked views; noise; water runoff and flooding; interference from nearby businesses; dangers to children ("attractive nuisances")...and more! In plain English, Neighbor Law explains how to find applicable laws and resolve disputes without going to court, and explains when the law...

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Overview

Learn your rights and responsibilities with this clear-cut, comprehensive guide to the laws concerning common neighbor disputes. The popular bestseller covers: fences; trees and other greenery that crosses the property line; boundaries; blocked views; noise; water runoff and flooding; interference from nearby businesses; dangers to children ("attractive nuisances")...and more! In plain English, Neighbor Law explains how to find applicable laws and resolve disputes without going to court, and explains when the law is on your side and how to deal with your neighbors without creating enemies. And, if you must go to small claims court, you'll find all the facts and stragegies you need.

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Editorial Reviews

Orlando Sentinel
"This classic book, which keeps getting better with each new edition, answers virtually all questions regarding fences, trees, boundaries and noise..."
Los Angeles Times
"A Nolo book that gives practical, no-nonsense approaches to handling neighbor disputes."
Arizona Republic
"Jordan peppers the book with real stories of problems neighbors have with each other. The stories are interesting and, in some cases, hilarious."
Robert Bruss
Even if you don’t have a serious neighbor problem yet, this well-written and complete book is a fun and educational read. It is extremely thorough and well-documented. 4 stars: excellent.
Sunset Magazine
So your neighbor’s giant sequoia is blocking your view. Who ya gonna call? The search for a ‘dispute buster’ should end with this helpful new book.
Oakland Tribune
For anyone with a neighbor problem, [Neighbor Law] is a handy book indeed. It walks the reader through written and common law, tells you what your rights are and how to follow through on a complaint all the way to court, if necessary.
Oakland Tribune
For anyone with a neighbor problem, [Neighbor Law] is a handy book indeed. It walks the reader through written and common law, tells you what your rights are and how to follow through on a complaint all the way to court, if necessary.
Sunset Magazine
So your neighbor’s giant sequoia is blocking your view. Who ya gonna call? The search for a ‘dispute buster’ should end with this helpful new book.
Library Journal
Most of us have experienced the problems attorney Jordan discusses in this practical, easy-to-understand legal guide. Such difficulties include noisy neighbors, damaged or destroyed trees, overhanging branches, obstruction of view, boundary lines, trespassing, and fences. She outlines a strategy for dealing with almost any kind of neighbor problem, starting with friendly negotiation and, if truly necessary, going all the way to court. Jordan offers advice on legal research, explaining how to find state and local law and statute citations. Recommended for public libraries.-- Fern Sikkema, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Washington, D.C.
Booknews
Attorney Jordan addresses the problems of noise, the many and various conflicts over trees, boundary lines, trespass and easements, fences, dangers to children, right-to-farm laws, water strife, neighbors running businesses, and solving all these problems through a little law research, contacting the offending neighbor in person or by mail, using a mediator, and going as far as small claims court. Appendices are devoted to state statutes on trees and "private nuisance," and other statutes on boundary fences, "adverse possession," and the right-to-farm. One cameo case involved a California lawyer suing his lawyer/neighbor for two million dollars<-- >the latter disturbed him by repeatedly dribbling a ball in his driveway. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Robert Bruss
"An outstanding job.. the most complete and well-documented book I've seen on the subject." Syndicated Columnist
Sunset Magazine
"Wo your neighbor's giant sequoia is blocking your view. Who ya gonna call? The search for a 'dispute buster' should end with this helpful new book."
Wall Street Journal
"Nolo's home page is worth bookmarking."
San Francisco Examiner
"The most complete and well-documented book...on the subject."
The Detroit News
"Neighbor Law is an extremely well-reserched, well-written and well-organized book that provides step-by-step strategies for resolving disputes with neighbors without litigation. If court cannot be avoided, however, attorney-author Cora Jordan shows you how to prepare and present a convincing case."
Arizona Republic
Jordan peppers the book with real stories of problems neighbors have with each other. The stories are interesting and, in some cases, hilarious.
Chicago Tribune
If you have problems with the neighbors, this is your bible.
Hartford Courant
Helps residents research local law and gives advice about how to approach offending neighbors.
Los Angeles Times
A Nolo book that gives practical, no-nonsense approaches to handling neighbor disputes.
Newsday
This book covers every possible problem one could encounter with a neighbor and how it can be resolved reasonably and effectively.
Oakland Tribune
Walks the reader through written and common law, tells you what your rights are and how to follow through on a complaint all the way to court, if necessary.
Orlando Sentinel
This classic book, which keeps getting better with each new edition, answers virtually all questions regarding fences, trees, boundaries and noise...
Reuters
Explains how to use mediation services, research local laws, and present a convincing case in small claims court.
Sacramento Bee
Surprisingly, this is a fun read. The author includes interesting sidebars and court decisions to clarify her explanations.
San Francisco Chronicle
If you want to educate yourself about your rights and duties, check out... Neighbor Law.
St. Petersburg Times
An excellent book...
Sunset Magazine
So your neighbor's giant sequoia is blocking your view. Who ya gonna call? The search for a dispute buster' should end with this helpful new book.
From the Publisher

“A Nolo book that gives practical, no-nonsense approaches to handling neighbor disputes.”  Los Angeles Times

“This classic book, which keeps getting better with each new edition, answers virtually all questions....” Orlando Sentinel

“An extremely well-researched, well-written and well-organized book....” The Detroit News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413313208
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Edition description: Seventh Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 768,536
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author


Emily Doskow is a practicing attorney and mediator who has worked with families in the Bay Area for more than 15 years. She specializes in family law, including adoption, parentage issues, domestic partnership formation and dissolution, and divorce. She is a graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Lina Guillen earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is an experienced trial attorney, with over 12 years of practice in a wide range of legal matters, including civil litigation and family law. As a Nolo editor, Lina has edited a variety of Nolo books, written numerous legal articles and is the author of Nolo’s Divorce, Custody & Family Law blog. 

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Neighbors and Legal Questions
1.  Tackling a Neighbor Problem
Get Prepared
Approach the Neighbor
Turn to the Authorities for Help
Try Mediation
Take the Neighbor to Court

2.  Noise
Laws Against Noise
What to Do

3.  When a Tree Is Injured or Destroyed
Who Owns a Tree?
An Owner's Rights When a Tree Is Damaged
What the Tree Owner Can Sue For
Criminal Penalties
What to Do If a Neighbor Damages Your Tree
Preventing Damage

4.  Encroachment: Invading Branches and Roots
Looking for Help
Trimming a Neighbor's Tree: The Right of Self-Help
When a Neighbor Can Sue
Going to Court

5.  Unsound Limbs and Trees
Getting Help From the City Government
Trimming a Neighbor's Tree: The Right of Self-Help
Ask the Owner to Trim the Tree
Suing to Prevent Damage
Homeowners' Insurance
After Damage From an Unsound Tree

6.  Boundary Trees
Ownership
Co-Owners' Responsibilities
Damage to or Removal of a Boundary Tree

7.  Fruit and Nuts: Who Owns What?
Who Owns the Tree?
Fruit That Has Fallen
Avoiding Problems

8.  Obstruction of View
The Basic Rule: No Right to a View
View Ordinances
Subdivision Rules That Protect Views
Other Laws That May Protect Views
Views That Are Not Legally Protected
Avoiding View Problems

9.  Boundary Lines
Settling Uncertain Boundary Lines
When a Neighbor Doesn't Honor the Boundary

10.  Using Another's Land: Trespass and Easements
Trespassers Who Become Owners
Easements

11.  Fences
Rural Areas: Fencing Livestock In or Out
Urban Fences
Property Line (Boundary) Fences
Disputes Over Boundaries
Sharing a Fence That Is Not on the Boundary

12.  Spite Fences
General Restrictions on Fence Height
What Is a Spite Fence?
Negotiating With the Neighbor
Going to Court

13.  Dangers to Children: Attractive Nuisances
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Taking Necessary Precautions
Seeking Legal Help

14.  Rural Neighbors and the Right to Farm
Ordinary Nuisance Rules
Right-to-Farm Laws
What Neighbors Can Do

15.  Water
When the Neighbor Is Liable for Damage
When the Neighbor May Not Be Liable for Damage
What the Neighbor at Fault Must Pay For
What to Do If You Suffer Water Damage
Rights to Water

16.  When Your Neighbor Is a Business
Zoning Laws
Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
Home-Based Businesses
Other Laws Protecting You and Your Property
Expect a Compromise
What to Do When the Law Favors You
When the Law Favors the Business

17.  Other Common Neighbor Disputes
Blighted Property
Weeds, Rubbish, and Garbage
Loud and Offensive Language
Drug Dealers
Animal Problems
Second-Hand Smoke
Vehicles
Outdoor Lights

18.  Legal Research
Local Laws
State Statutes
Case Law

19.  Mediation
What Is Mediation?
How to Find a Mediator
How Mediation Works

20.  Small Claims Court
What Is Small Claims Court?
Preparing for Small Claims Court
How Small Claims Court Works

Appendixes
1.  State Statutes on Injury to Trees
2.  State Statutes on Private Nuisance
3.  Boundary Fence Statutes
4.  Adverse Possession Statutes
5.  Right-to-Farm Statutes
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