I have a villa on the Costa Blanca. My neighbor has planted some very large trees, very close to my land, their roots are causing serious problems to my pool and septic tank, which are very expensive to repair. My neighbor does not want to take any action. Can I cut the roots? Could you advise us what to do ?.
Dear reader, thank you for your enquiry.
First of all, please note that the Spanish Civil Code itself partially regulates this situation in its Articles 591 and 592, which states (with some text re-arranged to aid translation):
trees cannot be planted near to another person’s property but only at the distance authorized by the rules or custom of the place, and in their absence, upto two meters from the boundary of a field if the planting is tall trees, and 50 centimeters if the planting is of shrubs or small trees.
Every owner has the right to ask that trees be uprooted that hereinafter are planted at a lesser distance from their property “
If the branches of trees should extend over a neighboring property, garden or patios, or if the roots of the neighboring trees extend into the land of another person, the extent that they intrude into the neighboring property, could be cut by the owner within his property.”
Therefore, in the case you mentioned, we understand that:
.-If the trees are planted closer to your property than was is permitted by the rules (usually in the Town Hall rules); or in the absence of regulations, then closer than 2 meters, you can ask that the trees (Article 591) be uprooted, and that the owner plant them again at the right distance.
.- Article 592 allows you to cut the roots that cross into your property, but you should be really careful, because if you do it improperly, this could affect the stability of the tree, etc.
.-If it can be proved that any damage to your pool and septic tank are due to the roots from the neighboring trees, we understand that you could claim against your neighbor to pay all costs related to the repair.
Also, we understand that this is what legally is known as continuing damage, therefore, the deadline for claiming begins from when the final damage occurs.
There are many court precedents regarding this possibility to claim for damages caused by roots or branches. To give a couple of examples, the Provincial Court of Alicante in June 4th 2013, and from the Supreme Court in a judgment dated 13th of October 2015.
If you have any questions on this matter, or any legal questions, Contact Us
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
Spanish Law firm solicitor attorney barrister.
Alicante, Denia, Costa Blanca Marina Alta
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