Cut And pasted from “California Real Estate Law”
An encroachment is an object or structure that extends over a property boundary onto neighboring land or into neighboring airspace, without the neighbor’s permission. The most common examples of encroachments are fences, buildings, and tree branches. In many cases, an encroachment is unintentional and simply results from a mistake as to the exact location of the boundary between the neighboring properties.
Example: Alexi and Amanda are neighbors. When Alexi builds an addition to his garage, he inadvertently extends the structure over the boundary line and onto Amanda’s property. That portion of the garage is an encroachment.
A court may classify an encroachment as either a trespass or a nuisance, or both, and the reasoning behind the classification isn’t always clear. An encroachment that physically rests on the land (such as the garage in the example) is generally treated as a violation of the landowner’s right of exclusive possession, and therefore a trespass. On the other hand, an encroachment that intrudes into the airspace (such as an overhanging tree branch) is more likely to be regarded as a substantial interference with use and enjoyment, and therefore a nuisance. Although this distinction can affect the parties’ rights in some cases[…]”
Excerpt From: Henry, Dawn. “California Real Estate Law.” Rockwell Publishing, 2016-08-16. iBooks.
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