Is it legal to water trees and shrubbery of a neighbor's home which has gone into foreclosure? It's vacant

Asked by Liz, California Sun May 10, 2009

and bank-owned, but clearly isn't being maintained and the trees are on the verge of death. I heard someone say legally I can't, since it's not my property; and if the tree in fact does die, I could be at fault for negligent watering - even though I may have just been trying to be a Good Samaritan. Is there any truth to that? What are your thoughts on maintenance of foreclosed properties? I realize once an REO property makes it to market, then it will be the listing broker's responsibility for maintenance on behalf of the bank ... but until then, is there pretty much nothing other neighbors can/should do about the pitiful state of an REO home's landscaping?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Mon May 11, 2009
the state legislature passed a law that requires (see link).

I would discuss your concerns with the local Dept. of Neighborhood Services. There are probably other concerns and other properties in a similar state. According to the law the owner of record is required to maintain the properties.
0 votes
Ed Favinger, Agent, Folsom, CA
Sun May 10, 2009

I agree with the previous post to your question...

It is the sign of the times Isn't it....? So amazing that in this day and age.... that before we do what we reasonably know to be the "right thing"... we think of the "what if's" in terms of liability.. of someone coming after us...? It says something about our society doesn't it...?

To the question.... If it was me...? I'd mow the yard.. at least the front.. water it and help keep my neighborhood looking good... I bet if you did it... and a neighbor saw you...? They'd thank you....

I hope this helps...
0 votes
Chris Mabry…, , Tucson, AZ
Sun May 10, 2009
Very, very interesting question. I commend you for wanting to keep up the appearence of your neighborhood. We could use more homeowners with that kind of attitude. I say water the darn trees! I really dobt that anyone is going to care. Not to mention, who is going to try to inforce that? I think our law inforcement has more important things to worry about than illegal watering. If you are concerned about the legal ramifications, then do a little web research and find a hotline to call. I'm not sure where to send you to do this, but I'm sure you can find some legal info. You may want to start by just calling your local police department's non emergency line. They could probably tell you where to go from there. I do agree, the state of landscaping on the distressed property is very unfortunate. I feel bad for the poor plants! :)
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more