What's the law?
Overgrown mango tree irks neighbor
I rent a house and a portion of my neighbor's mango tree hangs over where I park. Every day mangos fall on my car (from 7-feet above). The rest of the mangos, at least 8 a day, fall around the area surrounding my car. My kids play in that area and I'm afraid they'll get hit while playing or getting in the car. I am also fed up with running over mangos while parking. What are my options?
Answer: From Legal Aid's Housing Unit: A landlord is responsible for defects on the property under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code Section 521-42(a). Are the falling mangoes a defect? It would seem the mangoes could harm your car -- dent it or the acid from the fruit could harm the paint. A falling mango might hurt your child if he/she was hit by one-so this could be seen as a safety issue, and thus a defect, under the Code.
However, your landlord may not consider this seasonal fruiting a safety issue.
If you decide that, in your opinion, the falling mangoes are a safety issue, and thus a defect, you need to notify your landlord IN WRITING of the problem (and any other problems you have with your house). The landlord is then supposed to repair the condition within 12 business days; if the landlord can't begin repairs within the 12-day period for reasons beyond his control, the landlord is supposed to notify you of the reason for the delay and when repairs will start. If your landlord does not repair the defect, you may do the repair, or hire someone to do the repair, and deduct the amount from your rent (you will have to supply receipts). You can't deduct over $500 from your rent in a six month period.
In your case, the repair would be trimming the overhanging branches (in other cases this could be something like fixing a broken screen door). If the defect involves sanitary or habitable living conditions (your toilet doesn't work!) the work must be started within three business days.
Legal Aid has a brochure on this issue, and on many other different subjects. If you call, we can send you a brochure so you know your rights and responsibilities.
This applies not just to housing issues, but to many other common problems. Self-help can often solve a situation quickly.