In Georgia, a person may not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of another person’s property. Georgialaw recognizes that exclusive possession of ones property is one of the sticks in the bundle of rights possessed by all property owners.
In general, no government or individual can trespass on a person’s property. Each trespass give rise to a breach of a legal duty and causes damages that a court may award to a property owner.
Most people understand trespass to mean a physical invasion of their property, such as where someone ignores a “No Trespassing” sign and steps foot over a property line.
However, trespass is not limited to a physical invasion by a person. Georgia also recognizes that causing a physical interference with another person’s property on a repeated basis constitutes as continuing trespass. Accordingly, a person who directs sewerage, silt, trash, dust, or storm water onto another land owner can be liable for a trespass on a continuing basis. Georgia Superior Courts may enjoin and prohibit a trespass that occurs repeatedly.
Common claims for a trespass include physical invasions, and acts of cutting trees without permission. Use of a private driveway or right of way without permission of the owner can constitute a trespass, as can the direction of water on to another.
Trespass is not limited to the owner of title to a property. Another property owner that enjoys an easement of use of a driveway or private road over another person’s property may also have a claim of trespass to his easement rights if he is blocked from the lawful use of the driveway.
Teague & Chambless’ attorneys have litigated and addressed trespass claims in state trial courts across Georgia and have handled and argued appeals in the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals involving property rights. The claims handled range from cutting trees to easements and entry ways and drainage problems.
In addition to enjoining a continuing trespass, a property owner can recover damages due to a decrease in property values, the value of trees or other things removed from property, the costs of repair, and general damages to compensate for the interference with property rights. Punitive damages and attorneys’ fees may also be awarded.