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Boundary Line and Real Estate Dispute


Disputes between neighbors and adjoining landowners concerning title, boundary lines, fences, landscaping, access and right to use, nuisance and more…. may not be dinner table conversation, but they’re more common than you think.

These kinds of disputes are  HOT TOPICS  always!

We call these cases our “little wars.”

Attorney Jennifer B. Gardner has litigated many of these types of cases.

In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, it’s not unusual for adjoining landowners to disagree over the location of a boundary line, or the obligation to maintain trees and landscaping or boundary line fencing.

This is especially true in neighborhoods, such as the Hollywood Hills, where there are many non-conforming, curve-linear lots.  Not surprisingly, these disputes often spin out of control and escalate into nasty “little wars.”

The California Civil Code codifies the obligations of adjoining landowners. (California Civil Code Section 840, et seq.)  Excessive shrubbery or fences or structures that exceed 10 feet in height may be considered a private nuisance.  (California Civil Code Section 841.4)

Generally speaking, you can trim trees or shrubs that extend from your neighbor’s property onto yours, as long as you don’t damage the plants.  But that doesn’t mean your neighbor will like that.   An act as simple as trimming an over-reaching tree branch has triggered many lawsuits.

As for boundary line fences….. the old saying “good fences make good neighbors” is true.  California law reflects that and provides that neighbors sharing a boundary line are equally responsible for the costs of maintaining/replacing the fence:

“Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties in a written agreement, shall be presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence.” Civ. Code § 841(b)(1).

However, if a fence that’s entirely on the property of one adjoining land owner is not a division fence, there is no mutual responsibility for its upkeep.  And… the location of the fence often leads to bitter disagreements over who is entitled to use what land.

In other words…. one side will claim that the fence is encroaching on their property and that the other side has no right to use the land on their “side” of the fence.

Cases often wind up in court when people disagree about the right to use certain portions of land that one party has used historically to access their property or store things.  Sometimes structures have been built that encroach on to a neighbor’s property.  Things can be fine for years, until they aren’t anymore (for various reasons), leading people to question what their rights are to use that property.

In many of these situations,  surveys and title reports must be prepared to confirm the location of the property line and the existence of an easement.  For many reasons, it’s best to have an attorney communicate with the surveyor rather than the party.

If you need assistance with one of these types of real estate disputes, you can schedule a complimentary 20-minute consultation with Jennifer B. Gardner using this link HERE.

If you are concerned about managing the costs of legal representation, Jennifer B. Gardner has written a legal guide entitled How To Save Money On Legal Fees Before Hiring A Lawyer,” that you can download HERE.  Following the advice in the Guide will help you organize the information relating to your matter and that will make legal representation more efficient and economical.

Cannabis commercial activity image


Cannabis in California is a booming business. In Los Angeles, if it seems like dispensaries are springing up on every corner — it’s because they are.  It’s no surprise that landlords want these types of tenants for their properties, given how lucrative a dispensary can be.

But leasing your property to a cannabis business can be a legal minefield.  The problem is, many dispensaries are not licensed with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control or the Los Angeles County Department of Cannabis Regulation.  This creates a huge risk to the health and safety of the general public who see the  green emblem in the window and assume they are purchasing medically safe and effective cannabis.  Liability for this risk trickles down to unsuspecting landlords.

Here’s where things get dicey:  entrepreneurs looking to open a cannabis dispensary must have a written lease agreement for a physical location before they can obtain a license permitting them to engage in “commercial cannabis activity.”

So what happens if you’re a landlord and your tenant is selling cannabis without a license?  This can create a multitude of issues and legal liability for you and your continued ownership of your property.

We are experienced in handling cannabis lease issues and cannabis real property disputes.  Call 310-694-9855 for a complimentary case evaluation, or book your consultation using this scheduling link.  Or email Jennifer Gardner directly: jgardner@jgardnerassociates.com to discuss your case.

Attorney Jennifer B. Gardner Business Litigation


Conflict in matters of money and business is an inevitable part of life.

Representing enterprises and entrepreneurs in handling them is our stock and trade.

As a Los Angeles business litigation attorney for three decades, Jennifer B. Gardner has represented hundreds of businesses and the individuals who run them in various types of disputes involving:

  • dissolution of corporation/partnership/LLC
  • unfair business practices
  • trade libel and defamation
  • interference with contract
  • fraud
  • breach of contract
  • accounts receivable
  • theft of intellectual property
  • accountings
  • employment, including class action wage and hour litigation
  • partnership disputes
  • securities fraud
  • purchase and sales disputes
  • breach of fiduciary duty – against advisers, accountants, corporate officers and directors and more

Jennifer B. Gardner started her career in the entertainment world, and expanded her practice to represent different industries in Southern California, including aerospace and circuit board manufactures, film makers (studios, distributors and production companies), real estate brokerages and agents, restauranteurs, online entrepreneurs and social media influencers, and startups.

She has extensive experience trying these cases before juries, as well as in seeking and opposing right to attach and possession orders, applications for provisional injunctive relief, civil contempt of court, expunging lis pendens, and anti-SLAPP motions.

These are just a few examples of the types of matters Los Angeles attorney Jennifer B. Gardner has handled.  To learn more or to obtain a complimentary case evaluation, contact her by calling 310-694-9855 or schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking here


Here is a list of the typical real estate disputes that Los Angeles Real Estate lawyer Jennifer Gardner has litigated throughout her career:

  1. problems between individual owners and homeowners associations
  2. neighbor conflicts (these often escalate and can become violent)
  3. real estate fraud (usually between home buyers, sellers and brokers, and often involving a failure to disclose)
  4. nuisance (interference with use and enjoyment of property)
  5. resulting trust (where one person pays to purchase the property but the deed is in someone else’s name)
  6. partition (where you ask the court to sell a property and divide the proceeds between co-owners)
  7. specific performance (forcing performance of a contractual obligation – ex., “Sell me the property like you promised!”)
  8. quiet title (disputes over who is entitled to “legal” ownership – ex. “Why am I not on the deed?!”)
  9. adverse possession (where by operation of law you acquire property over time even though title is not in your name)
  10. encroachments, including structures, trees and shrubbery and landscaping (trees and roots and property damage)
  11. boundary line fencing issues
  12. land use and zoning issues
  13. building code violations
  14. boundary line disputes and easements (where does my property begin and yours end, and rights to access and use)
  15. commercial lease disputes between landlords and tenants,
  16. title disputes and profit sharing disputes between co-owners and partners,
  17. breach of contract and fiduciary duty,
  18. residential lease disputes (landlord-tenant) and more.

As you can see from this list, real estate disputes often encompass many different types of legal issues.  They can involve conflicts concerning the location of boundary lines, construction defects, encroachments (i.e., trees, landscaping and fences and sometimes entire structures) and more.  They also can arise where a purchaser fails to pay, requiring the trust deed holder to file a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure action to foreclose on the property.

Legal issues often arise when individuals enter into creative financing arrangements to purchase property. Problems occur when they don’t nail down the terms of their agreements adequately before acquiring the property.  This is a frequent cause of protracted litigation.  Often experts (surveyors, appraisers, economic experts, arborists) are required to be hired so that the parties have enough information to be able to resolve their issues.

Another common scenario:  non-married persons acquiring property together.  When the relationship sours, even if it’s not a romantic relationship, it’s common for disputes and questions to arise concerning who owes and owns how much.  Commonly co-owners don’t agree on when to sell a property, or one owner may contend that the other has breached the contract.  Or, one person can pay all the funds, yet not be on title, which can lead to a claim for resulting trust.

When parties and even family members can’t agree on when or whether to sell their real property, Jennifer Gardner has litigated partition disputes to force the sale and have the proceeds divided.  These lawsuits are often filed  by former romantic partners, siblings, and friends, and can also involve allegations of breach of contract, resulting trust and fraud.

Jennifer Gardner handles partnership disputes and dissolutions of every kind – whether between family members, former usually unmarried domestic partners, business partners, members of Limited Liability Companies, and even shareholders vying for control.

More About Typical Real Disputes Handled By Los Angeles Real Estate Attorney Jennifer Gardner….


Los Angeles County and the numerous cities that comprise it (i.e., The City of Culver City, The City of Beverly Hills, The City of West Hollywood, Pasadena, and the like) have municipal codes which govern how land owners can use land owned within their borders.  The three main types of districts (“zones”) that are established in a municipality are residential, commercial and industrial zones.

Cities have elaborate restrictions and rules establishing what types of buildings can be built or permitted, the size/height/location of the structures, the number of rooms within the building(s), and more.  Problems arise when an owner uses land in a way that violates the municipal codes.  For example, your neighbor’s fence could violate the Building & Safety Code if it is outside of the height restrictions.  This can create a nuisance for neighbors and jeopardize the public safety.  Sometimes owners can even face criminal charges when they allegedly fail to comply with the City’s regulations and building and safety codes.


Landlord-tenant disputes can include who is responsible for property repairs, issues of rent, tenant rights, rules on entry and upkeep, and more.  Nuisance is a very big issue these days — especially during the pandemic when many people work from home.  Jennifer Gardner has concentrated on representing clients in commercial lease disputes.

If a lease is not thoroughly understood or is unclear when signed, misunderstandings frequently lead to disputes.   A commercial landlord’s failure to provide services required by a lease can lead to business disputes with a tenant claiming lost profits from interference with business in addition to breach of the lease.

In rent controlled cities, such as The City of West Hollywood, an extra layer of statutory provisions govern the rights and remedies of residential landlords and tenants – often but not always to the tenant’s advantage.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, contact Jennifer B. Gardner to discuss your matter with her and find out what to do to protect your legal rights.  Email her at jgarnder@jgardnerassociates.com, or schedule a consultation here.


Legal problems never come at a good time.

If you’re like most people, there usually aren’t thousands of extra dollars sitting around waiting for when you have a legal issue.

Most people try to solve things on their own, until they end up completely stressed out and wondering if perhaps they made things worse.

Sometimes my clients are as anxious about what to do as they are about the problem itself.   This is totally normal, especially when you don’t know who to turn to for help.

If you want less stress from attempting to do something very difficult, then you need the advice of a lawyer who’s experienced, who has solved many complex problems like this before, who can put the issues into perspective, gather the evidence, focus on the straightest path to victory and confidently represent you in a courtroom — or at least position your case in the best possible way for when that day comes.

This work starts at the outset of a matter with the very first written communications that are usually sent in an effort to resolve a dispute. It’s advisable to not attempt to resolve your dispute yourself with long protracted email-letter-text-message exchanges with your opponent.  The average civilian means well and passionately believes in their position, but has no idea what and what not to say, does not understand the rules of evidence, and is not emotionally distanced enough from the situation to be able to write an effective letter that states their position in a smart way.

Instead, the words they use in their communications are easily twisted, and that can be extremely damaging to the outcome of their case.   Even the most carefully crafted letter  can be used against you and come back to bite you down the line.

This is why we offer “Demand Letters on Demand” [TM] to help individuals on a limited budget obtain high quality legal advice and positioning of their matter by experienced trial lawyers on terms that don’t break the bank.

We offer flat fee limited scope representation arrangements to assist individuals and businesses on limited budgets who need help with positioning their case, strategy, and demand letter drafting. For more information, contact us, put “demand letter” in the subject line, and we will schedule a time for  us to speak and send you information about our rates.


Jennifer B. Gardner

Jennifer B. Gardner, Esq.

My speciality is developing the story of your case and telling it in a compelling way at every phase of the litigation.

I’ve represented individuals and enterprises of all sizes in business and real estate disputes (just about any kind of dispute concerning money, reputation, intellectual property, real property and corporate/partnership dissolutions).   I also spent years as a criminal defense trial lawyer, defending individuals accused of serious felonies involving allegations of sexual assault, rape, murder, kidnapping, domestic violence, robbery, and cyberbullying, stalking and harassment.

I am one of those rare attorneys with both criminal and civil trial experience, which helps me when representing clients accused of sexual assault in civil cases who are targets of ongoing criminal investigations or proceedings.  Although these days I rarely accept criminal cases, that experience informs every aspect of my current work for my clients.

My expertise is weaving a compelling, persuasive narrative out of the complex events, emotional dynamics and circumstances of your dispute or legal problem, and developing a messaging strategy around “what happened” that I use to position you in the strongest possible way well before you go to trial.

I’m always a student of advanced persuasion, influential communication skills and trial techniques.  I study and train so that I can better serve my clients.  I also assist clients in need of crisis public relations and communications strategy/management.

As you may have seen, I teach professionals (including lawyers) and business leaders about persuasive communication strategies for business growth and success. I’m a public speaker and M.C.L.E. educator on these topics.

Additionally, for approximately 18 years I’ve served as a part time administrative law judge for the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission where I decide primarily matters involving on and off duty misconduct for law enforcement.

In 2021 I officially became “of counsel” to the law firm of Booth LLP.   Through this affiliation I’m able to provide my clients with even more cost-effective yet high-quality legal representation experience.  Plus, I get to do meaningful work with my friends.

Thank you for visiting this page and taking the time to read this.  I wish you all the best in life and with your legal issue.

TO BOOK A COMPLIMENTARY 20 MINUTE CONSULTATION, EMAIL ME AT jgardner@jgardnerassociates.com or use this scheduling link: https://calendly.com/jgconsult/legal-consultation

“I met Jennifer 8 years ago when I was in need of legal counsel. Little did I know how much work we would be doing together over the course of those 8 years. I’m grateful to all that she brought to the table to help me during this very trying time in my life. She is compassionate, but tough which I feel, is not an easy balance to find, especially in the legal profession. Her wisdom and wealth of knowledge shows in all her interactions. Rest-assured, she always has her clients best interests at heart.”

Catherine E., 2021



If you would like to schedule a confidential and complimentary 20-minute consultation with Los Angeles lawyer Jennifer B. Gardner, you can use the form below to submit a brief description of your matter and we will reply soon. Please be sure to leave a telephone number where we can reach you, preferably a mobile number.


OR EMAIL Jennifer Gardner at jgardner@jgardnerassociates.com

OR CALL 1-310-694-9855


11835 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 600E Los Angeles, CA 90064