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Discussion Starter #1
I already know the standard answer will probably be, "contact an attorney." That said, I still would like to hear people's take on this situation.

I own a rental house. We were going to sell it before we bought the farm, but the real estate market is real soft in my area and I would have lost money on it. I chose to rent it instead. We've been renting to the same folks for two years with no problems. (Thank you Lord for outstanding renters!) The neighborhood is a mid- to upper- middle income subdivision about 5 miles out of town, not the type you normally expect to see rental houses in. Each lot is 1/2 acre. This home is one of the original homes in the subdivision.

My problem is coming from folks who recently bought the house next to the rental. There are mature maple trees between the driveways that sit on the property line. In 1994 I had a chain-link fence installed in the backyard and had a surveyor come out to make sure the fence was placed properly. I was told by my renters that these new neighbors planned on removing these trees. I spoke with the lady last night. She told me flat out that they would be removed. She was going to put in a new cement driveway because of "all the nasty dust and rocks" and at least one of the trees just had to go because it's roots were in the way. It was going to cost her $1,000 and then she would have a landscaper come in and also she had to enlarge the 2 car deep garage to make is adequate. (No lady, I'm not impressed by you going into debt.)

I told her that the trees were on the property line and she just couldn't remove them. She told me that she already called the city and they were going to send out a person to paint the property lines. I laughed and informed her that the subdivision was not in town and she needed to hire a surveyor from the county. I told her it was done 10 years prior and I could show her the property pins, one which grew into the tree in question.

The tree she is adamant about taking down does run underneath the cement portion of her driveway, but it is also them main shade from the afternoon summer sun for my house. When I told her this, she sneered, "You mean for your garage." I reiterated, "No, for my house. The canopy is large and the shade extends beyond the garage and onto the living and dining room in addition to shading my back patio." She just shrugged and said the tree was coming down.

::heavy sigh:: What really bugs me is that she thinks she can just come in and TELL me she is going to do this regardless. I really probably should just say, "Sure, go ahead", but her attitude really bugs me.... A LOT!

Thoughts? comments? suggestions?
 

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Run, don't walk to an attorney. Get a restraining order IMMEDIATELY! You can argue till you're blue in the face but once she cuts the trees down there isn't much you can do.

If you get a restraining order and she goes ahead anyways, then she is in contempt of court AND you can probably get a higher damage award.

Your goal is obviously to PREVENT her from doing it.

As usual, just my 2 cents.

Mike
 
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[Sorry, but if the tree is encroaching on her property she will probably be able to take it down. At least the part above and below ground that is across the property line.
Mike
 

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Unfortunately I agree with (unregistered) Mike about the encroachment. But I don't understand why you made a statement about putting up a fence in the back yard. Are the trees on your side of the fence?

You could always plant a couple of more trees in YOUR yard. Will probably take a few years to provide much shade of course but until that time I guess the renters will have to rough it. Your neighbor sounds like a real jerk, but they have a right to make improvements to their property and if an encroaching tree is in the way, there's not much you can do.
 

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Agreed. I would do the same thing if I was in your neighbors position (however maybe not so rudely).

If you cannot come to some kind of suitable agreement, just plant some new trees farther onto your property, and let her deal with removal of the old tree.
 

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I agree that what the woman does on her side of the property line is her business (with regard to encroaching roots, etc). She cannot just arbitrarily decide to cut down the tree (or at least the portion on Mullers Lane Farm property). If there is any question with regard to whether or not she has the right to do so then a restraining order is appropriate until things get sorted out.

Mike
 

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I agree about speaking to an attorney but its quite possible the problem will solve itself if this tree is very big. If the houses are this close together and the tree that close she has to take it down WITHOUT ANY DAMAGE to your property. That means she just cant go out with her handy chainsaw and drop it some fine morning while you are away from home. Shes gonna have to hire someone licensed to come and take it down a piece at a time with lots of ropes and pulleys and heavy equipment and you can INSIST that it all be done from her side of the fence. I wont even mention the issues that may arise with powerlines, telephone et al. I and a neighbor had a huge tree that had to come down and there was barely 15 feet between the two houses. It cost us 700 bucks and that was 15 years ago. I shudder to think what it might cost us now. She may discover it will cost way more than she cares to pay. BUT get to a lawyer quick. If the tree is on the line you do have some rights and say in the matter. And if her pockets are really deep, theres a final solution, tell her she can get sole rights to the trees by buying the trees and the HOUSE that comes with them. You wanted to sell anyway didnt you? Good luck but dont let her buffalo you or the tenants either. :yeeha:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SteveD(TX) said:
Unfortunately I agree with (unregistered) Mike about the encroachment. But I don't understand why you made a statement about putting up a fence in the back yard. Are the trees on your side of the fence?
The trees (at least 30-40 feet high) sit on the property line. I found this out when I had the yard surveyed when I had my backyard fence put in.

SteveD(TX) said:
You could always plant a couple of more trees in YOUR yard. Will probably take a few years to provide much shade of course but until that time I guess the renters will have to rough it. Your neighbor sounds like a real jerk, but they have a right to make improvements to their property and if an encroaching tree is in the way, there's not much you can do.
Yup, it would take quite a few years for maples to reach the size they currently are.

I've contacted the county zoning board to find out what kind of code governs this. It can't be unique.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
FolioMark said:
That means she just cant go out with her handy chainsaw and drop it some fine morning while you are away from home. Shes gonna have to hire someone licensed to come and take it down a piece at a time with lots of ropes and pulleys and heavy equipment and you can INSIST that it all be done from her side of the fence.
She has already contacted a tree service - they quoted her $1000 to remove this tree.

FolioMark said:
I wont even mention the issues that may arise with powerlines, telephone et al.
All power & phone lines are underground.

FolioMark said:
If the tree is on the line you do have some rights and say in the matter.
That is what I was thinking.

FolioMark said:
And if her pockets are really deep, theres a final solution, tell her she can get sole rights to the trees by buying the trees and the HOUSE that comes with them. You wanted to sell anyway didnt you?
She gave the impression of either deep pockets or plenty of credit.

FolioMark said:
dont let her buffalo you or the tenants either.
I don't intimidate easily!

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mike in Ohio said:
I agree that what the woman does on her side of the property line is her business (with regard to encroaching roots, etc). She cannot just arbitrarily decide to cut down the tree (or at least the portion on Mullers Lane Farm property). If there is any question with regard to whether or not she has the right to do so then a restraining order is appropriate until things get sorted out.

Mike
She actually told me she would cut the roots & trunk on her side of the property line. This would definitely kill the tree and create a hazard for my house.
 
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You could always involve your local tree-hugging organization also, at least as an annoyance factor to the neighbor.

I agree about going after the setback issue. And, if that person does go ahead with taking down the tree, inform them that you will be videotaping and you or some other person will be witnessing said tree removal, and you WILL be calling the city/county to make sure they have the proper environmental permits as well as insurance to make you whole if there are any damages to your fence or house--they may be required to replant, and you might actually find that those trees cannot be removed because they were planted by the county at county expense.
 

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That being the case you are better off having her remove the whole tree.

If she is doing it on her side but creates a hazard to others, that falls under the legal concept of a tort. (disclaimer, I am not a lawyer).

Depending on the tree and the root structure it still might survive. We have a big old oak tree (6 foot diameter trunk) that they ran the gas collection pipeline past (they had an easement). They cut through a couple of large roots in trenching for the pipe. It's been several years and the tree seems to be doing ok.

Mike
 

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Mullers Lane Farm said:
....Yup, it would take quite a few years for maples to reach the size they currently are.

I've contacted the county zoning board to find out what kind of code governs this. It can't be unique.
I seriously doubt if zoning codes will address this. It will be a civil matter.

Tree growth depends on what kind of maple you plant. There are a couple of varieties that are relatively fast-growing, beautiful trees. But they are prone to problems, esp. after they are 15-20 years old. If you plan to sell within the next 15 years, you could plant some silver maples. Find the tallest one you can. I planted one 20 years ago that is now about 40-50 ft. tall and still beautiful. But still considered to be a "trash tree" by many arborists. Another suggestion for a fast grower is the sweet gum. But don't plant one where you want to go barefoot because of the little spiny balls they produce. Plant it where some of the little spiny devils will drop onto your wonderful neighbor's yard. They will love you for it.

I've been involved in several situations similar to this, as a consultant and as a property owner. You can call in the local tree-huggers if you want, but your luck there will largely be determined on the type of area where you live. Tree-wise, that is. Areas where trees are treasured as a scarcity will be more favorable. But in an area where heavily forested areas are plentiful, they will laugh them right out of court. Good luck.
 

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As an attitude of cooperation call the neighbor and tell her to have someone to come in with a trencher and on her side of the tree and on her property to run a trench parallel to the projected driveway. This will prune the roots, protect her drive and not kill the tree and at the same time avoid her of spending a lot of money. I prune the roots, with a subsoiler, of the trees on timber land that adjoins my agriculture fields. This permits me to grow crops adjacent to the trees without the trees undermining the field crop. You need not tell her that eventually the roots will need to be pruned again in the future. She may have moved before that happens. Send her a letter requiring a signature stating receipt that you do not want her to cut the tree. Need to go on record with that part.
 

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Is is possible to negotiate that as part of destroying your "half" of the tree that she pay for the replacement - you can then get one of those huge trees that they sell - some are 20 feet tall already....

If she cuts half of it down then you are on the hook to deal with the other half - and that will be expensive. Getting her to clean up the half on your side and also replacing it with a large tree might be a compromise.

Try to separate out what it is you want and need from the unpleasantness of the person. She's going to be that way regardless - so anything you try to do will not phase her, only cause more agravation for you.
 
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You can get an Attorney, a restraining order, take it to court, the choice is yours. If you do this you will spend alot of money and have alot of stress before it is over. If you choose this option the outcome will probably be the same in the end except you will be out the money for legal fees, stress and probably the judge will have you pay 1/2 the cost for removing the tree. Let her cut it and be done, the grief will not be worth it.
Mike
 

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I would see an attorney and see what the legal recourses are for your state. Each state seems to have different laws about survey lines and what is on them. Check it out and see what your options are. A good attorney shouldn't charge too much for questions and answers. Some states have a state attorney that you can ask for free.

If it were me in your position I would fight for the tree. A large tree like that in excellent condition adds value to your property. I know a homeowner that house burned and his shade trees also were burned as a result. His homeowner insurance had to pay for the trees.

I have fought and won on the electric company and my cedar tree. They wanted to come through and trim it to suit themselves. It is directly under the lines. I was told by my attorney to put a large sign on it, that reads, do not trim tree Contact owner and add the owner and ph #. This worked. They come see me each time they want to bother it and I direct them on what they can trim and how much.

As another suggested, you might just sell the new person [I won't call them neighbor, as they don't sound like a neighbor] the place and she can do whatever she wants with it. She could just extend her garage clear over to your house and have plenty of space.

My 2 ;) c's
 

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...............Personally, I would contact an appraiser and see IF the tree actually ADDS value to Both properties given its location. If, this is the case she should be made aware of the fact that she is reducing the market value of her home as well as yours by removing\killing the tree. ..fordy.. :eek: :)
 

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As an addendum.....can you sue her in small claims court for the reduction in market value if she decides to "Kill" the tree. I would definitely video and document the tree before she can have it cut down.....fordy... :eek: :)
 
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