Author Topic: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!  (Read 15909 times)

dragoncar

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Re: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!
« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2015, 12:16:28 PM »
Since the neighbor is the one who has mangled them, and he thinks he has property rights to them, maybe he should pay for cutting down he mangles messes.

Well, we want the trees so cutting them down would be even worse

Mr. Green

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Re: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!
« Reply #51 on: September 22, 2015, 01:31:57 PM »
I feel like your attitude should depend on whether you neighbor really believed they were his trees. Had you had conversations about it previously and stated they were your trees? If he thinks they're his, why would he ask your permission to cut them down if he really hates them? Maybe he felt like he was being a good neighbor to you by not cutting them completely down because you want the privacy.

But if he did know the ownership of said trees was questionable and your attitude that they stay then it absolutely was a dick move and I've be super pissed as well. The topping doesn't look bad, he paid the bill, and you still have your privacy so I could think of a worse situation to come home to. I definitely wouldn't split the bill though since you were never even told what the price was or that the work was actually being done.

dragoncar

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Re: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!
« Reply #52 on: September 22, 2015, 06:45:19 PM »
I feel like your attitude should depend on whether you neighbor really believed they were his trees. Had you had conversations about it previously and stated they were your trees? If he thinks they're his, why would he ask your permission to cut them down if he really hates them? Maybe he felt like he was being a good neighbor to you by not cutting them completely down because you want the privacy.

But if he did know the ownership of said trees was questionable and your attitude that they stay then it absolutely was a dick move and I've be super pissed as well. The topping doesn't look bad, he paid the bill, and you still have your privacy so I could think of a worse situation to come home to. I definitely wouldn't split the bill though since you were never even told what the price was or that the work was actually being done.

We had previously discussed it in a roundabout manner, and I do think the neighbor didn't completely cut them down as a combination of trying to be neighborly and being unsure about the property line.  In this thread I have bluster, but it's true that no survey has been done.  Neither of us are really sure, and it's possible some trees are his, some are mine. 

The biggest surprise was that one day we are discussing taking 10 ft off and getting a quote, the next day there are 5 tree dudes in my yard (that is not disputable) making a huge mess and taking off way more than 10 ft. 

I'm sure my neighbor has a good faith belief they are his trees.  But why come and seek my approval just to turn around and act unilaterally?  I think again they wanted to be a good neighbor but also wanted to split the cost, which could only happen if we were on board.

I personally think they look fine, I just hope they live.  I don't think the tree guy was super knowledgeable since it looks like they climbed with spikes (another no-no for trees you want to keep).  Again why I would have rented a cherry picker

bsmith

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Re: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!
« Reply #53 on: September 22, 2015, 07:03:33 PM »
1. Hell no, don't pay a dime.
2. Get the survey and find out exactly where the property line is. Didn't you have one when you bought the house? Check your paperwork. Also check with the county to see if they have one. You have to resolve this question ASAP. Otherwise, that neighbor is going to assume the property line is where they want it to be, and start jacking with it more without your permission.
3. After you get the survey, call the company that did it and ask WTF? Do they often do work like this? Tell them you're going to nform the BBB, Yelp, Google Business, etc. if necessary. If you have to pay for the survey, get the company to compensate you at least that much to avoid a lawsuit.

Jack

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Re: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!
« Reply #54 on: September 22, 2015, 08:39:05 PM »
So does everyone still think I should pony up the dough for an expensive survey?  I'm not sure it would change anything at this point, unless the neighbor decides to chop them down.  Trees will not need to be re-topped for maybe 10 years?

...

No, they looked like normal cypresses before... it looks like the contractor sheared the branches off the trunk towards the top before taking the top down.  The trees looked OK to begin with -- on par with other cypresses in the neighborhood.

Let's be clear here: the trees are fucked. Even if they manage not to die outright from the excessive pruning, they'll never grow back correctly -- cypress just don't work that way. (IMO, trees like that should never be topped at all, not even a little bit.) At best, your neighbors have imposed a maintenance problem on you for the foreseeable future. Walter Reeves, a gardening expert in my area, has this to say:

Quote
Never reduce a Leyland’s height by more than a third. Once topped, it must be maintained; otherwise multiple leaders develop, producing a weaker, atypical top. If you need to remove 3 or more feet of height, do it in late February. Always prune back to a branch; never leave a stub. Understand that this becomes a regular commitment of your time to properly care for the plant.

Since the neighbor is the one who has mangled them, and he thinks he has property rights to them, maybe he should pay for cutting down he mangles messes.

Well, we want the trees so cutting them down would be even worse

IMO, if they are indeed your trees then you would be within your rights to force your neighbor to pay to cut the trees down, replace them with gigantic ones the same size as they were before the pruning, and to pay for professional care to make sure the new trees didn't die before establishing themselves.

Cathy

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Re: Neighbor chopped my trees in half!
« Reply #55 on: September 22, 2015, 09:28:28 PM »
I was curious whether there might be any legal theory that would allow dragoncar to recover the cost of the land survey from the neighbours. Looks like probably not. "Fees of experts not ordered by the court" and "[i]nvestigation expenses in preparing the case for trial" are not recoverable as costs unless "expressly authorized by law". Cal Civ Proc Code §§ 1033.5(b)(1), (2). I located only one possible statutory basis to potentially recover land survey costs. Specifically, "[i]f an offer made by a plaintiff is not accepted and the defendant fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award in any action or proceeding", then "the court ... in its discretion, may require the defendant to pay a reasonable sum to cover postoffer costs of the services of expert witnesses ... actually incurred and reasonably necessary in ... preparation for trial". Cal Civ Proc Code § 998(d) (emphasis added). This suggests that dragoncar would need to make a qualifying offer before paying for the land survey, if he wanted to rely on this provision.