Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

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kathyd
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Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by kathyd »

I am at my wit's end!

We've never gotten along with the couple next door, but then no one else does either. They were extremely well off. When we moved in, they were older, childless and seemingly friendless. He was a securities adviser. Her major activity was calling the city to report people for every little thing. We tried to be friendly. The wife was hot and cold, sometimes nice, other times downright abusive. He would walk by regularly on the way to work, would ignore me when I spoke. A sad situation. The wife has since passed away and the husband is ill, has round the clock home health aides.

My main worry now is a large tree that sits close to a stone wall on the edge of my back yard. Our homes sit on a hill, so it's about a 15 foot drop from the wall into my backyard, about ten feet from the corner of my house. The tree is now a 30 foot tall rotting trunk.

I've been trying for several years to get the tree removed. Most of it is on the neighbor's property, maybe a quarter on mine. My only access to the tree is on the narrow stone wall, which is crumbling from the roots of the tree. They man literally talks to no one in the neighborhood and doesn't answer his door. I sent a letter to him and was assured by the person that does work around his house that he would look into having it removed. Nothing happened. I've talked a few more times to his handyman and to his home health aides. Nothing happened.

I called the city. After my third call, the inspector came out. He cited my other neighbor (the good one) for two dead trees way in the rear of his property. He cited me for the tree I was complaining about, most of which is not on my property and I don't have any safe access to. I called the city and the inspector came out and agreed that it wasn't my tree and cited the real owner. Nothing happened.

One of the man's aides gave me the name of his "power of attorney", someone in the securities firm that the neighbor had been a partner in. I've talked to this man repeatedly. He's been very nice and finally had a tree company look at it. He's assured me on several occasions that it would be taken out. This has gone on for a couple of months and I only hear from him when I call a couple of times. Last week, the tree company came out and told me they were taking it down. They planned to drop it down from the crumbling stone wall into my yard, then dispose of it by pushing it down the wooded hill in back. After dropping some limbs into my yard and inquiring whether I really used the light in my yard, they left.

Now I find out from the tree company that they left because they really need to take it out from the owner's side. However, he won't allow them to take their large truck with a lift into his yard to cut it down. He's worried that it might cause cracks in his drive, which is already cracked.

So where do I go from here? Do I call the city again, an attorney maybe. I will keep following up with the poor guy who is trying to persuade him to go ahead with the arrangements. It's a dangerous situation. Hope this all makes sense.

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pqtex
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by pqtex »

Kathy, do you know who is the insurer for your neighbor? Because the neighbor and his POA are aware of the tree's dangerous condition, it is considered negligence if it causes property damage or injures someone. It is a different situation from a storm knocking down a previously healthy tree or limbs. I learned about this kind of thing when my neighbor hired a fly-by-night tree service who botched the job, dropped it on my property by accident and destroyed a prized magnolia tree, damaged a pine tree and a section of my fence. There's an old thread about this somewhere here. At any rate, if you can find out who the insurer is, maybe you can notify them, and they can contact the POA about having the tree removed safely. They will probably require them to take care of this and will carry more clout than you.
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kathyd
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by kathyd »

I thought about that, but have no idea who the insurer is. I don't imagine that it's something that anyone involved would be giving out.

SkipW
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by SkipW »

On another note, if the city cited YOU for the tree, maybe that gives YOU the power to take it down. I always hate to involve attorneys in anything (sorry to those here!) but maybe you can take it down from where ever is the safest, even his property, as you have been the one cited. An attorney could tell you or find out I suppose.

You would have to make certain the citation allowed such access, and it would cost you. But at least it would be down.
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Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right. - - - Henry Ford

Schag
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by Schag »

Better to ask for forgiveness than permission in a case like this.
Just take it down and deny all knowledge. 8)

kathyd
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by kathyd »

Thanks everyone. I would take it down from my side if I could. However, there is now way to bring a truck into the back, and really no way to access the tree which sits about 15 feet up on the top of the stone wall. So any sawing will have to be done from the neighbor's side, and I'm sure he'd notice the lift truck in his back yard. He'd call the police in a second if he saw it.

The man who has his power of attorney is really trying to get him to agree to things. So I'll give him a few more days, then contact the city again.

pqtex
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Beaumont, Texas

Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by pqtex »

I don't know the rules in your area, but isn't there some kind of property easement that allows you to do maintenance and repairs to your property (such as a fence) from his side? Seems like maybe you could use that rule to help with the fence thing. It's a shame, but sounds like you may have to get an attorney involved for this. What about the city? You've been in contact with them, this is a dangerous hazard, and it seems like they could force him to take action or they would do it themselves. Good luck.
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kathyd
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by kathyd »

I know my abstract discusses an easement across the back of his property, but that's not close enough and there are other downed trees there, so nothing could get through. However, if nothing is done soon I will discuss my options with the city.

I did just get an email from his Power of Attorney. He says that the tree people said the tree was too weak to climb (that's not hard to see) and they will be bringing a bucket tree in this week. Of course this is the fourth time I've been told that something will be done right away. So we'll see. I did not mention to Greg (POA) that I had spoken to the tree person and knew that they owner is being a jerk about letting the truck come in.

I'll keep everyone updated.

SkipW
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Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by SkipW »

Sounds like progress. I bet the POA has realized that it is a danger that the owner is aware of, thus an insurance or lawsuit claim waiting to happen if it were to come down and do damage.

Good luck!
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Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right. - - - Henry Ford

kathyd
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 11:57 am
Location: Alton, Illinois
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Re: Dangerous tree/uncooperative neighbor

Post by kathyd »

Of course I am making sure to save my emails and phone messages in case anything does happen. I'm sure the POA realizes the problems. He's just dealing with a mean nasty man who doesn't care.

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