Homeowners: Give me your thoughts on this neighbor ordeal

  1. We own a home on the corner of a cul-de-dac, so we officially have 'one' neighbor. We have a fence that surrounds our house and since we moved in two years ago, have planned on replacing it.

    Last week, our fence guy came out to start tearing down the portion between our house and our neighbors. The builder let them know he would be 'in' their backyard as an act of politeness, upon our request. They said ok...then immediately came out and started questioning why it was being done, why hadn't they been consulted, etc. My dh explained the fence was ours.... They then asked if they could see the wood type to 'ok it'. The builder was pissed as he said they were very rude to him. THen...there's a small tree that grew from a 'wild sapling' that stands right in the middle of the fence, and actually broke the existing fence. The neighbor doesn't want the small tree removed. He wants up to either build our fence 'around' the tree...or...stop the fence then start it up again on the other side. My husband agreed for awhile, but I guess I put my foot down and just said how ridiculously stupid I thought it was...and now he's agreed.
    The problem...that whole side of the fence is finished aside from the small portion around that tree as we're waiting...I guess on approval from our neighbor, which technically we don't need. Yesterday, I went over and just told him that I apologized but thought it was stupid and that I wasn't going to pay money for a fence that looked like that and as well, the tree could continue to grow and then break the new one apart in five years time. He said he didn't know who's fence it was. He said it was just all of a sudden and surprised them and if they had known they would have even offered to pay some. I told him 'you still can'...of course...changed the subject quick. I told him I didn't understand why we needed to get his approval on a home improvement to our home and that when we got a new sofa, I didn't call him.
    Now...what to do. He said his gf was out of town and she would contact me. But, we're ready to move on and if we pull the tree out (he's ADAMENT that we DO NOT do that) I'm afraid a **** storm will occur w/people we've lived harmoniously w/up until this point. BUT...it's on our property line...and basically yesterday, I was just being courteous by giving them a heads up.
    So we're waiting....for a show down?? I don't know. Should we call them and say, we're sorry, we understand your feelings for the tree and you're more than welcome to pay for someone to replant it in your yard"....then do it regardless of their reaction...or...just do it?
    I've always lived in harmony w/those around me and am not wanting that to change...but I think this is ridiculous!
    (I have to go run errands...so if you give me some feedback, i'll check back and respond in a few hours. TIA)
  2. You might want to consult an attorney on this one. If he is being petty about the tree, he might be the type to try to sue you if you pull it out. The suit might not go anywhere, but it could still be a pain for you.
  3. yeah, i would just make sure with an attorney that you can take the tree out without any legal actions taken against you. then i would just do it. i have this family living behind me with 5 kids and the fence between us is very shabby 1950's but neither one of us wants to replace it ...
  4. call the county office where you received your fence permit and inquire what the procedure is. your neighbor is an ass! #1, it is none of his concern what wood type you are using. some people are just so damn miserable!!!
  5. Just build another fence on your side of the property line. You know, tightly against the existing fence but on your side.
  6. If the tree is on your property, it's yours period. If you want to cut it down then you have every right to! And it's likely to cause damage to your new fence like it did your old one, I'm sure. Your neighbors are overstepping here bigtime. It's NONE of their business what kind of wood you're using, good grief! If they want a tree, you could be nice & buy them a small one from a nursery for them to plant or better yet, tell THEM where the nearest nursery is & tell them to buy their own tree.

    I have a older retired farmer guy that lives by me & has a row of old trees on the property line. We also have a privacy fence along the same property line. We, as good neighbors & for the sake of arguing with him (he's grumpy & has had altercations with other neighbors over everything), pay to have HIS trees trimmed back from our fence. It's his responsibility but.... He also had 2 very large old trees fall over into another neighbors yard. That neighbor had to pay to have the trees cut up & hauled away. They are extremely lucky it didn't fall on their house!

    On a side note...Before we had our fence put up, we had to ask permission from the homeowner's associaton. We had to submit a sketch & they had to look over & approve the plans & vote on it. It was ridiculous! Then there were people in the neighborhood bickering about it. People that didn't even live near us! I hate HOA's... too many people worrying about what other's are doing & not enough about themselves!
  7. or, if you haven't already done so, get your APN from the county or hire a surveyor to delineate your property line. If the tree and fence are completely within your property line, you can do with them both as you wish.

    If your neighbor doesn't like your wood choice, he is more than welcome to build another fence of his choosing on HIS property.

    good luck!!
  8. If the tree is on your property, you should have the right to do what you want with it.

    (But it might be a nice gesture, if it's possible, to move the tree instead of cutting it down.)
  9. ITA :yes:
    rude rude rude!

  10. I'd tell him that if he wants to pay to move it to his side of the property, then you're fine with that. If not, it's coming down.

    I guess, you could be generous and offer to move it for him.
  11. I would just call and let him know he's got until such and such a time to re-plant the tree, or else it goes. It should be on your schedule, not his. Anyways, its absolutely none of his business anyways, but I understand you wanting to keep the peace.
  12. I agree, See if they would like the little tree transplanted to their property instead of just cutting it down. Maybe that will satisfy both parties.
  13. These issues are very sticky and the laws vary from state to state. The problem is often determining exactly WHERE the property line IS. Often you need to have it surveyed to know for sure. In general, from a legal standpoint, you cannot remove any trees from the boundary of two properties until you know who it belongs to- UNLESS it is posing an imminent danger. I would not proceed with anything until you have the property formally surveyed. If the neighbor has encroached on your property in any way, then they are liable and visa-versa. Surveys are not cheap but it's better safe than sorry, at least then you'll know where your property is and the neighbor really can't do much to complain about what you do within the boundaries of your property. An attorney can also help you get your property surveyed. Don't depend on county records or old plat maps, because many times they are outdated and/or inaccurate. Whatever you do, don't touch anything till you know where the boundary is or you could be liable for possible civil damages. In my state it is three times damages plus property damage.

    I learned all about this last summer when a tree fell over our driveway from the neighbor's property and it was right on the property line. That tree was removed because it was an emergency but another tree was dangerously leaning. We had to wait to get permission from the neighboring property to remove it. Our HOA atty. was adamant about this and that's how I learned all about how sticky these issues can become.

    Also, if you do ANYTHING, get it in writing. I would make the neighbor sign a release allowing the fence guy on his property and for anything that is removed with their permission, you need it in writing.
  14. My daughter was in a similar situation to you, but reversed!

    She woke up early on a Saturday morning to find 2 men in her garden, trampling all over their borders and damaging shrubs etc, removing a party fence!!

    She had a problem, mainly due to the height of the fence, as her neighbours garden is 3' higher than hers, and so it was over 9' on her side, and it was blocking the light totally from her kitchen window.

    She went round to see the neighbour. She is a Property Litigation Lawyer, so knows the ins and outs of the rules regarding shared boundaries etc. This particular neighbour did not know she had any legal background, so was obviously a bit shocked.

    It was quickly sorted and everything worked out ok, but it could well have caused a great deal of bad feeling.

    I hope you manage to resolve the situation without too much upset.
  15. Like pp's have mentioned you need to get your property surveyed. It can be expensive but it is well worth it & can save you unnecessary headaches down the road.