5298 Satisfied customers
Expert in: Family Law, Legal, Estate Law, Real Estate Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Business Law, Consumer Protection Law, Bankruptcy Law, Traffic Law, Personal Injury Law.
5298 Satisfied customers
Hello – thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to helping you today.
I’ve answered thousands of questions for Just Answer customers since 2008. I have been a licensed attorney since 1986. I help out on Just Answer to help people like you.
I am very selective about which questions I answer, and I picked yours because I really feel for you and feel that I can help you today!
Just Answer works a little bit differently from what you may expect from a “chat” – we may write back and forth right away, but sometimes there may be a gap of an hour or two – you or I may need to attend to something in our personal lives and return later. I am here to help you, and I will ALWAYS write back to you.
If you see something about a phone call, please be aware that that comes from Just Answer, not me. I prefer writing, because that way I can take my time researching answers to your questions, and I can send you links to the information I find. If you would like to talk by phone, I’d prefer to schedule an appointment.
Please give me a few minutes to carefully review what you provided and put together a few initial thoughts and questions. I’ll be right back.
In the meantime, please give me any additional information that you think would be helpful – I want to make sure that I am as helpful as possible to you today! We’ll have plenty of time for further discussion, too.
Hello – thank you again for contacting JustAnswer.com. I was so very sorry to read about your nightmare neighbor. I can imagine how I would feel if I were in your shoes and my peace and quiet were being disturbed the way yours is being. I am also a single woman living alone and would feel quite scared and disturbed.
It’s my goal to to fully understand your question and give you a full answer and stellar service.
For that reason, I have one or more questions for you to make sure I fully understand your question and concerns. We will have all the time you need to discuss everything.
PS This week I will be available on and off, working around appointments. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding.
I'm so very sorry to hear this. If I were in your shoes, I would either write a letter, and send it by certified mail (I can provide guidance to you on this) or I would file a police or sheriff's report. Unfortunately, law enforcement is going to do little or nothing with a police report, and you may need to sue the neighbor, either in Small Claims Court or regular court, depending on how much the value of the damage is.
If you do write a letter, the advantage is that if you go to court, you can then use the letter as evidence that you made a reasonable attempt to resolve the matter before escalating to court (the same can be said for doing this before filing a police report).
As far as parking the van in front of your house, there is probably nothing that can be done unless a local ordinance is being violated. In a way, the guy is hurting himself, since he has to carry things in and out of his own house further.
Yes, thank you - I believe I understood that. You have written up the issue very clearly.
I was wondering, however (you may have missed my question to you) whether this guy is bothering other neighbors as well.
The reason I'm asking about your neighbors is that if your bad neighbor is being a nuisance to everyone, you can band together to hire an attorney, so it would cost each of you less.
Would you like me to send you some guidance on how to write a letter? There's no charge, and you can decide later whether or not to follow through.
Yes, thank you, ***** ***** explained the whole situation very clearly, and the guy does sound like a creep. I'm sorry for the delay. I'll write up some guidance for you. It will take me five minutes or so. Thanks for your patience.
Here are my guidelines on how to write a letter requesting something, which I'll detail for you, below. My general guidance is that everything you write should be polite, professional, and include NO threats whatsoever. Also, have a friend or family member read everything before you send it it. Be sure to include all your contact information. Keep all original documents for yourself, and only send off copies. By writing first, if your request is not responded to, you can submit the documents as evidence that you made a reasonable attempt to resolve the matter prior to escalating the matter by filing a police report, , talking with an attorney, or filing a matter in court. In addition, the following method often succeeds, with minimal cost to you.
First write up a timeline, to the best of your memory, of what happened, starting when you first discussed the fence and trees with the neighbor. If you don’t know an exact date, just write “approximately”. A timeline will help you get organized, and if you have any written evidence (letters/texts/copies of the photos you took of the fence damage/anything) you can refer to each item in your timeline, such as Item #1, Item #2 and then number your attachments accordingly. Do not write a “book” – just a simple list, with one or two sentences, tops, per date. In your case, try to document your discussions with the guy (just say "approximate" if you don't know the date) and include copies of the photos of the fence damage and his promises to have the fence repaired. Also, write out his statements about parking the van in front of your house until you remove the trees - this is a type of threat.
Write a letter, explain what has happened from your point of view, include your timeline and attachments, and ask for the fence to be repaired no later than 5:00 pm on a certain date (give him a reasonable amount of time such as two weeks). You may also want to ask that he stop parking the van in front of your house in the same letter, as it doesn't hurt to put this request in writing even if he's not violating a law--this will document your request).
Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, and photograph the envelope with the stickers on it before you give it to the postal or package store clerk. Keep a copy of everything, and keep the signed receipt when you receive it. This will cost you around $10.. (And, yes, include the timeline and attachments, of course).
There are additional ways to send a letter, such as FEDEX or UPS, but the key thing is to use a method that will get you a signed receipt - that's very important.
In some circumstances, you can take your materials in person to someone, give them the originals of the timeline/attachments and the letter, and ask the recipient to sign a copy (that you bring with you) as "received," with the date, their signature, and their name printed below (don't let them merely datestamp something - they need to sign for it). If you think this man's wife will sign for what you bring over, you can try that - but if I were in your shoes, I would use the certified mail, return receipt method.
The letter above is similar to what an attorney would send as a "demand" letter, but the two differences are that the attorney may cite some laws in his or her letter, and an attorney will probably charge you $1000 in CA, since CA attorneys are very expensive.
If the letter does not result in your fence being repaired, etc, you may want to file a police (or sheriff's) report in person, and provide a copy of your timeline, attachments, and letter, plus a copy of the certified receipt and photo of the envelope, when you file a police report.
If none of the above has the desired effect, most likely Small Claims Court will be your third and final step. If you file in Small Claims Court, be sure to ask to be reimbursed for the cost of your certified letter, the cost of filing in court, the cost of service of process, and damages to your fence and trees.
Does all of the above help? You have a challenging problem - I really feel for you, and I know all too well what a problem this is.
Before I forget - most states have state laws that impose damages of three times the value of damage to trees - eg, if a tree is worth $500 and someone damages it, even by accident, the person would owe you $1500. Just something to keep in mind.
There is no law against a neighbor asking someone to move or remove or trim their trees - I've done that myself with one of my own neighbors. The difference is, I asked the neighbor once. The neighbor said no. End of story.
This neighbor is harassing you. There may be some legal protection for you for harassment, but it doesn't sound like it's rising to the level of getting an order of protection of any sort - I guess that's a "good news bad news" situation.
I saw your post about the cement. I sold a house in 2003 with the most beautiful front and back yard you've ever seen. Some later owner bulldozed everything - every twig is gone. (I saw this when the place came up for sale and I saw the photos in the real estate listing). It was so sad!
As I said above, most states have laws protecting trees and many or most states require payment of triple damages. There are also laws protecting people from general damage to their personal property or to their real property, whether by accident or on purpose.
I suggest that you look at Amazon for security camera systems. I'm not knowledgeable about such devices, but I understand that there is a huge variety, and that one of the important considerations is how much recording time you would get - for example, 30 days of recording would be far better than 24 hours.
This is is just a Google cut and paste:
When damage to trees occurs, California law provides for double and treble damages [See Civ. Code, § 3346(a) and Code Civ. Proc., § 733]. The general rule in California is that if a person wrongfully and maliciously enters onto the land of another and cuts or removes trees, the plaintiff is entitled to treble damages.
I wrote before that there are many types of security cameras, and I'm not an expert on this, but it's my understanding that one needs to compare how long a recording is kept - eg, 30 days is better than 24 hours.
I can't give you legal advice on Just Answer, but if I were in your shoes I would state very politely that I have considered your request to move my trees and I have no interest in moving them - they are fine just where they are. I wouldn't say anything else. I wouldn't warn him about damaging them or anything like that.
I am very happy to have been of some help to you. Do you have any more follow up questions related to your original question? Is there anything in my answer you do not understand?
If I’ve answered to your complete and total satisfaction, may I mark your question as completed? You can still write to me after I mark it that way. I love to help!
Again, I can't give you legal advice on Just Answer. I wish I could, but I'm not allowed to, and what you are asking comes under the "legal advice" category. This would be a good thing to talk through with friends/family.
Our posts crossed - may I mark your question as "completed?"
Thank you for your kind words, and if you feel like it, you will have the option to give me a rating and a bonus.
I am happy that I have answered your question to your complete satisfaction. If I’m mistaken, be sure to write back to me with any follow-up questions you have. I ALWAYS reply! (However, I don’t work on Just Answer 24/7)
Thank you for the opportunity to help you, and my best wishes to you! Please ask for “Jane_Doe_Deer” when asking a question and state that you will wait for me to respond. You can also add me to your list of favorite experts.
Best Wishes and Happy New Year!Customer/p> PS: This week I will be available on and off, working around appointments. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding
Thank you so very much! Good luck to you!
Do you know if "your" fence is purely on your side of the property? If so, you should be able to remove it. If the fence is on the property line, you'd have to fine out who had it built. And, btw, even if your neighbor's fence was two feet over on "his" side that does not increase your legal property line. The property line is the property line. There are cases about adverse possession, but those are challenging to prove, and there's usually a ten year waiting time, anyway.
It's conceivable a building permit was obtained for building the fence; it's possible your property has been surveyed; these would be a matter of public record.
You don't need your neighbor's permission if the fence you remove is on your property. If the fence is on your neighbor's property, you cannot remove it without checking into who built it and where the property line is, in case it is not your fence.
This happens a lot with fences. Someone will build a fence six inches onto their own property, and 20 years later no one knows who owns the fence or where the property line is.
Ah - you missed what I wrote (or perhaps what I wrote didn't record, as sometimes happens). If someone got a building permit and/or survey when building the house and/or the fence, those are public records, and you can see (1) who built the fence (one of the people who owned the house before you, or whoever owned the neighbor's house), and (2) where the property line is. On a lot of properties, there are corner markers in the ground from previous surveys. If you obtain a paper copy of the survey, you may be able to find the corner markers.
Or, you can just ask the neighbor is he cares if you tear down the fence on your side, but from what you said before, I would not do that for many reasons.
I'll be offline until tomorrow. Check the property records for your county - you should be able to do that online even if the office is closed today.