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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    My question involves a dispute that occurred in the state of: GA
    We bought a property in N. Ga with gorgeous mountain and lake views. The former owners had cut several trees to open the view line to make it nice for sale of property. Not disclosed that they were not our trees even. Survey very vague and no one at the county will help.
    A month later we went up (we're from FL) and ran into the neighbors. The husbands chatted and told my husband those trees were on their property but we could cut them any time to keep our view, they didn't matter and were of no use to anyone. Their home is slightly in front of us so they really don't see our property without turning to actually look.
    The trees after being cut the 1st time had turned into tall stumps with no real growth so they looked terrible and served no purpose. Just in our line of view, not theirs. So in May we were there and we decided to just cut them down so we didn't have to do it again for a while. It made such a difference and cleaned the area making it look much nicer.
    we didn't take them out or destroy the roots. They will grow back eventually. We were not being malicious, just thought we were clearing ugly trees and paid for it even tho on his property. Really did him the favor. He said we could so we went ahead and did it not thinking much of it. When they came up to their property that next weekend, they preceded to practically bang down our door and created a scene over the fact that we cut their trees and what right did we have, etc. The wife was furious because she now had to "look our renters in the hot tub when she was on her deck". So, we figure the change of heart was because we have it listed as a vacation rental and they don't like it. Understandable, so we tried to remedy it by saying sorry and it was a misunderstanding and we could work on an agreement to pay for a tree to put between the properties to screen her view from our hot tub.
    Well, they went shopping the next day and got estimates on 3 different kind of trees costing over 2000.00 and want us to pay for them and the installation. Apparently big trees that need special equipment to plant, etc. They don't want to compromise on one tree, which is all that was in from of their deck in the first place. We offered 2 trees, and they said it wouldnt work for what they had in mind.Seems they want new landscaping at our cost. We don't know our rights and feel they are just taking advantage. I've contacted a couple attorneys in GA but have not been able to get a return calls. The neighbor just emailed a new estimate today now costing 100.00 more than the original quote cos they decided they wanted cypress trees and not holly trees to achieve the right look. So, are we at their mercy??
    Are we responsible to replace the previous Poplar Tree that was in front of their deck with 3 Cypress and 1 Glory Maple. Not the original tree type or condition. They obviously want a pretty new landscape at our expense when the previous one was unattractive and showed our property. And now more so because its a VC rental and has a new hot tub. We even offered to order them on line much cheaper and have our landscapers plant for 1/10th the price, but they aren't budging. Are we responsible at all if they verbally agreed to let us trim? They did not specify which ones or how much to take off, just okay to trim to preserve our view. If the trees keep growing, eventually we have no view. So, wed have to trim every year to two with the same result.
    Not sure where to turn or how to handle going forward. And if we do agree to plant what the owner wants us to, should we pay the Tree Nursery? Or reimburse the owners and provide a wavier of future responsibility. Where does that leave our liability in future if trees die or he decides he wants more trees, etc. Do we need to seek out a GA lawyer to help us. Or do we just pay the guy to plant the trees and move on.
    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,962

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    It's up to you to decide what to do. Here are some options:

    1 - Just say no, stop talking, wait and see what they do. If you get sued, you defend based on having gotten permission if you can prove it.

    2 - Insist on replacing the trees with those of like kind. Probably will cost a couple thousand anyway.

    3 - Pay what they say and get a signed release.

    4 - Continue your efforts to consult an attorney.

    PS - Next time anybody says it's OK to do anything to their property, get it in writing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,426

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    It's up to you to decide what to do. Here are some options:

    1 - Just say no, stop talking, wait and see what they do. If you get sued, you defend based on having gotten permission if you can prove it.

    2 - Insist on replacing the trees with those of like kind. Probably will cost a couple thousand anyway.

    3 - Pay what they say and get a signed release.

    4 - Continue your efforts to consult an attorney.

    PS - Next time anybody says it's OK to do anything to their property, get it in writing.
    I would suggest getting a quote on what it would cost to put it back the way it was, with trees about the height of the tall stumps that you cut down, and of the same kind. I would offer them no more than that. If they want to spend extra money to get it the way that they want it, then fine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
    Posts
    1,386

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    You didn't trim, you eliminated stumps generally don't grow back into trees, they stay stumps. Additionally, there is a vague permission in the conversation between the husbands and not explicit permission for what was intended. I did note that in your original post you state that there were several trees but when it came to replacement you say there was only one. Which was it?

    You are responsible for putting it back the way it was and no more.

    A survey would probably be a good idea but it won't easily make this issue go away. Just because you obtain a survey that (may) indicate that these trees were in fact yours doesn't mean that the neighbors accept it and continue to push.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,647

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    I believe there were several trees taken down but op wants to replace only one. They said the one that blocks the hot tub view

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    There were about 6 trees total, only one that they feel screened their deck. 5 were out in the field away from properties but impeding the view line. We dont want a.fight, and hiring attorneys and getting surveys would add up to just as much I'm sure. Mainly trying to find out our rights as far replacement value etc. Do we have to go with what they WANT, just because they want it. Tried making counter offer to plant 2 trees to lower price. They state that that doesnt hide our hide the area enough. The original tree between the houses did not hide us either. It had been cut to a 12 or so foot stump. So its value was basically zero. This is a matter if taking advantage of us. But guess were just SOL.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,043

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    If you aren't willing to go to court you are stuck with making the best deal you can negotiate with them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,426

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    Quote Quoting Chris0409
    View Post
    There were about 6 trees total, only one that they feel screened their deck. 5 were out in the field away from properties but impeding the view line. We dont want a.fight, and hiring attorneys and getting surveys would add up to just as much I'm sure. Mainly trying to find out our rights as far replacement value etc. Do we have to go with what they WANT, just because they want it. Tried making counter offer to plant 2 trees to lower price. They state that that doesnt hide our hide the area enough. The original tree between the houses did not hide us either. It had been cut to a 12 or so foot stump. So its value was basically zero. This is a matter if taking advantage of us. But guess were just SOL.
    Okay, you do not HAVE to do anything more than replace what was there. You do not have to give them better coverage than they already had. You should tell them that. Again, get your own estimate to replace the same kind of trees that are no taller than the stumps. Give them that amount of money if you want to.

    However, you cannot stop them from suing you for more, you can only defend yourself if they sue. I think that you at least have a defense against the extras that they want.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,647

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    You may want to speak with an arborist to find out if the stumps would have flourished. If they killed the trees, you aren’t going to have to replace dead trees with healthy live trees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,426

    Default Re: Trees We Cut on Neighbors Property with Permission

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    You may want to speak with an arborist to find out if the stumps would have flourished. If they killed the trees, you aren’t going to have to replace dead trees with healthy live trees.
    That is a very good idea.

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