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    MeTP's Avatar
    MeTP Posts: 3, Reputation: 2
    New Member
     
    #1

    Aug 20, 2006, 02:22 PM
    Hedges on property line - Washington State
    Well... I've done something foolish and now I need to know what I can (or should) do about it.

    We have a nice view of Mount Ranier from the patio in front of our home. Over the last few months, the hedge that separates my house and the house next door has grown so tall that it blocked the view of the mountain. I thought the hedge was on my property so this morning I went out and trimmed it. It turns out it isn't on my property at all and the neighbor is REALLY angry.

    Obviously, I'm horrified and embarrassed - I never would have done this if I'd thought the hedge was on their side of the property line. It was confusing because there is a retaining wall that divides the two properties (which I thought was the property line) and the trunks of the hedges are on my side of that wall.

    The neighbor pointed out where the property line is (after discovering what I had done) and I'm clearly in the wrong here.

    Other than apologize profusely (I obviously can't put the growth back on the hedge) is there anything I can or should do about this now?

    Thanks!
    valinors_sorrow's Avatar
    valinors_sorrow Posts: 2,927, Reputation: 653
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    #2

    Aug 20, 2006, 02:29 PM
    I would do two things. Call your home owner insurance agent immediately and run this completely by them, in case your neighbors make a claim. I am not sure if landscaping is ever included in a policy -- I know it mostly isn't but its worth a check. And if your insurance agent doesn't prohibit you making good will gestures toward your neighbors, I would make amends to the neighbors in the form of a generous gift certificate to a local nursery.
    Cvillecpm's Avatar
    Cvillecpm Posts: 553, Reputation: 28
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    #3

    Aug 20, 2006, 03:29 PM
    Deliver a "my bad" note to the neighbors along with a gift certificate to a local nursery/garden center.

    Fertilize the "H" out of the bushes so they grow back and ask neighbor if you can keep them trimmed to avail yourself of the view... neighbors bushes, neighbors height.
    MeTP's Avatar
    MeTP Posts: 3, Reputation: 2
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    #4

    Aug 20, 2006, 05:16 PM
    Thank You both for your replies.

    It's been an interesting day. The gentleman who lives next door was annoyed, but understanding how we could have thought the hedges were on our property. The lady however, has been all but stalking us since this happened. Each time we go outside she stands (on her property) with her hands on her hips staring at us but saying nothing. When we're in the house she stands at the hedge as near to our living room as she can get and talks as loudly as she can without shouting to someone (we haven't looked to see who) about how her hedge is never going to grow back. This has been going on (without a break) for more than six hours now. We've never had any trouble with this neighbor before and this is very disturbing. This was not intentional and there is no reason to believe that the hedges have been damaged in any way other than aesthetically. They will grow back.

    We'll report this to our insurance, however there's nothing more we can say to our neighbor (we've already apologized several times) so we've chosen not to say anything more. Given how angry this lady is I don't think it would be a good idea to try speaking with her for a little while. I appreciate your input. Thanks again.
    Cvillecpm's Avatar
    Cvillecpm Posts: 553, Reputation: 28
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    #5

    Aug 21, 2006, 06:07 AM
    Me - leave your insurance out of it... there are no damages and you don't want it in your homeowner's insurance file... If the bushes DIE, then replace them on your own by a professional nursery and don't make a claim.

    Filing a claim may well cause your rates to increase by a greater amount than your out of pocket cost if they do die.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #6

    Aug 21, 2006, 08:51 AM
    Hello Me:

    The first thing I would do is read your policy. Unless your policy includes a general liability clause (not for your property - but for YOU), in my opinion you won't collect, and you'll stir up a hornets nest with your carrier that you can't win.

    Most homeowners insurance doesn't cover negligence. I say negligent, because that is what your insurance carrier is going to call it when they deny your claim.

    I get your pain... You're sorry... Bummer... Nonetheless, you WERE negligent. You should KNOW where your property line is.

    Next, I'm not sure if leaving the bushes to grow is a satisfactory conclusion. Should they sue, they are entitled to be made "whole". Cut down bushes and a gift certificate, aren't "whole" bushes. Hopefully, I would be less frantic than your neighbor, but I very well might not accept your generous offer of a gift certificate - which will get me some plants, maybe not enough, and I presume that I'm going to have to plant them myself. Additionally, if I accept your offer, I may not be able to collect any further. Meanwhile my hedge is screwed - and you have a lovely view!

    You might look into making them "whole" at no expense to themselves. Or, they might be more reasonable than me - but it doesn't sound like it.

    excon
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man
     
    #7

    Aug 21, 2006, 09:42 AM
    While you have gotten good answers, I'm curious about some things left unsaid. First, who moved in first? Second, did the neighbors EVER trim the hedge? Third, how much trimming did you do and was it neat or haphazard?

    The reason who moved in first would be an issue is whether the view was a part of the attraction to the house. There are some rules about what a homeowner can do to prevent access to neighbors from area features which would include a view. If the neighbor never trimmed the hedge, it could be considered an eysesore. And you ARE permitted to trim branches or other growth that is on your side of the line. If you were careless in trimming then that could also present an issue.

    As for the neighbor's tantrum, just ignore it. She's mad, but I would suspect she will eventually get over it.
    bhayne's Avatar
    bhayne Posts: 339, Reputation: 4
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    #8

    Aug 21, 2006, 12:47 PM
    I'm with the above reply. A recent neighbor of mine planted a full grown pear tree next to our fence. It blocked my view of the North Shore Mountain Range.

    Fortunately, someone accidentally watered the tree the next day with 5 gallons of bleach and the tree died!
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #9

    Aug 21, 2006, 03:44 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by bhayne
    I'm with the above reply. A recent neighbor of mine planted a full grown pear tree next to our fence. It blocked my view of the North Shore Mountain Range.

    Fortunately, someone accidentally watered the tree the next day with 5 gallons of bleach and the tree died!!
    Not only unethical, but the person responsible could be held responsible for replacing the tree and might find themselves criminally charged for vandalism.
    MeTP's Avatar
    MeTP Posts: 3, Reputation: 2
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    #10

    Aug 21, 2006, 07:50 PM
    The neighbor was here first. We bought the house in December of last year. The hedges had been trimmed (to about 10 feet high) prior to our purchase however and the view was part of the attraction of the house. The hedges have been left to grow since then (to about 12-14 feet) but (since I believed they were my hedges) I thought I had no one to blame for the loss of the view but myself.

    It's true, I should know where my property line is... I totally blew this one. I'll have to wait and see, but I have a hard time believing that anyone could collect damages for this. I didn't kill the hedges, I trimmed them. It's almost impossible to kill anything in this part of the country - even when you want to kill it. I have trees on my property that were cut down years ago (leaving nothing but a stump) that have grown new branches over time (from the stump) and formed full-grown trees again.

    Anyway, the gentleman who lives next door asked me not to do anything more than I've already done with the hedges and (in my opinion) it looks awful to leave the job unfinished as it is now. But since he's asked me not to do anything more, I don't suppose there's anything I can do but wait and see what they do next.

    Thanks again for the collective wisdom.

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