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Permission? Work orders? Who needs em! TIMBEEEERRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:28 PM
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Dave1982 Dave1982 is offline
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Default Permission? Work orders? Who needs em! TIMBEEEERRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still can't quite believe this....

My future-MIL owns a house near Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. It's on the side of one of the mountains facing the lake. She has neighbors both uphill and downhill. The area is also heavily wooded, but in clearing the lots for the houses, they removed just enough trees to give the residents a nice view of the lake while still maintaining privacy.

Also, future-MIL works from home but has to go into the office 1 day per week. Her office is a 2.5 hour drive from NH to Massachusetts (actually really close to where my fiance and I live). She usually comes down on Wednesday afternoon and has dinner with us, then goes into the office the next day before heading back to NH Thursday night.

Recently, she'd been talking with her uphill neighbor about hiring a tree crew. The neighbor wanted a few trees removed or trimmed to improve their view of the lake and future-MIL had a couple of trees on her property she needed trimmed, so they were going to pitch in to have it all done in a single job so they'd both save some money. They took the time to tie ribbons to the trees that needed to be cut down or trimmed, and the neighbor called the landscaping company and obtained an estimate. It wasn't going to be cheap, and MIL has a number of large expenses coming up (not the least of which is her contribution to our wedding!), so she told her neighbor she needed to figure out how to work her share of the cost into her budget before signing off on it.

No problem, says the neighbor. It's still all snowy up there anyway so there was no rush to get the work done. The neighbor passed that on to the landscaper, and the next day MIL left for MA as she always does.

So imagine her surprise when she came home and found ALL the trees between her house and the DOWNHILL neighbor's house GONE.

The freaking landscapers had come the day after being told "we'll think about it" and - without any sort of permission - cut down a shitload of MILs trees. These were not even the ones they had talked about cutting down! Only a few trees between her house and the UPHILL neighbor's house were supposed to come down. Her uphill neighbor was at work when this happened otherwise he'd have put a stop to it.

Needless to say, she's absolutely furious about this. She was still steaming the next morning when the tree crew actually CAME BACK and starting prepping to cut down EVEN MORE of her trees. She threatened to call the police if they didn't get the hell off her property; they left.

Wow....just...wow.....

First of all, since no one had authorized the work (and even if the neighbor had told them to go ahead and do it, they'd still have need MIL's permission to do work on her property), then they were trespassing. New Hampshire actually has a specific law prohibiting this (appropriately called Timber Trespass), and actually makes it a felony if the value of the wood cut exceeds $1000.

Second, they completely obliterated a large chunk of her privacy. That's what she's the most upset about, because privacy was a big part of why she chose to buy that house in the first place.

Third, since she now has an arguably better view of Lake Winnipesaukee, it could actually cause her property taxes to go up. NH has a controversial provision in their tax law that includes subjective qualities such the view when assessing the value of a property. So the next time the tax assessor stops by, she might well find that her taxes have gone up. (And as a side note, if anyone wishes to discuss the merits of the "View Tax" please take it to Fratching.)

Her uphill neighbor is aghast that this happened, since he certainly didn't authorize anything. No word yet on what the downhill neighbor thinks as they have been traveling and haven't been back yet.

MIL has already set up a meeting with an attorney and is filing a police report. The landscaper has refused to return any of her or her neighbor's calls.

Honestly, what else is there to say? That company fucked up BIG TIME.
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Last edited by Dave1982; 03-25-2014 at 08:48 PM.

  #2  
Old 03-25-2014, 08:37 PM
Pimento Pimento is offline
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Wow. Sounds like her contribution to the wedding is about to grow exponentially once she takes control of her own landscaping company lol. I'm waiting for the "just kidding"

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Old 03-25-2014, 09:56 PM
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Wow, what kind of company just comes in and starts lopping down trees? They couldn't even get the addresses right. I hope that it works out for the home owners. That's complete crap. :\
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:31 PM
thatcrazyredhead thatcrazyredhead is offline
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They should have to replace the trees (and yes, you can move large trees and replant them somewhere else). What a headache!
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:09 AM
cleorose cleorose is offline
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When she goes to the lawyer she needs to tell him what she wants out of the landscapers. new trees planted where the old ones were.

She also needs to be compensated for her tax increase for say the next five years. since it would have not gone up had they not acted so rashly.

I am thinking at LEAST $1k per year plus the cost of all the new trees should be a nice number around 10k. I dont think you can sue for trespassing but maybe you can sue vandalism ? destruction of property etc. Since they had to come on her property and take down her trees.

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Old 03-26-2014, 07:22 AM
raudf raudf is offline
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I'm just having a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around this one. Usually landscapers require someone signing on the dotted line before they'll move an inch of dirt. This.. well, this just means that your FMIL and her neighbor are going to own a very shiftily ran landscaping business.

When the gas company was pitting in a major gas pipe line, they made absolutely sure they stayed within the bounds of the land that they had when they cleared the trees. In fact they went as far as to make sure the trees that were coming down didn't fall on the land owned by others or snag trees that were on others' land. Even the paper company has the same policy for this very reason!
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Quoth cleorose View Post
I am thinking at LEAST $1k per year plus the cost of all the new trees should be a nice number around 10k.
The info I found on the NH Department of Forests and Lands website says that they would owe not less than 3 and not more than 10 times the value of the trees they illegally cut down, plus any other applicable civil or criminal penalties stemming from the incident.

Quote:
Quoth raudf View Post
I'm just having a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around this one. Usually landscapers require someone signing on the dotted line before they'll move an inch of dirt.
I know, right?? When I heard this I had trouble believing it myself. There was a lot of "wait wait wait....they did what??"

Then I saw it for myself when we went up for a visit this past weekend.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:28 PM
Ophbalance Ophbalance is offline
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One hopes that you're got irrefutable proof that the company who's responsible can be found liable by a court or law enforcement. Otherwise, it'd probably be worthwhile (given the monetary amounts) for them to fight tooth and nail to avoid responsibility by claiming it wasn't them... and drag restitution out for years.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:01 PM
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taxguykarl taxguykarl is offline
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The last landscaper I dealt with wouldn't even come over to give an estimate without some kind of documentation.
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2014, 04:07 PM
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Dunno if she does or not. Thankfully, it's not my problem. I'm just a spectator in this mess.
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