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Ask MShore Your Own Question
MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25285
Experience:  Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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royal oak, mi. we removed part of a tree that had dead limbs.

Customer Question

royal oak, mi. we removed part of a tree that had dead limbs. appears to have taken care of the problem. my neighbor (in the middle of winter) is now claiming that the tree has elm disease, and has sent 2 letters to us threatening adding the removal to our taxes, although there is no proof of the tree being infected (in fact, we were told by the tree cutter that it didn't look infected, it was just an old tree with dead limbs). is this considered harrassment?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  MShore replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the post, I am happy to assist you by answering your questions. Did you respond to the first letter?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

no. or the second. i wrote what we did.

Expert:  MShore replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, can you tell me exactly what the neighbor stated in the letters? Did the neighbor make any threats in either letter? I ask because harassment requires one take an act or commonly a series of acts with no legitimate purpose other than to harass or annoy another.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
see the attached letter i took a picture of...

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The guy is a realestate agent. He's actually very weird as a neighbor.

First, "haven't seen" Paige lately? This means what? He watches the home occupants and our guests? WOW!!!! What we do, when we come and go, is none of his business. Is he stalking???

Second, yes, he's bugging us. Consider point 1 (and that he's called DTE energy company without previously discussing with us, he has obsessively sent letters, called) i feel he's borderlining harassment and intimidating behavior; At no point did anyone say "no" for him to go so obsessively over the edge. Add the timing of Christmas and calling it an "issue", this shows how little couth he has!

Third, the branches he claims may be residual falling from the removal of the dead limbs and may also include healthy limbs--DTE came out and removed dead limbs about 1 month ago to clear the power lines (the call that he made to them). The tree removal process brushed/broke several limbs during the removal of dead limbs. He cannot state that falling limbs are coming from dead or previously healthy limbs. Nor that the source of these are from acts of God.

Fourth, he is always trying to extend his control outside of the bounds of his house. To the point of throwing things over our fence, telling us when we can put garbage out, picking up garbage across the street... very weird stuff. We do not appreciate the condescending tone. We are not idiots. The Charter he wrote is actually ARTICLE 710. It also states the tree must have dutch elm disease, which the tree cutters stated this tree does not have. I am curious, how did he make such determination that it was diseased?

Fifth, avoid rallying the troops in his madness. Randy is, from our understanding of the articles, to be at least 1/3 liable to any issues with the tree since it does not lie only on my property ("notice shall be made upon each owner of property or party in interest in the property in question"). Randy's home is at the rear of ours, and the tree is at least 1/3 on his property and 2/3 on ours (the fence stops on both sides of the tree, almost bisecting it in half or 2/3-1/3)

the code he's referring to:
Expert:  MShore replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, you mentioned that he has obsessively sent letters/called, how many times has he called you regarding this matter?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

2, 2 letters, stopped over once. had his friend send a quote to us in the mail without our request.

Expert:  MShore replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, so it is the case that the representations he made as to calling the city are false, or that he is contacting you making allegations in bad faith (i.e. without reasonable factual support)? I ask because if so, then you could make the argument that he is harassing you as a matter of law.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

he's creepy and won't stop. he didnt' call the city (we did to find out more). he's citing the city codes, and in his letter basically threatens a lien on our house. the guy is a nut job. we never said no, we've done what we could to keep peace. we removed dead limbs from teh tree, but he's still not satisfied. the guys who cut the tree said the tree was ok and really only had a few dead spots. they said there is no evidence of dutch elm disease. he's now claiming after the tree trim, stuff is still falling, so it still must be dead (small branches were still stuck in the tree because they had to rope down pieces of the tree breaking some branches--even healthy ones). the guy isn't letting up. and he's watching what we're doing, sending letters, was called twice (until we shut the phone off, so now he can't). he's going to the neighbors trying to rally the troops now. the guy just isn't stopping. and it's the winter so we can't really tell what might be dead until spring (if anything at all).

Expert:  MShore replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, in this situation your next step is to reply in writing with a cease and desist letter, advising that if the conduct you complain of continues you will have no choice but to seek an injunction against him prohibiting him from engaging in such conduct, citing the conduct as harassment and serving no legitimate purpose. Ideally, you would have the letter drafted by a local attorney, but it is certainly understandable if you would rather not incur the fees involved in having an attorney draft the latter (fees would likely be between $200-$300). Here is a template cease and desist letter for your reference: (it is from a Minnesota attorney but can be used for your matter as the cease and desist does not cite statute, harassment is a common law matter).