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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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During the last windstorm a big branch came off my tree and

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During the last windstorm a big branch came off my tree and knocked down a 4 foot portion of the adjoining fence. The larger portion of the branch was in the neighbors yard (this was a Friday night). On Saturday I cleaned the branch out of both yards and used boards that were still intact plus new ones to repair the fence. This took most of the day. One and half weeks later I come home from work and the fence boards that I used are sitting in my yard and the fence was braced with new boards. I did not authorize anyone to come into my yard. Today I received a bill from the owner of the house next door for $250 fence repair. She is saying that I owe the money. I disagree, I was being a good neighbor to clean up the complete mess (her tenant is a really nice gal with a seeing eye dog that needed to be able to get outside) and enable her tenants dog to go outside. My insurance company said that the tree branch was an 'Act of God' therefore each was responsible for their own yard. I have several issues with this problem. 1) The fence is in a serious state of dis-repair to begin with so a price of $250 to repair is a scam. 2) I think I should have been consulted before hand and if she is going to send a bill there should be more estimates. The bill that she sent is a photocopy from an individual not a reputable company. 3) If she proceeds in this, I should be able to back bill her for removing all of the tree limbs from her property. 4) Then the issue of someone in my yard without my permission, this is just wrong. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Vicki

Dear Vicki,

 

Thank you for your question

 

The fact that most insurance companies refuse to cover acts of God is unfortunate.

 

The answers to the issues involved in your situation are not clear cut, however. It was more than nice of you to repair your neighbor's fence, but you should have asked the neighbor before you repaired her fence because it was not yours. Most neighbors would have sent a "Thank you" note and flowers for this, but it still would not negate the fact that the law states that the fence belonged to your neighbor and permission or consent was necessary before you did any of the repairs. However, sending you a bill for $250 and expecting you to pay it, without any other estimates was wrong.

 

You should write to the owner of the property and voice your objections, ask for additional estimates and enclose your bill for the repairs. In other circumstances, I would have said sue the owner for your costs, but I cannot in this instance. Any Judge in Small Claims Court would order mediation which is what they always do when neighbors are involved in a conflict.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

 

BONUS is always appreciated

 

That is the only way I get paid

 

 

Kindest Regards,

 

ANDREA, JD, LLM

MEMBER, NY & PA BAR

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I apologize for not giving more information. I asked the owner of the property before I started. She has sent the bill because she said my repairs were not good enough. I have pictures to show what I did was no different from what was there. I will send a letter.

No apology necessary,

 

In this case, I suggest that you enclose pictures of your repairs with your bill for your costs and remind them that you had informed them you were going to make the repairs. The law will not allow a neighbor to sit back, let you incur expenses of repairing the fence and then permit the neighbor to demand more money on top of the repairs. That is clearly an attempt on the neighbor's part to extort money from you for something that was an act of God.

 

I would also suggest that you take pictures of the repairs the owner made. So, if the owner intends to sue you, you have pictures to show to the Judge that would indicate that the owner is simply trying to "shake you down" for money that they do not deserve.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

 

BONUS is always appreciated

 

That is the only way I get paid

 

 

Kindest Regards,

 

ANDREA, JD, LLM

MEMBER, NY & PA BAR

 

 

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