Thank you for your response, I just wanted that fact to be clear before I proceeded to answer you.
1) Yes, if the neighbor came onto your property and damaged tress wholly on your property, they are guilty of trespassing and also damage to your property. If they engaged a tree service to do this, then the neighbor is still guilty of the trespass and damage as the service was their agent and they are liable for actions of their agent. When I say guilty, because this is a circumstantial evidence case and nobody actually saw who did it but you did not cause it to be done and it was only on this one neighbor's side who you have been having a dispute with over this, it would not be a criminal action the DA would take, but it certainly is a civil suit you could file for the trespass on your land and damage of your property/trees.
2/3) If he crossed over the boundary of your property, or caused his agent to do so, and damage your property, it is trespass on your property as well as damage to your property.
4) Yes, trees have value themselves and they also add to the value of the property and trimming the trees can lead to a claim not only for the diminished value of the trees but the diminished value of he land itself from loss of privacy.
5) Damage to property typically does not allow you in this case to recover emotional damages, as you said it is rental property
. If your court finds that the damage was willful and malicious, then it could lead to double or treble damages.
6) No, it is not likely you will convince the court of emotional distress damages for damage to property in this manner, especially as rental property.
7-14) All of the damages mentioned here are damages you can seek, except the emotional damages and the loss of privacy of the tenants. As stated, on rental property and on property damage claims, emotional damages are really not provided for. As far as the loss of privacy of the tenants, it could be possible the tenant themselves could have a claim against the neighbor, but putting an actual value on this is almost impossible for a court to do. As far as the costs of an expert, diminished values of property, value of the trees and an injunction against the neighbor prohibiting any similar conduct, you can get those. As far as a attorney's fees, these are not provided for in the law for this type of claim I am afraid.
15) You can file a police report for trespass and damage to property. The police will likely not take criminal action, but you can speak to the local DA, who has the final say about any criminal charges and see what they say, especially since you did not really see who did this as mentioned above, they are more likely to refer you to civil court where you do have a valid civil claim.
16) The person who trimmed the tree can also be jointly liable for the damage and trespass, since he was liable to verify ownership and the right your neighbor had to cut the trees.
17) This is a circumstantial case, but the evidence shows that if you did not do this and your other neighbors did not do this then the preponderance of the evidence is that this neighbor you are having a feud with over the trees did this and people win these cases in civil court all the time.
18) Once you file civil suit against the neighbor, in your discovery part of the case you would serve the defendant with a request for interrogatories and ask the name of the person who cut the tree and their information.
19-21) You should not write any letters, you should engage a civil attorney at this point to proceed with this and they would start by making a demand on the neighbor for the damages. Your attorney would then file suit against the neighbor, because in most of these cases the neighbor violators never usually respond because they got their way by cutting the tree and they think they did nothing wrong and a lawsuit is the only way to get their attention and stop them from doing it again.
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