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My shed has been damaged by one of the 10 large spruce trees…

My shed has been...

My shed has been damaged by one of the 10 large spruce trees (some are 70 feet tall) on my neighbor's property (along the property line) that broke off during the March 2 storm. I have notified the neighbor by certified mail in the past that her trees are a threat to my property and my safety. My house is very close to the property line. I have offered to pay the cost of cutting down these trees. Can I force her to let me cut down these trees. I am a senior and every time there are strong winds, I cannot cope with the stress of waiting for damage the next tree will cause. This was the second one to blow over and hit my house and shed. Some of the trees are dead. All are big and dangerous. Can I force my neighbor to let me cut down these trees?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

I have contacted my insurance agent and an adjuster is scheduled to look at the damage to my shed on Friday, March 23. I have a $1,000 deductible. I hope my insurance company will go after her for payment of the deductible and the damage to the shed. There are two holes in the roof of the 12 x 24 shed.

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the house located?

My house is located about 20 feet from the property line. I am in Rehoboth, MA.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I would like to threaten my neighbor with a suit for the stress she has caused me by not allowing me to pay to cut down these trees. My first attempt was in 2012. I will settle this if I can cut down her trees. It will be expensive for me to pay to cut down the 10 large trees. I want to pay to cut down the trees. I want her to pay for any legal fees for allowing me to do this.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
3/21/2018
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 43,047
Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

.

Was this a dead tree that fell during the storm?

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Do their trees overhang the property line to encroach on your property?

.

And you have proof of notifying the neighbor about the dead/dangerous trees via certified mail?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I have copies of all letters to my neighbor. I have the certified mail receipt. The tree that fell was dead/mostly dead. Most of the branches that overhang the property were trimmed in January 2018. I have pictures of the trees and how close they are to my home. My neighbor is a very difficult control person who wants to be in control.

Ok, then not only can you have the trees trimmed back or cut down if dead, you can sue the neighbor for "private nuisance" and force them to do so as well as for any damages you have suffered due to their trees damaging your property.. A private nuisance is an interference with a person's enjoyment and use of his land. The law recognizes that landowners, or those in rightful possession of land, have the right to the unimpaired condition of the property and to reasonable comfort and convenience in its occupation.

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MA law is pretty clear on the topic about a neighbor being liable for damages if they are on notice of a dangerous condition..

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Jones v. Town of Great Barrington, 273 Mass. 483 (1930)
Town was liable for injuries caused by a falling tree where the town, "although notified of its condition, had permitted to stand within the limits of the way for so long a time and in so decayed and dangerous a condition that it constituted a nuisance: ... that the tree was within the exclusive control of the tree warden ... and that his power to remove the tree was limited and prescribed by the terms of G. L. c. 87, did not relieve the defendant of liability for the nuisance."

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Kurtigan v. City of Worcester, 348 Mass. 284 (1965)
City was held liable for damages caused by limbs of dead tree falling from property which city acquired for nonpayment of taxes. "Public policy in a civilized community requires that there be someone to be held responsible for a private nuisance on each piece of real estate, and, particularly in an urban area, that there be no oases of nonliability where a private nuisance may be maintained with impunity."

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Those cases deal with holding a city liable for dead trees, but the same rulings apply to individuals, especially if they have been put on notice of the dangerous conditions as you have done so with the certified letters..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I don't want to commit to any additional expense until after I talk with the insurance adjuster on Friday. I hope to learn from him whether I can get my insurance company to go after her insurance company for at least my $1,000 deductible. Can we continue with this on Monday, March 26?

The insurer is not going to go after the neighbor to get your deductible back... That is money you have to pay initially for any claim under your policy. So only you would be able to sue the neighbor for that money back.. But the small claims court limit in MA is $7,000 so you can sue for your deductible and won't need to hire an attorney to do so.

.

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thanks

Barrister

Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 43,047
Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
Verified
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