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Neighbour asking for unreasonable amount towards a tree.

(169 Posts)
fingerlicking Tue 04-Mar-14 08:19:09

I have a long garden that attaches to a garden at the bottom from a house 5 doors awa, but split by a thick hedge. The majority of my garden runs along side my direct neighbours house, but our garden and the garden of the house 5 doors away are long and 'kind of' circle the 4 houses' gardens inbetween.

My dh and I were clearing old trees and bushes from our garden as it was really shabby. We topped a number of large evergreens and removed 4 pine large trees and cut back shrubs etc.

There was a 6 foot tree in the middle of the thick hedge at the bottom of the garden that was bent over and collapsing. My dh cut out the tree.

The neighbours 5 doors away were hysterical. They moved to the house about 6 months ago. The woman came over crying because we had removed all the trees and topped others. It has opened up her view to houses, where as before her view was of green trees.

All the evergreen trees were in our garden and we were well in our right to remove them. However, the 6 foot tree in the middle of the hedge she claims was her tree and it was an 'arch' not bent from collapsing.

We apologised (even though we didn't think it was 'her' tree) and said that we really thought it was collapsing and would replace the tree. We offered her £150 towards a new tree.

Her husband came round shouting the odds and my dh felt physically threatened, even thought the guy was going to punch him. They said that they wanted a new tree that was over 3 metres tall, which cost £320. As we don't want to fall out we agreed to the higher amount. Even though it was not a like for like replacement.

Now they are asking us to pay for it to be dug in and they want it in a different position (not in the middle of the hedge at the bottom of our respective gardens), but higher up. This will cost us well over £500 in total.

We know that they want the new tree bigger and in a different position so to block the view of the houses that they can now see because we removed and topped pine trees that we were well in our right to remove in our garden.

We have agreed to the additional cost but I feel really aggrieved. We agreed so to keep the peace. But even after bending over backward to their demands, they are still being really grumpy and rude to us.

I am so upset by this situation. I don't know what to do.

fingerlicking Tue 04-Mar-14 08:21:34

As an addition. We live in a small village and the husband has a reputation for being a real thug. Where they moved from, they fell out with a number of neighbours and those neighbours had their cars damaged by glue and scratches. There was no proof, but a very strong belief that it was the husband that had damaged the cars.

We don't want our cars damaged!!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Mar-14 08:24:38

Well I'd have politely told them from the outset to fuck off if it was my tree. Is the hedge/boundary your responsibility on the deeds? If so it was your tree and I'd send a copy of the deeds to them (photocopy) pointing this out. I'd withdraw all offers of money.

If the boundary is there's then technically you have cut their tree down and I guess you need to pay the money.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Mar-14 08:25:51

X post.

If withdrawing the offer I'd be spending the money on a CCTV camera which covered my drive.

aquashiv Tue 04-Mar-14 08:26:23

If they are threatening you call the police. They are bullies.

littledrummergirl Tue 04-Mar-14 08:29:14

No is a complete sentence. Why would you agree to pay them anything. Tell them you have looked at the boundaries, it was part of your property and that if they want to put something in their garden it is up to them.
Why are you allowing them to intimidate you?

Mama1980 Tue 04-Mar-14 08:30:01

If you feel threatened call the police, 101 if only to ask for advice and make them aware there maybe a issue.
Regarding the tree if it was yours send them a copy of the deeds and tell them to go away. You can ask for council clarification if you need it.
If it was theirs well you have to replace it but again ask the councils advice regarding size etc.
I would withdraw all offers until you've clarified if it was yours/theirs.

TheGreatHunt Tue 04-Mar-14 08:30:09

You could have spoken to them first regardless - just to tell them. I would have had the conversation.

If they threaten you (where on earth do you live?!) then stay calm and hold your ground. If your car gets scratched I would go to the police and explain your suspicions.

ohfourfoxache Tue 04-Mar-14 08:30:33

Definitely contact the police, keep a record of everything that has happened so far and hand a copy in.

Withdraw your offer - they were your trees and, assuming that here was no tree protection order in place, they were yours to do with as you wished.

And yes to CCTV

MidniteScribbler Tue 04-Mar-14 08:32:52

I think that since you agreed you now need to replace the tree, but only like for like in the place you removed it. They need to plant a row of hedges or other plants to grow on their own land along the fence so they don't risk the neighbours cutting them down and ruining the view. You can only control what is on your own land.

I do have to say though that when doing anything on a boundary it is polite to go and speak to your neighbours. I've got a massive row on pines along the back of my property which I want to trim, but went and spoke to the neighbours first and we agreed on the scope of the works. It just makes life easier if everyone is on the same page. Sure, you can do whatever the hell you want on your own property, but neighbourly relations go a long way.

jenniuol Tue 04-Mar-14 08:33:35

You've offered way more than I would've. If they are your trees then I might be vaguely sympathetic that they liked them, but would essentially say tough shit (more politely obviously). If they're that keen on privacy they should grow their own. And if I think if you feel threatened by them you should involve the police.

WooWooOwl Tue 04-Mar-14 08:33:47

If withdrawing the offer I'd be spending the money on a CCTV camera which covered my drive.

^^ This.

As soon as you started offering them money you let them think they were right. Why didn't you at least check the deeds before you offered money?

They are grumpy rude people and are cross that you have spoiled their view (which you had every right to do in your own garden). They will never be happy whatever you do so don't keep escalating the offer up. Make a firm stand on something that's reasonable.

I'd also definitely look at the boundaries although they will be unlikely to be that clear on whose tree/hedge it really is in which case the boundary/hedge is yours as much as theirs.

You may also find your council has a neighbour dispute service.

fingerlicking Tue 04-Mar-14 08:35:32

As we have agreed I don't feel I can withdraw my offer now. I hoped that our extreme reasonableness would mean that our relationship would be on better terms, but they are being so rude even now.

The 'tree' was a Hawthorn, but they want a mature Laurel type tree to replace it. Where they want it placed in their garden is where they have a broken up path, which is why they need so much money to have it dug in.

I feel they are 'punishing' me for removing and topping trees in my garden, not for removing the Hawthorn 'arch' (that is a joke, it was bent right over and collapsing).

curiousgeorgie Tue 04-Mar-14 08:35:57

I wouldn't be paying them anything. It was your tree. They're just bullying you.

fingerlicking Tue 04-Mar-14 08:36:57

If I was standing on my patio and looking down the garden with my house behind me, the boundary the Hawthorn was in the thick hedge at the bottom on the Right. Do I own the boundary on the Right or the Left? I don't know.

KeatsiePie Tue 04-Mar-14 08:37:00

My goodness. I get what you mean about a small community -- I live in one too, rural, and there are a couple of neighbors I am careful about as they just don't have normal behavioral boundaries. E.g., one of them decided that our dog should run free and not be confined to a yard, despite the fact that we live on the through road and our dog has no clue of how to avoid cars. So she cut our fence. I can't prove it, but I am quite sure it was her. We're getting security lights. In your place I would get a camera and report to the police. I might not withdraw the offer now that you've made it, but I'd keep to the original offer only and point out repeatedly that they're moving the goalposts here.

dontcry Tue 04-Mar-14 08:37:24

They are trying it on.Let them take you to small claims court if they feel they have a case

orangepudding Tue 04-Mar-14 08:37:50

If it wasn't her tree then don't replace. If you do feel like you have too then replace it with a tree in the same spot.

KarenBrockman Tue 04-Mar-14 08:38:41

I echo CCTV, do not speak to these people again and report to the police.

Sister77 Tue 04-Mar-14 08:41:34

You're being bullied and by your "extreme reasonableness" you are condoning this behaviour. As a pp said, spend that money on CCTV and tell em to eff off! Some people are beyond reasonable behaviour so should be treated like they treat others.

Eatriskier Tue 04-Mar-14 08:43:28

Just tell them you have been reasonable to now but are offering like for like only. If they threaten you again then call the police and withdraw the offer pending court action. And in the mean time find out whether that was your tree to cut down or not. It will be on your deeds.

ohfourfoxache Tue 04-Mar-14 08:44:33

Extreme reasonableness? They are taking the fucking piss sad

Seriously, if they are still being bloody rude to you, despite offering to pay, then you need to withdraw. The relationship is already lost iyswim - and frankly they are in the wrong

ghostinthecanvas Tue 04-Mar-14 08:44:48

You need to check your boundaries. If it is theirs, replace like for like. Same tree, same place. If it is yours, send a letter from your solicitor to this effect - no compensation. Put in CCTV if you feel it is necessary to protect yourself. Also check that they own the property, they may have a landlord that doesn't care much about the hedge.

thegreylady Tue 04-Mar-14 08:44:59

The most you need to do is replace like with like so a two metre hawthorn in exactly the position of the original and you pay to have it dug in. Tell them that that is what you will do and no more. If there is more hassle call 101. You could explain that you would not have withdrawn your generous offer if they had been more reasonable.

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