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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Frederick, MD
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    To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?



    So, my mom's property in Maryland sits next to a small sandwich shop. My mom doesn't live at that house, she rents it out. She found out that the owner of the sandwich shop cut down all of her trees/shrubbery that lined her property and bordered his shop's parking lot. His reasoning was that he wanted people coming down the road to better see his shop. In addition, he also extended his parking lot about 10-15 feet onto my mom's yard - he tore the grass up and laid asphalt.

    When my mom confronted him about it, he was quite nasty. She got him to plant new white pine trees along the border, but he never removed the plastic from the tree's roots, so they died shortly afterwards.

    My mom also called the town and they said that her only option was to get a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the shop owner.

    Now, my mom's position is that she isn't sure if it is worth it (financially) to get a lawyer, pay their freight, and then in return only really get a few hundred dollars in trees and landscaping services out of it.

    The issue that I see is that my mom wants to sell the house, but because the shop owner's parking lot now (illegally) extends into my mom's property, I think that there is the potential for her to have problems selling the house because the listed property would not be in alignment with the county's property lines - this would obviously come up during the inspection process.

    I told my mom that she should file a police report for destruction of private property. I also think she should sue the shop owner and make him pay to fix her property to include removing the asphalt, putting in new sod where the asphalt was, and planting new trees along the property line.

    Can I get some crowd-sourcing here? Am I off base?
    Disclaimer: The content posted is of my own opinion.

    RIP #25





  2. #2

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Get the lawyer. The police won't help. They'll say it's a civil matter. Mainl since it wasn't a wanton act of destruction. However, failure to legally enforce your property rights could be taken as relinquishing them later.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX Y'all
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    34,417

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Is the property line in question on an easement? If it's her land, and she can show it's hers (land deed with the county), she should tear up whatever was built and invoice the shop owner for the costs. Along those same lines, she can always claim trespassing on her property. Perhaps a certified letter to the shop owner, providing a copy of the land survey, a demand to return her property to its original condition and if they fault to do, she will tear it down, invoice the cost to the shop, file suit and issue a trespass notice.

    It's also pretty common for municipalities to allow tree trimming of trees that extend over property lines. We have three very big oak trees on our property and our neighbor to the rear of us trims the branches on the regular and there's nothing we can do about it since they hang over his property.

    Lots of this can most likely be resolved without an attorney but will take time. Calling the police and making a report is a good start. And since trees are not that expensive, she can file suit for a small claim in District Court without an attorney.

    http://www.mdcourts.gov/district/for.../dccv001br.pdf

    She needs to start documenting everything. Conversations, phone calls, etc. The court will expect her to try and resolve the issue without the courts involvement first.





  4. #4

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    I'd at least consult a lawyer. I think most will do that for free?

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Id think you could get in touch with whoever is in charge of your zoning/building codes. new paving up to the line, theyd have to have gotten a permit, id assume, and if they crossed the line then the inspector failed as property corners typically have to be found before projects like that start. If you file a complaint, the township will likely force them to remove it themselves. That may not get the trees back though.

    Im not sure how the courts would view him trying to remedy the situation by replanting trees, that later died, unless there was some contract to not only replant but maintain for sometime. Seems like he half assed it, but it was attempted and agreed upon fix from what you say above.

    I think HR is right, shes got plenty of information on her side for a small claims court win, which should be considerably less cost. a survey would be expensive but if you find the property corners yourself (hopefully theyre marked), you can probably string a line and show it within some pictures, which would be hard to argue. some before and after pictures of the landscaping. I cant see how a judge would rule against such obvious destruction of property, but maybe that is the first step to get police involved, as he suggested.

    good luck.
    -JAB





  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX Y'all
    Posts
    34,417

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ortizer View Post
    I'd at least consult a lawyer. I think most will do that for free?

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
    The lawyer, in that initial consultation, will say whether or not they have a case, not offer any legal advice. They don't give it away for free.





  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Frederick, MD
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    To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    I convinced her to at least file a complaint with the town police for destruction of private property and trespassing. So, there is something documented.

    I also convinced her to get her property surveyed so she at least knows what her property boundaries are and how much over the shop owner is.

    I like the idea of her sending him a formal notification (certified) that she didn't give authorization to do what he did and that he has _____ number of days to rectify it himself or she'll have a landscaping company come do it and bill him. If he doesn't pay for the landscaping, then she'd file a lawsuit against him in small claims court.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Disclaimer: The content posted is of my own opinion.

    RIP #25





  8. #8

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Make it a stipulation that all your friends on Russel Street Report get free hoagies for life.
    "A moron, a rapist, and a Pittsburgh Steeler walk into a bar. He sits down and says, Hi Im Ben may I have a drink please?
    ProFootballMock





  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Quote Originally Posted by darb72 View Post
    Make it a stipulation that all your friends on Russel Street Report get free hoagies for life.
    It isn't that good of a joint, but I'll inquire on your behalf...
    Disclaimer: The content posted is of my own opinion.

    RIP #25





  10. #10

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Quote Originally Posted by wickedsolo View Post
    It isn't that good of a joint, but I'll inquire on your behalf...
    I'm fat and not all that picky.
    "A moron, a rapist, and a Pittsburgh Steeler walk into a bar. He sits down and says, Hi Im Ben may I have a drink please?
    ProFootballMock





  11. #11

    Re: To Lawyer or not To Lawyer?

    Quote Originally Posted by darb72 View Post
    I'm fat and not all that picky.
    That's what she said......




    And by she I mean BC's sister in law...





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