NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

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Latest post Thu, Sep 8 2016 8:24 AM by karen2222. 9 replies.
  • Tue, Sep 6 2016 12:59 PM

    • adzam5
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 6 2016
    • NJ
    • Posts 4

    NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    I recently received a letter from the town stating I must take care of overgrown weeds on the side of my house. The side of the house in question has landscape fabric down between my house and a 6 foot fence on the property line. The area between my house and the fence is approximately 6 feet wide and covered with decorative stone. The weeds managed to penetrate the landscape fabric and stone and did become quite overgrown. Bushes in front of my house make it virtually unnoticeable from the road.

    The other day I pulled out all the weeds and cleaned up the area. I did however leave 2 Rose of Sharon plants that came up next to the fence (on my side). Each one was slightly over 6 feet tall, but not hanging over the fence into my neighbor’s property. I figured they would add a little color to the side when they bloom in the spring.

    About 3 hours after I finished my neighbor came onto my property and cut the Rose of Sharon down to about 4 feet or less. I was not there at the time but my security cameras caught the entire incident.

    My neighbor and I do not get along at all. Years ago I filed a harassment complaint with the local police and told her to stay off my property.

    What options do I have and what is the best way to handle this situation?

     

    Thank you.

  • Tue, Sep 6 2016 1:26 PM In reply to

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    Assuming you can quantify the value of trimming of the two plants (and I'm skeptical), you're free to file a small claims action against your neighbor.

  • Tue, Sep 6 2016 7:08 PM In reply to

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    adzam5:
    What options do I have and what is the best way to handle this situation?

    Some options include:

    (1) trying to interest the local prosecutor's office in charging her with criminal trespass and/or criminal mischief,

    (2) making it more difficult for her to enter your property again in future by installing more fences, hedges, or a security system (all subject to your local zoning code of course),

    (3) fixing any damage she did to the plants by following the recommendations for "rejuvenation pruning of rose of sharon" that you find when you google that on the web, and otherwise ignoring the whole incident.

    The best way to handle the situation depends on how your neighbor is likely to react to whatever you are considering doing.  Since I've never met your neighbor, I'm less qualified to opine on that than you are.  All I can do is encourage you to do your best to guess how she will perceive what you do and what she is likely to do in response.  Peacemaking is usually the best in the long term, except when dealing with out-and-out bullies.

  • Wed, Sep 7 2016 9:03 AM In reply to

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    karen2222:
    Peacemaking is usually the best in the long term, except when dealing with out-and-out bullies.

    Just wanted to clarify that:  by bullies, I mean the kind of personality that wants to dominate others, and deliberately seeks out and feeds on a distress and/or fear reaction.

    Everyone else will respond positively to a conciliatory approach, though possibly not immediately (it's hard to turn on a dime).

  • Wed, Sep 7 2016 1:02 PM In reply to

    • adzam5
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 6 2016
    • NJ
    • Posts 4

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    Thank you for your input!

    ca19lawyer2:

    Assuming you can quantify the value of trimming of the two plants (and I'm skeptical), you're free to file a small claims action against your neighbor.

    I'm not really looking to get money out of the situation.  I agree it would be difficult to put a value on the plants.  Especially since they came up on their own.

    karen2222:

    (1) trying to interest the local prosecutor's office in charging her with criminal trespass and/or criminal mischief,

    This is the action I was hoping I would be able to take.  This lady has been nothing but a headache for me and other neighbors I am friendly with.  She is impossible to deal with, irrational, and acts as if she owns the block.  There was a time my neighbor on the other side of me was listening to a baseball game on the radio in his back yard and she complained that she was unable to hear the birds chirping because of the radio.  

    I plan on going to the police station today to file a complaint.

    Thank you again for your replies!

     

  • Wed, Sep 7 2016 5:11 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,368

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    Unless,your neighbor was clearly ordered  off or the property posted as per law...and you could prove it was her..you have a weak point as to trespass and local DA may have 99 other priorities......



  • Wed, Sep 7 2016 8:30 PM In reply to

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    adzam5:
    There was a time my neighbor on the other side of me was listening to a baseball game on the radio in his back yard and she complained that she was unable to hear the birds chirping because of the radio.

    Actually, I'm on her side on that one.  People who assume all their neighbors want to hear the same music, or the same game on TV, as they want to are rude and obnoxious, IMHO.

  • Wed, Sep 7 2016 8:56 PM In reply to

    • adzam5
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 6 2016
    • NJ
    • Posts 4

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    Drew:

    Unless,your neighbor was clearly ordered  off or the property posted as per law...and you could prove it was her..you have a weak point as to trespass and local DA may have 99 other priorities......

    It would be my word against hers, but I did tell her to stay off my property a few years ago.  I have video of her coming onto the property and cutting the plants and throwing the branches over the fence into her yard.  She then picks up the branches and throws then back over the fence into my yard before going back into her house.

  • Wed, Sep 7 2016 9:37 PM In reply to

    • adzam5
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 6 2016
    • NJ
    • Posts 4

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    karen2222:

    adzam5:
    There was a time my neighbor on the other side of me was listening to a baseball game on the radio in his back yard and she complained that she was unable to hear the birds chirping because of the radio.

    Actually, I'm on her side on that one.  People who assume all their neighbors want to hear the same music, or the same game on TV, as they want to are rude and obnoxious, IMHO.

    I agree with you, however in my opinion the radio was not loud.  I was barely able to hear it in my yard, so I can't see how it was bothering her two yards away.

    I filed a complaint with the police today and they knew exactly who she was.  They said she constantly calls to complain about frivilous things.

    I have tried to be respectful and a good neighbor.  Before I put up the six foot fence between our properties I checked with her to make sure she didn't have a problem with it.  She said she did not like the idea of looking out her window at a fence.  In order to please her I planted 18 bushes along the fence on her side.  I have paid my landscaper to put mulch around the bushes multiple times and even cut her grass once in a while when she was unable to have someone else do it.  Regardless of the things I have done to try to make peace with her and help her out she still finds something to complain about.  Coming onto my property and butchering my plants was the straw that broke the camels back.

     

  • Thu, Sep 8 2016 8:24 AM In reply to

    Re: NJ Neighbor came onto my property and cut plants

    adzam5:
    I have video of her coming onto the property and cutting the plants and throwing the branches over the fence into her yard.  She then picks up the branches and throws then back over the fence into my yard before going back into her house.

    Hmmm...did she prune the plants for a good appearance and future healthy growth, or did she quickly and carelessly hack them down (with an angry expression on her face)?

    If the former, that may have been an attempt to do you a favor while showing off her superior gardening knowledge.

    But I'd guess it was the latter, based on everything else you've said about the history here.  She probably still resents the fence.  You will probably never get her to be friendly.  My (off-topic) advice is to find a way to make peace with this fact of life, maybe feel a little sorry for her (it can't really be fun to be an angry person like that), and use that thought to calm your own anger so it doesn't wreck your happiness.  I think engaging in war with a person like that only hurts you.  She might very well enjoy the thrill of battle and the opportunity to feel even more sorry for herself than she already does.  If she is like my elderly father was, she seeks out conflict to spice up an otherwise far-too-boring life.

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