Adventures in Home Ownership: the backyard neighbor
Last week I alluded to an issue that happened the morning after the blizzard. Now it’s your lucky day to read all about it.
Before the snow had even stopped falling Saturday morning there was a knock on the door. It was about 9am and we were already hard at work. It was the neighbor whose property runs along the back of our property. At some point in the night, actually it was around 4am because I was I almost jumped out of my skin, I heard a crash. At the time I was scared that the roof was getting blown off in the 80+ mph winds. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and instead a large branch, one of a fork had fallen off of our tree and toppled backwards knocking over a four foot section of the neighbor’s fence and was blocking their driveway. Thankfully there wasn’t any real damage to speak of, but nonetheless she was over at 9am to get us to pay for it. She wanted us to call a tree service out right then to clear her driveway for her, and she wanted us to fix the fence and remove all the wood from her yard. She wouldn’t leave without exchanging cell phone numbers, which she was lucky was possible, because we had no pens/pencils/paper (we were snowed in with some work supplies and a bit of food/clothes. Pens and paper did not make the cut! And with all the power outages around we were lucky we hadn’t lost power so our cell phones were still working. Regardless the numbers were exchanged not without her saying, “welcome to the neighborhood, I’m sure we will love you, but you’ve got to pay.” oh joy.
After all of the events of the day before, and sleeping in a new unfamiliar place I was just about at the end of my rope. A bit clueless about what even to do, Bryan went looking to borrow a chainsaw from a neighbor(to save the expense of a tree service) while my in-laws suggested we call the insurance company and file a claim. Before I could even do that, the neighbor had called me back saying her plowers had come by and chopped it up, so it wouldn’t be as expensive as a tree service, but we still needed to fix the fence and remove the wood (Those plowers came by twice before our street was even cleared). She would send us a bill for the plowers. I told her of course we would cover whatever was our responsibility and called the insurance company.
Thankfully since the tree was healthy, and it fell during a blizzard, it isn’t something we have to cover. (Not that it would have made our insurance go up, it just wasn’t something I wanted to deal with right off the bat.) My lovely insurance company took care of that and sent a nice letter to the neighbors stating just that. And they had me call her back and say I started a claim, here was the adjuster’s number and extension, and here was the claim number. I wasn’t to tell her the company wasn’t paying (this call would get to her long before the letter), and I also wasn’t to set foot on her property to help. My insurance company said if she’s walking around while it’s still snowy and windy to get us to pay for a branch that fell across her driveway when the streets are still legally closed then she could be litigious, and we didn’t want to do anything (like try and move the wood for her) that could end with us getting sued for crushing her precious begonias. ha.
So I called her and let her know and haven’t heard from her since. I’m glad that we don’t have to deal with it, and I’m also really glad it didn’t fall on her house (not possible, her house is 50+ feet away) because then I would have felt guilty, but having someone over during a snow storm to tell me I’m going to pay for something (that is not actually my responsibility, if her tree fell on my house my insurance would cover it) doesn’t exactly bring about the best ‘cheery neighbor’ vibes.
Ah well, she said she’s selling and moving to Florida soon.