property management company trashed our garden. What to do?
August 27, 2004 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Neighorboring slumlord property management company trashed our garden. What to do?

There was a small tree growing between their building and our fence, as well as grape vines (harvestable... grrr) that they wanted to remove. The space between our fence and their building is narrow but when cleared is passable. The workers hopped the fence around our property to access their targets, trampling a wide swath.

Suggestions on dealing with the company in question? Photos of the damage at the link above.
posted by mimi to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Do you own or rent, mimi? Seems to my non-legal-educated mind that that might make a difference.

You might want to check out the recent AskMe thread about the people whose neighbor chopped down their tree. Small claims court might be the way to go here.

Also, your profile says you live in Madison. What area? (Not trying to stalk - my girlfriend would kill me, and plus the judge wouldn't be so happy if I got arrested for stalking again - I just live over on the Mifflin St. area and was wondering if I've seen your place before.)
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:11 AM on August 27, 2004

Response by poster: We own. And you're my neighbor! (Sorta--Willy St. area.)

PS: When are we gonna have another MadMeFiMeetup, so it can be scheduled when I'm out of town? Also, love your nick.
posted by mimi at 10:17 AM on August 27, 2004

1. Come to a reasonable estimate of damages (market value of garden produce, cost to replace plants, reasonable labor)

2. Itemize this list and post it to slumlord via certified mail with a request for compensation.

3. No response, send another copy via certified mail.

4. Absent a response or payola, small claims court.

The idea is that through strong documentation and good-faith efforts to resolve this matter you build a compelling small claims case should it come to that.

oh, and I should add - bastards!
posted by Fezboy! at 10:18 AM on August 27, 2004

Response by poster: Well! The "supervisor" finally called back and offered compensation. Fezboy, I told him I'd draw up a list - thanks! He's going to "swing by" this afternoon to get a look at the damage. He also indicated that he was familiar with the property and had worked on it in the past, and said that he explained to the workers that they didn't need to cross the fence to get at the shrubs.

Heh. I've been thinking about getting a better fence for a few years now...
posted by mimi at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2004

if the person from that previous bad-neighbour/tree-killer thread would update us, I'd sure appreciate it
posted by five fresh fish at 12:01 PM on August 27, 2004

fff, remember the member deciding it was not wise posting it here because the matter could be posted for ever - it was to be updated on their web site. I could not find it by their meta-filter profile though.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:52 PM on August 27, 2004


Who was the management company? I work as a resident manager for one in town (near Tenney Park), and these kinds of shenanigans sound very familiar to the folks I work for.

If you'd prefer to email the name, my address is in my profile.

That said, if they've offered compensation, the matter is probably just an issue of hard negotiation (get everything they're willing to give you).
posted by rocketman at 2:07 PM on August 27, 2004

Screw this "polite, reasonable" amicable solution bullshit. These assholes trespassed onto YOUR property and destroyed YOUR garden without a thought in the world. Contact the police, file a report, and accompany the officer over to the property manager's office to "discuss" the issue.
posted by Danelope at 3:59 PM on August 27, 2004

>Contact the police, file a report, and accompany the officer over to the property manager's office to "discuss" the issue.

Won't work. Police don't deal with civil matters. I tried that when a customer refused to pay.

At best, the police will come to your home and make a John Doe tresspass report and then they'll go back to the station and file it in the big round bin.
posted by shepd at 4:21 PM on August 27, 2004

PS: When are we gonna have another MadMeFiMeetup, so it can be scheduled when I'm out of town?

Why don't you start a Metatalk thread about it? I'd like to actually come to this one (I suggested the last one, then bailed at the last minute for a trip to Memphis.) I had quite a fine time when we got together about a year ago.
posted by UKnowForKids at 4:54 PM on August 27, 2004

Good to hear Mimi! Don't put your guard down though, this could be a clever ruse. Continue to document what transpires until you end up with the cash in hand.

Then enjoy your new, idiot-proof fence.

And I wanted to second what shepd said. Taking the "I'm the reasonable party and have tried to resolve this in a reasonable manner" angle is not the most emotionally satisfying tactic, but it is the one that garners the most success in civil law. (Again, IANAL, but have some experience in the realm of civil proceedings)
posted by Fezboy! at 9:15 AM on August 28, 2004

"Police don't deal with civil matters."

Trespass and vandalism are both crimes. While I agree the cops are likely to be completely useless, and that even the unlikely event of successful prosecution would at best result in a piddling fine rather than someone sitting in the slammer, it is in fact the justice system's job to deal with exactly this kind of problem. Unlike, say, a speeding ticket, it isn't profitable so they aren't going to expend effort on it.

Having no faith whatsoever in the cops and saying it's not actually their job to deal with trespass and vandalism are two different things; one of them is incorrect.
posted by majick at 12:31 PM on August 29, 2004

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