Consumer Watch: Neighbors in dispute over tree damage

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WHAS11.com

Posted on June 24, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 1:30 PM

(WHAS11) - This Consumer Watch is a not so neighborly dispute between two families who live right next door to each other in Shivley.

One family claims the other's tree needs to come down after they say its falling limbs have damaged a fence on several occasions.

The first time this tree did damage to Sam and Ruby Alvey's fence was during the Windstorm of '08. Then in January of 2009, the Alvey's 6-foot fence was crushed. Their roof was damaged and one of their gutters torn off. Sam says he paid for repairs the first time, but this time turned it over to his insurance company.

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"During the windstorm the neighbor said that he would pay for the damaged part of the six foot fence. That never happened," says Sam Alvey.

But every time storms roll in, the Alvey's worry that more branches are about to break loose.

"You can see they're still hanging down now. I mean they're loose and if they fall and hit one of those grandkids then I'm going to jail because I'm going to hurt somebody. You know I love my dog and I love my grandkids," says Alvey.

Alvey's insurance company has told him not to replace the fence until the tree is trimmed or taken out. Unfortunately, the Alvey's have no power to make that happen. Both Shivley and Louisville have told them there is no ordinance that can force another party to trim their tree.

WHAS11 knocked on the neighbors door hoping to work out some kind of compromise. But despite the three cars in the driveway, no one answered and those neighbors are no longer signing for certified mail.

But before the ice damage, a letter was signed for. It makes the case that the tree poses a threat. Because of it, the neighbor's insurance company paid the Alvey's $1,000 deductible.

"We can't keep making claims on this tree falling and it's not a possibility it's inevitable it's going to fall again," says Alvey.

And when it does, the tree's owners are no more liable.

If you have a similar problem, it's imperative that you contact your neighbors with a certified letter before the tree does damage. The Alvey's got $1,000 from their neighbors insurance company only because they acted before the ice storm.

If you have a consumer issue you'd like WHAS11 to look into, send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.

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