What Would You Do?

Last summer, a veteran Realtor/developer in my neighborhood came to my home and asked me if I would allow his workpeople to come on to my property to run 40 feet of underground power line from the power pole in my backyard to the new “McMansion” he built on an adjoining property. (Our local power company apparently has a policy stating that owners of newly-constructed homes have the option of running lines underground instead of overhead, but must do so at their own expense.)

Being a longtime member of my community and a pretty friendly neighbor in general, I told him that he was welcome to dig the line ditch across my property on the condition that he promptly repair the damage to the lawn and re-seed the area affected before the following (2006) Spring season. He agreed to do so, we shook hands and he thanked me profusely.

Well, it’s now May, and the re-sodding/re-seeding was never done. Worse, the guy has refused to acknowledge my repeated telephone calls and e-mails over a span of five months. I even stopped by his office and left my card. No response whatsoever. Complete stonewall. As if I didn’t even exist.

Now, I must admit that the thought of waiting in his office parking lot for him bright & early and greeting him with a good, old-fashioned punch in the nose crossed my mind more than once, but thankfully my beloved bride convinced me that would only land me in the clink - and would do nothing to repair the property damage.

Last week, with Spring already here, I was finally forced to fill in the ditch myself and re-seed the yard at my own expense, and it still looks terrible. There’s mud, stone and unearthed clay strewn about the yard, along with the still-unconnected power line sticking up out of the ground which - despite several calls to the power company (a whole 'nother story) - has been there for more than six months now.

A few days ago, I decided enough was enough. I filed formal complaints with the BBB, the local Realty Board and several online consumer complaint sites. And wouldn’t you know it, last night I got an e-mail from the guy’s broker, profusely apologizing for the situation and offering me $150.00 (to cover the grass seed, sod, time and aggravation) to make the complaints “go away.” Yet still not a word from the actual culprit himself.

So the question is - what would you do? Take the money and be done with it, or continue to stack up complaints against this jack*ss on principle and let the community know to beware. Your input would be most welcome.

Regardless of the outcome, here’s some solid advice: Don’t let anyone do work of any kind on your property - for any reason - without a written agreement.

Lesson learned. And my back still hurts from all that shovelling!

Yep, the nice guy loses again…

I had to refocus on the $150, I thought it was $1500 at first…

150 is no where close to the right amount.

I would also be concerned with overloading the service that was tapped into. It was probably sized for one home only.

First offer is the cheapest–hold out, they’ll increase the offer. And keep the complaints coming.

Around here the power company won’t run the power lines on another’s property without an easement.

You could have him remove the lines. :cool:

$150 barely covers your time to type the complaint to the BBB and your post here. Get the most respected landscaper in your community to give you an estimate and don’t settle for less than that amount. We spend alot of time making sure work in other peoples homes is correct - don’t back down on your own…

Same here Larry.

Call the offending Realtor and tell him you have decided to put in a pool/addition/garage/etc and you will have to re route the power lines as they are in the way.

since you don’t have a written agreement I might make him remove the lines.

Get an estimate from a landscaper to make it look good and right then send the estimate to his lawyer.

I would make his sorry a** come remove the power line and then repair the lawn and never let him near my property again. If he didn’t have the common decency to return your phone call or emails after you went out ofyour way to help him he deserves whatever he gets. The reason people like this exist in the first place is because they get away with it. You can be cordial but firm in your demands and let him know HE is the cause. If he doesn’t even have enough seeds to talk to you personally I wouldn’t worry about him being a problem. Thats just me but then I have a low threshold of tolerance for jerks and BS.

Oh yeah, and the $150 wouldn’t even pay for me having to refill and reseed the areas they screwed up. Tell him you make that much an hour and bill him accordingly.

I’d have the line removed, if I could.

I’m with Doug.

Get his lines out of your lawn and to @#$! with him.

He took advantage of you and now wants you to feel like the bad guy.

Tell him you’ll rethink it if the offer is multiplied by about 30. :cool:

Take him to small claims court. I think you have cause to show he has abused your rights and failed to comply with his end of the bargain. I believe a handshake is accepted as contract. Under the circumstances I don’t think he can defend his actions considering the line was run for his benefit which resulted in your loss. As mentioned you may have further cause because there was no easment registered.

I guess a handshake doesn’t mean much anymore. It seems to be like a lot of things these days, I think its called common decency and honour.

I reread the post. I would charge this nitwit for my sore back too. If I get hurt or down in the back I can’t do my job. Now Im miffed with this toad and I don’t even know him. You might have to take out an ad in the local mullet wrapper or get the local TV station out. They usually are scratching around in the dumpsters looking for a good juicy story. You know, the “human interest” angle. Big Shot Realtor/Developer tries to Tube Local Businessman.

Actually this is something that I just studied.

You can take him to court and should. Don’t do anything to remove anything but make sure you have accurate records of everything and all your expenses etc. and you should be able to be reimbursed as well as receive some sort of settlement.

I would just train my dog to go in his yard. Then maybe put up a “privacy” wall painted really hideous colors facing his house. Or perhaps a sign on the front lawn that says “_____ (neighbor’s name) dug this ditch and has yet to fill it in as promised.”…

I like being a big pain in the *** as opposed to going to court:D …but if you want to be all legal and all…

In essence, he still owes you money from his building expense. Don’t you have the right to put a lien on his property until he pays up or fixes the problem, just as any subcontractor would who worked on his house during construction?? :wink:

My response was lost…2nd try…

Can you put a lien on his house? In essence, he still owes you money for your service during his construction process. Notification of Lien=Settlement.:wink:



Always, always get it in writing. A hard lesson learned for being a nice guy. I would have to agree with Larry, was there an easement drawn up? If not, it should. In most communities it is a requirement.

Thanks to everyone for their great responses and input. I have a meeting scheduled with the broker (Mr. Cowardly Lion himself has yet to respond) and I’m going to ask for a fair settlement for the time, materials and aggravation. If he doesn’t comply, I’m going to file additional complaints against him from here to New Delhi and do whatever I can to make his life miserable.

Thanks again, everybody!

  • Eric “Get It In Writing” Badofsky