What are my rights if my neighbor was “scalping” his Bermuda grass by setting it on firebut healso burned my landscaping in the process?

I am out of the country and have been renting the home out while I’m gone. My tenant though has recorded the date of the occurrence, has taken before and after pictures, and has a copy of the incident report from the fire department. The neighbor verbally told him that he would get it fixed. I have contacted a landscaper to provide an estimate to replace the damaged bushes because they will not survive. The total cost is approximately $2,000. After contacting the neighbor through e-mail, no word has been received since. I think my next step is to talk to an attorney and sue.

Asked on March 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should consider a couple of options. Since the amount is $2,000.00 or so (hoping this the amount with labor costs included), contact your state's small claims court in the county in which you reside and see if the small claims cap is greater than or lesser than $2,000.00.  If the cap is greater than $2,000.00 you might be bale to sue in small claims court to lower your overall legal costs but remember, no matter which route you go, you still have to deal with actual payment. Just because you obtain a judgment doesn't mean the neighbor will automatically pay you. If he plays games, you will need to go back for a payment plan or order to garnish his wages, his assets (yes, that includes cars, homes, bank accounts) and what ever else you can attach a lien to to get your payment.


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