If you the reader have seen more than ten of my blog post articles, you would conclude that I don’t like the Dickinson area, and you would wonder why did I buy a house here. I will explain why.
Even though the oil boom in western North Dakota has been over since 2015 when the price of oil continued to stay below $50 per barrel, and many oil field jobs have gone away, there are still some oil field/industrial projects that are being completed. The wage rate in western North Dakota remains much higher than in my home state of Idaho, because of the shortage of workers in western North Dakota, due to no one wanting to come to and live in North Dakota.
After living in a low-rent apartment in downtown Dickinson for the past three years, I became very, very tired of the drug dealing, drug addicts, theft of my truck, theft of my property, attempted thefts, living in the ghetto, and the Police trying to stop me all the time as if I was a criminal, on probation, or in possession of drugs.
I wanted to keep my job that I like and that pays well, for the next couple of years, even though Dickinson is a bad place, and the neighborhood that I was living in was terrible. I was looking at small, low-priced homes, in order to be able to get out of the crime infested Dickinson ghetto, so that my life wouldn’t be so miserable.
In May when I purchased a small 3br/1ba home on multiple lots in the Dickinson area, it seemed so good, that it was too good to be true. For me, it was like getting out of prison. One of my friends who is in his sixties, he told me, “Don’t do it, don’t do it! Those people will cause you so much trouble, you have no idea how much trouble they will cause you!” Sounds crazy, right?
Initially, this move seemed too good to be true. My own house, my own kitchen, my own bathroom, my own laundry room, my own yard. What a relief. Such a drop in tension, stress, and misery getting out of the downtown Dickinson meth-addict ghetto.
This new peace, tranquility, and happiness was short-lived. It ended when two Police Officers arrived at my house to question me. I have never been accused or charged with any crime in my life, and when the two Police Officers arrived at my house to question me, I had not committed any crime.
Without going into the details at this time, I will say that this visit from the Police was because of the North Dakota law “You Are Not From Here”. Because I have been in North Dakota for over seven years now, I realized that it doesn’t matter if you have not committed any crime in North Dakota, you will still be arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted, imprisoned, and have your property stolen by corrupt asset forfeiture laws.
The Police could have caused me to lose my good job, my home, and all of my property through being incarcerated, legal defense fees, and asset forfeiture. Please note, in North Dakota you don’t have to be convicted of any crime before your property is permanently seized, the Police can just take it from you immediately, and not ever give it back, even if you are never convicted of any crime.
Within a few days, I called my Dickinson ghetto apartment landlord to say that I wasn’t moving out of my apartment by the end of June, could I please keep renting my apartment through July and August. I now wanted to keep my apartment in order to have a different place to stay if the Police were going to continue to try to harass me at my new house. But this is a digression and going off on a tangent story, I just wanted to explain why I was no longer very happy anymore.
At my new house, I was aware that my neighbor to the south had built a fence that was approximately three feet onto my property, for the entire length of the property line. This neighbor had done this, because his yard was so small in total, and this side of his house would not have had any usable yard.
My neighbor and his wife were very concerned that I was going to ask them to move their fence. I told them that their fence was O.K. where it was. ( I knew that there are laws concerning customary/established use of land, which could cause me to lose legal ownership of this three foot strip of land by allowing their fence to remain where it was.)
My neighbor to the east, he had become accustomed to planting a 50’x50′ garden on the northeast corner of my property. He claimed that he had been doing this for the past thirty years. I told him that he could continue to use this corner of my property for his garden. ( I believed that this neighbor might have had a good chance of winning some kind of customary/established use of land legal action that could grant him use of this land if I tried to stop him.)
My neighbor to the north, she was an 85 year old widow who lived alone. I was glad to have an enormous hedge along the entire length of my north property line which acted like a privacy fence, blocking visitors, sight, and noise. When I realized that this 85 year old woman lived alone, with apparently no one to help her, I went onto her side of the hedge in order to trim it back away from her garage to create a six foot wide alley-way.
After more bad shit had happened, I was mowing my lawn today, which took about two hours because I had to stop to move things and deal with other distractions, when I heard some woman yelling, Hey!, Hey! I looked up from mowing and saw some woman in her mid-fifties standing in my yard with the 85 year old widow woman.
I walked over to them, and the fifty-five year old woman was saying that she wanted me to look at the north property line with them. She was asking me if I knew where the property line was. ( The seller of the property had told me that it was approximately down the middle of this hedge.) I knew from talking to the 85 year old woman previously, that she had lived in her house since 1955, her daughter had been born in this house, and she grew up in this house. The property line is probably still in the same place that it has been for the past sixty-five years, I was thinking sarcastically.
Why did this fifty-five year old woman, who no longer lived in her mother’s house, now have such an interest in discussing with me exactly where the property line was located within this enormous, six foot wide hedge? Neither myself, nor the 85 year old widow woman ever ventured into this hedge, or tried to build anything within this hedge, so why does this matter?
I knew what this fifty-five year old woman was trying to do, pretty much the same thing as my neighbors on the south who had their fence three feet onto my side of the property, and my neighbor to the east that wanted to use a 50’x50′ corner of my property, she wanted to try to get something from me.
I said to her, “This hedge has been growing here for the last twenty to twenty-five years. I have been here for two months, are you trying to get me to now take all the responsibility for this hedge?” The fifty-five year old woman did not answer this question of mine, she continued to act like she was interested in determining the location of the property line. I knew that this did not really have anything to do with the property line, it was all about trying to get me to do something with this hedge.
Then, she began to complain about how the hedge had grown so close to her mother’s garage. I explained to her, and I showed her, that I had cut this six foot wide alley-way beside her mother’s garage a month ago, because her mother was elderly, and because she lived alone, but I was not obligated to do this. The fifty-five year old woman continued to say, “We have got to find out where this property line is?” I said, “Why?” She didn’t answer.
I knew what she was trying to do, and I was very angry about it. She was trying to find some way to make me cut this hedge way back, hire someone else to cut this hedge way back, or she could hire someone herself and make me pay for it.
For the past twenty to twenty-five years she and her mother could have trimmed this hedge, or hired someone to trim this hedge on their side of the property, however they liked. Now, since I bought the property next door, they were going to try to find some way to see if they could force me to pay for what they had neglected to do themselves for the past twenty years.
What this woman was trying to do, was trying to somehow get me to be legally responsible and obligated to perform or pay for having this hedge trimmed regularly to their liking. I yelled at them, “I am so sick of you North Dakotans, just go ahead and take me to court!” And I walked away.
After I talked to some people about this and calmed down quite a bit, I looked up and read the laws concerning hedges/trees on or near property lines, from more than half a dozen attorneys. Here is a summary:
In general, for hedges/trees on or near a property line, each homeowner is responsible for what is on their property or over their property line, at their own expense.
In general, whatever limb, branch, root, or trunk that is located on their property or over their property line, they can trim it or remove it up to the property line, so long as it does not kill the hedge/tree on someone else’s property.
In general, it is the property owner’s responsibility to perform, hire, or pay for the trimming of limbs, branches, roots, trees on their property or over their property line.
Almost always, the owner of a tree or hedge is not responsible to perform, hire, or pay for trimming of a branch, limb, or root that crosses over onto someone else’s property. The only exception is a dead or broken tree branch that is hanging over someone else’s home that is a danger.
I was so angry about this, because I felt like each of my neighbors was so obviously trying to take advantage of me, and I got tired of it. I felt like and I thought about putting a “For Sale By Owner” sign in my front yard tomorrow.
These people in North Dakota are unashamedly nasty and primitive in their inability to distinguish or know basic right and wrong.