Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair it.

Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair it.

Postby Teessider » Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:25 pm

A little background first. My neighbour seems to thrive on trying to cause problems with me, and I'm genuinely really not sure why. She has constantly complained and caused us hassle over a 10 year period.

About 6 years ago she decided to remove our existing fence and put a new one up. It had seen better days but her grandson erected the new one about 8" into our garden. At the time, I didn't feel it was worth the hassle to complain so just let it go.

Then, a few years ago we had some very large trees in our garden cut to half their height and employed a reputable company to do so. The lady next door had complained about their height and they were casting shadows in her garden. She also said her grandson would cut them down for me. Her grandson was about 17/18 and I certainly didn't want him cutting my trees down as he had no experience whatsoever and should anything happen, I would have no comeback.

As soon as the company started work, she was out hassling them - branches falling into her garden (completely unavoidable and also removed with no damage) then claiming that they were 'on drugs' and finally telling another neighbour that they were dumping the branches in his garden.

Anyway, the work was eventually complete and it blew over - again to keep the peace, I simply ignored her. Since then, there have been other minor unrelated incidents that I have ignored, purely to keep the peace with my neighbour. She regularly enters my garden to see what I have been up to, often inviting members of her family along with her to look.

This year I decided to get the trees removed completely - they were still too large and were again shadowing her garden.

Again, I employed a reputable company.

During the work, the fence got damaged by a branch and her grandson knocked on my door to point it out as she was on holiday. When I saw the damage, I agreed that I would get the fence repaired, or do it myself once the trees were complete.

A few days later, I came home from work to find the fence repaired.

The next day, the tree fellers were at my house again whilst I was at work to remove some trees elsewhere in my garden. I got a call from them saying the lady next door had been out abusing them and claiming they owed her £180 for the repair of the fence. They also said that she claimed they were abusing her and she was going to call the police.

I left work, putting in half a days holiday and went home to find the police there, saying they had been called because there was a potential 'breach of the peace' (although he did roll his eyes when he said it to me!).

Anyway, long story short - she now said she wanted me to pay for the fence and I said no because I'd offered to repair it. She replied that she decided she did not want me to do it so got someone in to do it (without my consent nor any opportunity to approve the costs).

The police asked me how we could resolve this and would I pay half. At first I said no but then, just for some peace, said I would. When they went to tell her, they returned to say she had refused and insisted I pay for the whole thing. I told them that wasn't going to happen but if they got a copy of the receipt, I'd think about it. They got a copy of a handwritten 'receipt' with a mobile number on and no address etc. They then left saying it was a civil matter and nothing to do with them.

I then received a letter from my neighbour saying she had taken legal advice and was giving me the 'opportunity' to recompense her for the damage to the fence and saying if I did not do so by the end of July, she would pursue legal action against me, initially through the small claims court. I have not yet responded.

So that's the situation at the moment.

I personally do not believe she has a leg to stand on but would appreciated any advice. The fence is on my land by a considerable amount, she did not have my agreement to repair the fence and to be honest, she was hugely overcharged in my opinion. I also had made an agreement to repair the fence and am now of the mind that I am not willing to pay her a penny.

All this has made us decide to put the house up for sale as we no longer want to live next to her!

What do people think? Am I being unreasonable?
Teessider
 
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby despair » Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:40 pm

Clearly you need to write a very poilte but to the point letter stating :-


1) point out the fence is well on your land ergo its your fence because whats on the land goes with the land

2) you have offered to repair it

3 ) she got it repaired without any reference to you

4 ) the so called receipt has no name or address of a reputable company and is clearly excessive

5 ) you employed reputable tree surgeons to remove trees that she was complaining shaded her garden even though in law you were not required to do so

That only on the condition the fence is moved back to its correct location will you be prepared to pay 50 % of the cost when the repair persons details are properly provided


be sure to keep a copy and just let her take you to Small claims court then produce this letter + photos etc to the jufdge
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby span » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:44 pm

despair wrote:1) point out the fence is well on your land ergo its your fence because whats on the land goes with the land


Hmmmm. Let's think about this one first. This has the probability to escalate a damaged fence/money dispute into a boundary dispute if madam madwoman claims the fence is hers and sits on the boundary. Could get messy.

Careful now.
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby despair » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:36 pm

If your actually thinking of moving then i would be inclined to
do so PDQ
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby Teessider » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:44 pm

This has the probability to escalate a damaged fence/money dispute into a boundary dispute if madam madwoman claims the fence is hers and sits on the boundary. Could get messy.

I agree, although it's quite clear, its a terraced house with a path then garden in front. Draw a line from directly in between the houses and in 2 feet you can easily see that the fence is well into my garden. I'm not entirely bothered by it if I'm honest, not one to argue with a neighbour over something so small.

You acknowledge the damage to your neighbours fence, however this damage was due to the tree fellers surely liability is down to them?

They claim the fence was already damaged. Also, a fence post was screwed to one of the tree trunks, which is why she had to get a post concreted in. I never saw it be damaged and prior to removing the trees, couldn't see the fence clearly. The very end of the garden was relatively hidden with bushes etc, until I also had some ground clearance done.

why did you further proffer to repair or pay half?

Purely to keep the peace.

If your actually thinking of moving then i would be inclined to
do so PDQ

Thats the intention but has to go up for sale and then actually sell first! :(
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby Rosenberg » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:17 pm

Hello Teessider. How much of the fence was damaged? And how much do you think would be a reasonable repair cost?

I think it is too late now to contest the position of your neighbour's fence, but clearly she had no business nailing it to your tree, and I think it would be very hard for her to persuade a court that you should pay for any consequent damage (unless, of course, it is wildly disproportionate).

Indeed I can't see how you would incur any liability at all. Your neighbour certainly hasn't made a good case for reclaiming repair expenses in court. And in any case, surely your tree surgeons would have the appropriate insurance cover for that kind of accidental damage. Even if they are not insured, that would not absolve them of any liability.

I have had bad neighbours for some time so I know infuriating they can be (though perhaps yours are worse than mine). I do wonder whether the decision to move away from them is the right thing though: better the devil you know. Often the best course of action is to stand up for what you know is right, ignore the idiots and carry on with your life. But I appreciate that is easier said than done at times.
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:28 pm

Hi Teessider,

so your neighbour buys you a new fence - unprompted - and then pays for it to be repaired after your workmen damage it - again unprompted.

what a generous neighbour you have :)

I then received a letter from my neighbour saying she had taken legal advice and was giving me the 'opportunity' to recompense her for the damage to the fence and saying if I did not do so by the end of July, she would pursue legal action against me, initially through the small claims court.

advise you're not going to pay her for work you did not request or approve.
tell her that you'll let it go this time, as a goodwill gesture, but if she tampers with your fence again without your permission then she may face legal action.
urge her to get proper legal advice before sending any more letters.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:01 am

Hi,

Would this work? Probably not.

Tell her you will pay for her fence repairs, after you have sold your house ... which might be delayed if there is a dispute.

Do you have house insurance? If so, it will almost certainly cover third party damage. Let them fight her. I think you are requirted to inform them of any potential claims, anyway.

Mention that you are thinking of sending a copy of her receipt to HMCR, and maybe the Benefits Office. If she takes you to court, the person who repaired the fence will be required to attend to give evidence. If she takes you to Small Claims Court, you will have to pasy her claim of £180, plus the £50 (?) fee. Can they hit you with anything else? It'salmost worth calling her bluff.

Goodluck

John W
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby Clifford Pope » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:11 am

My feeling is that you bring most of your problems on yourself by being too reasonable. Anyone browsing this forum would quickly appreciate that if someone grabs so much as half an inch of your garden, they are not to be trusted and need watching like a hawk for further trouble.
Notice the way your own actions (or lack of) have encouraged this escalation;

Initially it was your fence in the correct position.
Then it became "her" fence in the wrong position.
Then you gave her the right to determine the permissible height of your trees.
Then you conceeded that she had a right to require you to repair your own fence.

Why not just give her the entire garden and let her do what she likes with it? Or would she require an endowment to cover maintenance costs? :)
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Re: Fence damaged when felling trees and my offer to repair

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:05 am

Hi Clifford,

My feeling is that you bring most of your problems on yourself by being too reasonable.

I'm almost in agreement, except if word it as:

My feeling is that you are as much a part of the problem whilstever you wrongly think "letting it go" or "saying nothing" amounts to being reasonable.

broadly the same opinion though...

Kind regards, Mac
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