Fence issue

Fence issue

Postby milgate » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:02 pm

Hi. I've got a bit of a potential issue with some new neighbors who have moved in next to us recently. Just to give a bit of background, years ago the previous owners of my house sold off some land to a developer and a new-build was constructed on the land.

The house that was build was erected on what was the garden of our house. There was a fence running continuously across the front of our house and continued along the front elevation of their house. Very standard setup with standard panels and standard wooden posts. The neighbors recently replaced their section of the front fence which isn't a problem at all and actually looks really good. The wooden post on the front elevation where our last panel meets their first panel was taken out and replaced with a concrete post. Again, I have no issue with this at all. However what their builder failed to do was to re-secure our last panel (either by replacing the removed wooden post or somehow attaching our panel to the new concrete post). What they basically did was to saw through the horizontal braces that attached our panel to the old wooden post and basically left our panel flapping with no support at one end. This was a problem for a number of reasons: first, there is a very thin public footpath immediately in front of the fence as well as a busy road, and secondly we have a dog that could have got through the gap.

At this point no real issue - just thought that their builder had forgotten to do it and just needed reminding. So I knocked on the neighbor's door, said that their fencing looked really good and mentioned the issue with our "flapping" fence panel. I said there was no rush, but asked if they could get the builder back at some point to re-attach the fence panel (their builder is due to come back and do other work for them, so said that it could wait until then). Really tried to be friendly about it. The guy seemed a bit funny about it (mumbling that he thought that their old fence wasn't attached to ours - clearly not true as it was part of the same garden in the recent past). They got the builder back who did a bit of a rubbish repair which doesn't really matter that much to me as we are replacing our fences next year anyway and simply wanted it to be safe until then.

Unfortunately ever since the neighbors have basically ignored us when we say hello to them and have been glaring at visitors. Basically being very disagreeable. What I really wanted to to was to check that I was perfectly within my rights to point out the damage and ask them to rectify it. I believe that I dealt with it in the best way, but I may be wrong.

We have done extensive renovations to our house in the past and have always made sure that our neighbors on both sides are unaffected. The problem is despite us continuing to try and be friendly I can see relations deteriorating which isn't great to be honest.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby arsie » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:23 pm

Hi milgate

Just in case, it will be useful to take pictures of the way they have left your fence panel, with close ups of the sawn off supports. Better still if you also have some pictures of the way it was originally as done by the builder. You may have some pics of your dog playing with the fence in the background possibly?

They can't just chop off your fence and leave though no doubt will try and 'get away' with leaving it flapping.

I would talk to them - difficult as it may be, the best way - and explain they need to make good the damage and to reinstate your fencing. When/if that falls on stony ground, write to them giving them a reasonable time to do so say 28 days, after which you will have to take action to repair their damage yourselves but that you will hold them responsible for any expense you may incur in doing so. Then get some quotes and pay for the work to be done yourself.

Show them copies of the invoice(s) as paid and ask for them to reimburse you (in writing) giving them 14 days.

Finally submit a small claim in court. Will cost £30 online I think (MCOL) which you get back if/when you win.

edit: re-reading your post I don't expect you will want to do the above but it is within your rights if you were not planning to replace the fence anyway. I would still ask them to make good your / your dog's security pro temp.
Last edited by arsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:23 pm

Hi milgate,

I believe that I dealt with it in the best way, but I may be wrong

I don't think there is a "best" way but I believe you certainly dealt with it in a very civil and neighbourly way.

Unfortunately ever since the neighbors have basically ignored us when we say hello to them and have been glaring at visitors.

have you said "thank you" at all? (you don't say in your posting)

why not send them a "thank you" card with a nice message to convey your gratitude.

Kind regards, Mac
Last edited by MacadamB53 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby COGGY » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:28 pm

Hi

Mac's idea is good. I appreciate they were in the wrong but it is always best to maintain friendly relations where possible. Otherwise it all goes from bad to worse and is not to be recommended. :(

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: Fence issue

Postby milgate » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:35 pm

Thanks for the replies.

In answer to your question, I thanked them for getting it repaired so quickly, commented on how good their garden is looking and suggested that we get them around for a few glasses of wine and a few nibbles in the next few weeks. He didn't really respond, and his wife just gave me a dirty look.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby milgate » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:37 pm

Totally agree about attempting to stay friendly. Most of these issues could easily be sorted out by neighbors just talking to each other.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby arsie » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:42 pm

Tend to agree with the friendly approach however you may need to forewarn them if you will be using 'their' concrete post for support when you make good your own fence, so things don't 'kick off' unnecessarily at that point. Friendly does not and should not mean you always have to be the doormat! People should talk first then put up fences, not just proceed.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby arborlad » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:48 pm

milgate wrote: What they basically did was to saw through the horizontal braces that attached our panel to the old wooden post............



Are you sure this was a panel fence?

This was a foreseeable problem unless the land was divided using one of the posts as a boundary marker.

I think I would have talked to the builder first, giving him the opportunity to correct it and then 'escalated' to the neighbour.

There is presumably a fence that runs a right angles to this one, how does this line up with the unsupported panel?
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Re: Fence issue

Postby milgate » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:00 pm

The builder had gone and finished by the time we noticed the issue, otherwise that is exactly the approach I would have taken. Unfortunately their van was unmarked so we didn't know the name of the firm. Hence us approaching the neighbor to ask them to get the builder to take a look.

The structure of the fence is standard panels (vertical lapboard), with three horizontal braces running along the back (top, middle, bottom). Ends of each brace fixed into a mortise on the wooden post.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby milgate » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:04 pm

arborlad wrote:
milgate wrote: What they basically did was to saw through the horizontal braces that attached our panel to the old wooden post............



Are you sure this was a panel fence?

This was a foreseeable problem unless the land was divided using one of the posts as a boundary marker.

I think I would have talked to the builder first, giving him the opportunity to correct it and then 'escalated' to the neighbour.

There is presumably a fence that runs a right angles to this one, how does this line up with the unsupported panel?



Sorry - didn't see your whole post. The original wooden post that was removed (and that our "flappy" panel was attached to originally) basically marks the boundary. You are correct to point out another fence running at a right-angle from the fence we are discussing. This fence starts where the removed post originally was.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby arborlad » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:46 pm

Sorry - didn't see your whole post.


'salright - had a couple of afterthoughts and edited while you were posting.


Does the back of your fence resemble this: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=feath ... B709%3B466
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Re: Fence issue

Postby arsie » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:57 pm

'Always look on the bright side of life' ...

Looking at this pessimistically, now the neighbour has put his concrete post in place, the OP might have to put his own posts next to it to support his own fencing. If the neighbour does not cooperate this will not be easy as the concrete post might have to be uprooted to make foundations possible for the OPs end-of-fence posts. A bit of a mess really and a pity the neighbour didn't just shoot from the hip. Of course I could be wrong and he might bend over backwards to be helpful?
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Re: Fence issue

Postby arborlad » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:24 pm

milgate wrote: You are correct to point out another fence running at a right-angle from the fence we are discussing. This fence starts where the removed post originally was.



Who owns that fence?
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Re: Fence issue

Postby milgate » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:32 pm

arborlad wrote:
milgate wrote: You are correct to point out another fence running at a right-angle from the fence we are discussing. This fence starts where the removed post originally was.



Who owns that fence?


I believe that I own the fence that runs at a right angle (i.e. between the respective plots). From what I remember, in the deeds it said that the previous owner of our house had to erect and maintain a fence between the two properties as a condition of the sale of the land. Part of that fence is on a wall which the buyer of the land had to build and maintain.
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Re: Fence issue

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:41 pm

milgate wrote:
arborlad wrote:
milgate wrote: You are correct to point out another fence running at a right-angle from the fence we are discussing. This fence starts where the removed post originally was.



Who owns that fence?


I believe that I own the fence that runs at a right angle (i.e. between the respective plots). From what I remember, in the deeds it said that the previous owner of our house had to erect and maintain a fence between the two properties as a condition of the sale of the land. Part of that fence is on a wall which the buyer of the land had to build and maintain.

Hi milgate,

that doesn't sound right to me - if the buyer built the wall then the wall is part of the buyer's property and so is the fence.

more likely the vendor stipulated a fence to be erected by the buyer so he got himself a boundary feature by proxy - that is something I've seen in a few deeds...

Kind regards, Mac
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