Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MrsHoover » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:59 am

Hi, I looking for some advice for my elderly aunt who has been having problems with her neighbours who have been attaching ties for the plants to her fencing, and also their washing line.

About 8 years ago one of her fence panels came down (she believes it had been damaged by these neighbours attaching plants etc to it) and since 3 other panels were in a bad way and her neighbours had small children, she decided to replace all the fencing at a cost of over £1,000 (this was about 8 years ago).

Her neighbours child has recently been kicking his ball against the fence - which she has asked them to get him to stop, and he has. However, they are still attaching plants to her fencing (she has asked them not too, and has cut the string etc when she spots it), they have also attached a washing line to one of her posts - she has asked me to remove it, and yesterday she found the end of a screw in one of her panels (on her side) so they have been attaching something else to her panel from their side - she pushed it through.

Can anyone tell me where she stands legally? What can she do?

She is in her 80's and cannot afford to replace this fencing again and is finding this whole thing very stressful.

Thanks.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby despair » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:34 pm

The fence is your aunts property and her neighbour cannot :-

1) attach anything whatever to it or put nails or screws in it
2) paint or stain or render it
3) grow climbing plants up it
4) allow balls etc to be kicked /thrown against it
5) pile soil or anything else against it

All damage done to the fence by such actions becomes the responsibility of the perpetrator
This can all be verified at any Citizens Advice Bureau or Solicitors

If the neighbour argues suggest that they would be quite happy if your aunt attached things to their car etc
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby arsie » Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:28 pm

The law is as despair says.

Personally I would have a quiet word with the neighbour - they are perhaps unaware of the anxiety this is causing your elderly aunt - and ask them to stop attaching things to the fence or posts and that any damage caused would be their responsibility to make good, either in kind or in costs (damages.) Also, ostentatiously take some photographs of the fence as it is now and of anything attached to it, both sides, just in case.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MrsHoover » Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:50 pm

Thanks for your replies - she has tried on many, many occasions to talk to her neighbours, but it seems like they feel they can do what they want, and with her being an elderly single woman on her own that they can get away with it. To be honest, they are g.i.t.s and planted a tree in their tiny front yard which caused subsidence to my aunt's house, which although now fixed (and they were made to get rid of said tree) has left her with insurance difficulties.

My aunt has gone to some kind of neighbour dispute reconciliation service - not sure if it was via Citizens Advice - and they were meant to be getting in contact with her neighbour, but nothing has happened.

Is there any web link that anyone can provide that gives us some kind of law about this, that I could print off for her and she can give to her neighbours?

I can then write a letter, with this print-out, stating that if they don't stop damaging her property, then they will be liable for repair/replacement etc.

Thanks
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby mr sheen » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:24 pm

Whilst what the neighbours are doing in relation to the fence is annoying and they shouldn't be doing it.....it is annoying behaviour as oppose to the sort of issue that warrants a legal response. There are only 2 possible outcomes to the fence issue itself..they stop attaching things or they don't. The only way to approach it is to ask nicely and then you will get one of the outcomes hopefully without additional aggro. If they stop ...great. If they don't cue constant aggro over ......a fence! Not something someone in their 80's should be bothering about.

You need to think about how they are likely to react to any action you take.
Sending a letter telling them they shouldn't be attaching things to the fence....do you think they will stop as a result? So if they don't, then what are you going to do about it? They have already illustrated that they are not going to participate in a neighbour conciliation service and they have no compulsion to do so. People can send endless letters to neighbours but they can choose to ignore them.
How much aggro does an 80 year old want? Because whatever she wants they can cope with more and can embark upon serious anti social behaviour and make her life a misery!

Tbh ...I don't know how she managed to force the removal of the tree and I would imagine they are furious that a neighbour interfered in their right to do what They wanted on their own land and may well be embarking on retaliatory actions in the full knowledge that the actions are wrong but there is very little in reality that can be done about it. To prevent it escalating further it may be time to start building bridges as oppose to fuelling this battle further since there can only be one winning side....and I can't see it being an elderly single lady.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:20 pm

Hi MrsHoover,

your aunt certainly is an active and vigilant soul, monitoring her fence and responding with fiery determination to what sound like the tiniest of infringements.

IMHO you're doing her a bit of a disservice painting her as some fragile "elderly" woman.

She.... ...cannot afford to replace this fencing again and is finding this whole thing very stressful.

someone needs to explain to her that tying garden plants to a fence isn't going to cause any damage.

whilst "despair" is right - if your aunt hasn't approved it they shouldn't do it - don't fall into the trap of thinking the law has it this way because damage would be caused.

the root of the issue is your aunt has decided to deny approval because she has a mistaken belief the fence will be damaged - it won't.

as for the previous fence - I am going to make a wild guess that your aunt did not look after it as recommended by the experts (ie. the entire fence was in a state of disrepair and the neighbour's plants had little to do with it needing replacing).

as for the tree, another wild guess is no professionals were involved in the decision making process and it all hinged on willpower - see my opening sentence.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MrsHoover » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:11 pm

To Mac

Thanks for your reply - she's very diligent about maintaining her home, but as she lives on a pension so clearly doesn't have disposal income and lives on a tight budget and is worried about possibly having to replace this fence again.

I haven't "painted" her as anything - she is in her mid 80's and finds this discord with her neighbours upsetting - particularly so after already having issues with their tree causing subsidence.

I am just trying to find out information for her - to help her if I can - to get her neighbours not to attach things to her fence. They have been asked politely not too, but this obviously isn't working.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby Rowan » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:12 pm

It is her fence and she CAN say that nothing is attached to it - unfortunately ignoring requests and continuing to attach things is something that often happens between neighbours

Attached plants can damage fencing - for example, an uncontrolled rambling rose on wires pulled a neighbour's fence panel right out of the concrete fence posts last winter one windy night - no other panel moved at all

Washing lines are particularly damaging - the weight of clothes and the pressure exerted by wind blowing them around can loosen or pull over the fence posts

Maybe the way forward is for your aunt to have both sides of the fence treated with preservative - after 8 years it may well need it - the neighbours plants will have to be removed
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MrsHoover » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:22 pm

Thanks Rowan - I was beginning to feel like my aunt was being portrayed on here as "the bad guy" lol, when all she wants to do its keep the fence in good order so she doesn't have the cost of replacement again.

I might suggest treating the fencing with some wood preserve. :lol:

I just wish I could find something on-line that I can give her that stipulates where the law stands on this matter.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MrsHoover » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:29 pm

mr sheen wrote:Whilst what the neighbours are doing in relation to the fence is annoying and they shouldn't be doing it.....it is annoying behaviour as oppose to the sort of issue that warrants a legal response. There are only 2 possible outcomes to the fence issue itself..they stop attaching things or they don't. The only way to approach it is to ask nicely and then you will get one of the outcomes hopefully without additional aggro. If they stop ...great. If they don't cue constant aggro over ......a fence! Not something someone in their 80's should be bothering about.

You need to think about how they are likely to react to any action you take.
Sending a letter telling them they shouldn't be attaching things to the fence....do you think they will stop as a result? So if they don't, then what are you going to do about it? They have already illustrated that they are not going to participate in a neighbour conciliation service and they have no compulsion to do so. People can send endless letters to neighbours but they can choose to ignore them.
How much aggro does an 80 year old want? Because whatever she wants they can cope with more and can embark upon serious anti social behaviour and make her life a misery!

Tbh ...I don't know how she managed to force the removal of the tree and I would imagine they are furious that a neighbour interfered in their right to do what They wanted on their own land and may well be embarking on retaliatory actions in the full knowledge that the actions are wrong but there is very little in reality that can be done about it. To prevent it escalating further it may be time to start building bridges as oppose to fuelling this battle further since there can only be one winning side....and I can't see it being an elderly single lady.


It was my aunt's insurance company that enforced the removal of the tree, not my aunt - and it took many months of letters from them before it was removed. Because the tree had caused the subsidence to her property, they had to cover the cost of the repair to the house (minus of course the £1,000 surcharge that she had to pay). She now has a very high insurance premium and even though we have tried shopping around we can't get it any lower.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby mr sheen » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:34 pm

MrsHoover wrote:Thanks Rowan - I was beginning to feel like my aunt was being portrayed on here as "the bad guy" lol, when all she wants to do its keep the fence in good order so she doesn't have the cost of replacement again.

I might suggest treating the fencing with some wood preserve. :lol:

I just wish I could find something on-line that I can give her that stipulates where the law stands on this matter.


Fences are subject to rain, sun, ice, snow, wind 24/7 for 365 days.....these are the reasons fences need replacing often. So treating the fence is a good way forward but this needs doing annually or biannually to avoid decay and even then wood does rot. A few plants are nothing compared to the elements.

The Law says that she can control her own fence...but enforcing that is an entirely different matter. The neighbours have been asked to abide by your Aunts wishes and have chosen not to do so, so you are trying to force them to do so and this is where you meet a problem. Fences deteriorate and you would have to PROVE that any damage was caused by the actions of the neighbours and not the elements....pretty much impossible when the law would also probably consider the matter trivial and to be sorted by the parties involved.
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby arborlad » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:36 pm

MrsHoover wrote:Her neighbours child has recently been kicking his ball against the fence - which she has asked them to get him to stop, and he has.



That's a good positive.



MrsHoover wrote:I just wish I could find something on-line that I can give her that stipulates where the law stands on this matter.



You wont find anything. What your Aunt has, in common with all others, is the common law right not to have her property damaged by the actions of others. What despair has added, despite it being oft' repeated, including the analogy with a car, does not appear on the Statute books.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby COGGY » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:46 pm

Hi
The difficulty really is that there is a huge difference between what a good neighbour would do (respect other people's property) and what can be enforced. Your aunt is understandbly upset over the matter and I totally agree that she is in the right. The problem is that if the neighbours prove to be difficult (a strong possibility) there is really nothing much your aunt can do. Waving a piece of paper stating what should happen is almost guaranteed to escalate the problem. Your aunt has attempted to sort matters in a friendly fashion. If that is not working anything else will more than likely only cause more problems. Tying plants to the fence is annoying, I would not like it, tying a washing line is a totally different case. Sometimes it is better to take a step back and consider the possibility of winning the argument. If that is not likely then it is best to withdraw. Annoying it may be I agree but it is hard to see how your aunt can force the neighbours to be reasonable.

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:23 pm

MrsHoover wrote:To Mac

Thanks for your reply - she's very diligent about maintaining her home, but as she lives on a pension so clearly doesn't have disposal income and lives on a tight budget and is worried about possibly having to replace this fence again.

I haven't "painted" her as anything - she is in her mid 80's and finds this discord with her neighbours upsetting - particularly so after already having issues with their tree causing subsidence.

I am just trying to find out information for her - to help her if I can - to get her neighbours not to attach things to her fence. They have been asked politely not too, but this obviously isn't working.

Hi MrsHoover,

I don't think of your aunt as a "bad guy" - far from it.

like I said, the law is on her side insofar as if she didn't approve it they shouldn't do it.

what is being discussed is trespass - forget damage.

beyond resolving it between themselves - or through a mediator - the next step is taking it to court to gain an injunction.

however, if there's one thing judges do not like spending their limited (and publicly funded) time on it's trivial matters which this appears to be.

ask her this: if nextdoor moved out and you moved in would she tell you not to attach your plants?

if the honest and considered answer is yes then you need to stand by her and try something like Rowan's cunning plan.
if the honest and considered answer is no then she needs to realise how petty and trivial she is being.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour attaching plant ties & washing line to fencing

Postby stufe35 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:26 pm

I tend to agree, your aunt clearly has very little to worry about in life if all that concerns her are some plants fastened to a fence that presumably she can't even see without rubber necking into her neighbours garden.

I would suggest that she is unlikely to get permission to go into next door to apply her preservative.

Realistically the attachment of plants will have minimal effect on the life span of the fence.

Any attempt at legal action is likely to have the judge banging their heads together and awarding costs to neither side landing her with a legal bill equivalent to replacing the fence a couple of hundred times.

Fastening a washing line is a bit cheeky, it will put a fair load on the post, I suggest (if they don't remove it on request) a knife through it from time to time, when it's full of washing of course :lol:
Last edited by stufe35 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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