Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbour

Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbour

Postby CTS1966 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:55 pm

Hi Guys

Hoping someone can help. I see this issue creeps (pardon the pun) up a lot but I can’t find an answer specific to this issue, but apologies in advance for any repeat.

I am a landlord, originally from the UK, but I now live overseas. I use a letting agent to manage the property, but unfortunately they are not very clued up.

On the 11 July the letting agent sent me an email stating that ‘the neighbour of the property has called to advise that ivy from your property has overgrown into theirs and is damaging their garage. Please can you let me know if you wish for me to arrange for this to be cut back or if you want the neighbour to arrange this and then you will pay her directly etc.’

Just by way of further information, I have owned the property since 2010, never lived there, or planted the ivy myself, and this is the first complaint I have had from the neighbour.

As it happens, gardeners were going into the property as it was now vacant and the last tenants had let the garden get overgrown. So I instructed the gardeners, whilst there, to remove all the ivy from the boundary wall and asked the agent to let the neighbour know. I also advised the letting agent that I didn’t believe it was my responsibility to pay for the ivy to be removed from their property given:
a)I had now removed it from my wall, including roots (done on 26 July),
Pic before
ivy 3.jpg
ivy 3.jpg (48.3 KiB) Viewed 1944 times


Pic after
ivy 4.jpg
ivy 4.jpg (41.34 KiB) Viewed 1944 times


b)(as read on this forum) the neighbour has a duty to look after and maintain their own side, and cut back as appropriate.
c) If my plant has damaged their property, and they had told my on a previous occasions and I had not acted to rectify the cause ie cut back or remove the plant then, it is my understanding, that I would then be liable for costs of damage to their property but as I say, this is the first I have heard of it.

The neighbour has since come back with ‘following on from our telephone conversations, as discussed I am the owner of xxx Road and we have Ivy encroaching over onto our exterior wall and garage which is not only affecting our light but also damaging our drainage and guttering. I understand from our telephone conversation that you believe the owner has got rid of the source of the problem however as you will see from the attacked picture, taken this morning, the Ivy is still green and healthy rather than dying. In addition the onus legally is for the house owner of the source to not only remove the ivy from her property but also ours. There is a tree that overhangs and blocks out our light considerably however, I am aware that legally we are able to cut that back ourselves if necessary. Please can you relay this message to the owner along with the attached picture as I understand that a gardener will be attending the property this week. This has been causing me great concern and distress for a number of months and I hope we will be able to come to an amicable conclusion.‘’

Here is the picture….
ivy.jpg
ivy
ivy.jpg (91.14 KiB) Viewed 1944 times


I am about to write back with

'Happy for the neighbour to cut back the tree that over hangs onto her property and dispose of the cuttings herself. She is correct as she is legally allowed to cut the tree up to the boundary, providing the tree is not subject to a tree preservation order, she would have to find this out from the council. I can’t see anything in the deeds but they are not easy to read, and I'm not sure anything like this would be in there anyhow.
As regards the ivy it is up to her to remove anything that grows onto her property. I feel I have been neighbourly and removed all the ivy from my side following on from being first notified of the issue (even though I actually thought the wall looked better covered in ivy). Her side I'm afraid is up to her to maintain and she can again remove anything on her side of the boundary. However I do notice from the before and after pictures some of the ivy has been removed from her property at my cost already. If they ivy isn't showing signs of dying and is still green as she states, yet all roots gone from my side, then is the ivy and its roots actually coming from her side? However I do believe it takes several weeks for ivy to die off, maybe you can ask the gardener to clarify?

Do you believe this response to be both fair and more importantly legal?

Many thanks for any help.
CTS1966
 
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby despair » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:29 pm

Glad i am not your long suffering neighbour especially when it comes to effect of ivy and its rapid growth
Whilst i agree the neighbour can cut back your tree strictly to the boundary this may well be an expensive issue
for them if their means are limited especially if they are a pensioner reliant on savings income

I think your letter is likely to inflame the situation

How much nicer it would be if you arranged to cut the tree back and remove any residual ivy and make a condition of
future lets that nothing is allowed to encroach on the neighbour
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby CTS1966 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:56 am

Thanks for your reply Despair.

Please excuse me, maybe I am being too sensitive. It always feels like when I fence blows down, or needs repairing on a rental property, despite it being a shared or even their responsibility, the neighbours go AWOL and I am always left to foot the bill, as I cannot allow the tenants to feel uncomfortable. I have even had a neighbour making my tenants life hell because she wanted me to pay for a damp proof course on her property because her cellar smelt of damp and she said it was coming from my property, despite contractors advising her it wasn't. I sometimes think landlords are seen to be raking it in, believe me I'm not, and therefore will be happy to pay for everything.

However if this is my responsibility then I must pay for and deal with it accordingly.

I just feel from what I have read on this forum that they also have a duty of care to look after and cut back what goes on beyond their own boundary. When I lived in the UK my neighbour grew ivy all over our fence, and I maintained this when it encroached as well as the branches from his over hanging trees. I just took it as a given, not worth the argument and as part and parcel of having neighbours.

Can anyone advise of the legal position as regards to this so I am clear going forward.

Thanks for any help.
CTS1966
 
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby arborlad » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:13 am

CTS1966 wrote: However I do notice from the before and after pictures some of the ivy has been removed from her property at my cost already. If they ivy isn't showing signs of dying and is still green as she states, yet all roots gone from my side, then is the ivy and its roots actually coming from her side? However I do believe it takes several weeks for ivy to die off, maybe you can ask the gardener to clarify?




This time of year, any ivy cut in the morning will show signs of it in the afternoon.

The tree appears to be an apple tree - not usually a cause for concern.

When this type of issue appears on this forum, it normally comes from the effected neighbour and the main complaint seems to be the difficulty and time it takes to contact the letting agent - usually months, followed by a similar amount to contact the landlord.............less than a month from first notification to a satisfactory conclusion is worthy of commendation.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby Collaborate » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:30 am

Is it just me, or do the photos show 2 completely different properties, or at least 2 completely separate parts of the property?

I therefore fail to see how chopping the ivy back from wall 1 by the conservatory will have any effect on the ivy growing on the garage roof.
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby CTS1966 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:43 am

Thanks for taking time out of your day arborlad and collaborate, I really appreciate it.

Collaborate - I agree. I am raking my brains but I cant remember the boundaries, its been well over 3 years since I last visited the property, (obviously the letting agents go there 6 monthly) but to be honest I'm not the most observant and would generally concentrate more on the inside of the house, unless an outbuilding was falling down and dangerous or something like that. So I have gone onto google earth and got a photo of the side of neighbours house, they live on the corner so its allowed me to get quite a good view.

side view 2.jpg
side view 2.jpg (198.15 KiB) Viewed 1882 times

side view.jpg
side view.jpg (246.07 KiB) Viewed 1885 times



To me the ivy they are still complaining about is further up to the right, would you agree? (I appreciate its not easy to see). Rather than where I have the photo of where it was removed so the gardener needs to go back in and remove, if he hasn't done so already (he may have done it, I just may not have a picture of it, or both him and the letting agent are just pants :roll: )
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby despair » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:35 pm

"gardener and letting agent are just pants "

sadly sums up what so often goes on when a landlord is not around to keep am eye on things because the former are only interested in their fees

Quite how you could be responsible for replacing other peoples fences or damp proofing their cellar though is mind boggling ............some people have a bloomin cheek

If you have several rental properties it would pay you to find someone who really cares and notices things to keep an eye on things and merely use an agent to find renters and prepare tough rental contracts which ensure tenants do not let ivy etc get out of control
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:25 pm

Hi CTS,

as arborlad intimated, you are to be commended for trying to take positive action in such a timely fashion.

reading the thread to date I get the distinct impression you're dealing with second-hand information and do not know for certain that all roots and growth on your side have been removed so I would caution against stating such in any communications with the affected neighbour.

Why not grant the neighbour access for the express purpose of identifying with your gardener the source(s) of the problem, have them take some snaps with the source(s) labelled up, and then get the work completed.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby jonahinoz » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:05 pm

Hi,

There are two possible solutions here ...

1). Do what is legally required, and/or ...

2). Do the neighbourly thing.

Obviously, from the neighbour's point of view, CTS should do both.

CTS's problem is finding out what really needs doing, and finding somebody trustworthy to do it. If his property was in South Wales, I might be able to recommend somebody ....
and several others to avoid.

John W
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby CTS1966 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:41 am

Thanks Guys for all your helpful replies.

Despair - I am actually out of my mind here with this agent at the moment. Can you believe I have recently changed to this agent (mid April) from another agent who couldn't really be bothered either. But I have to say this agent is worse still despite promising me all sorts over the phone and email (and winners of all sort of letting awards). I have complained about several other issues, and they tell me I will get their response today, after almost 2 weeks, I have no faith that the response will give me any satisfaction and feel I will have to terminate the agreement with them (and refuse to pay their termination fees). BUT my biggest dilemma is who next? I have used 2 agents so far, both pants, and, honestly, moving agent takes so much time, but besides this I'm quite scared to go with another for fear of ending up back here! So that leaves me to do it, I did manage them for 7 years so I understand the process, and would just need to read up on changes in the past 3 years since I have lived abroad. But I'm so far away, we don't have post here, the only reliable contacts I have in the UK are my parents and they are too old (my mums ok, but getting her to print or scan is a major event...bless her :lol: ) and I am struggling to think how I could manage it from here. I could not do 6 month inspections myself even though I would be more than happy to do them, as it could take 3 months at least to arrange suitable times with tenants to get access to the properties, so I would have to try and find an agent that perhaps would do tenant finds, and I pay extra for 6 monthly inspections. Also a few of my good contractors have now retired so would have to find some good handymen, electrician etc. Sorry for the long reply, and vent.

Mac - totally second hand information. I am relying on the letting agents staff (no more than 25 years old and totally inexperienced) and it's frustrating. Good idea about giving the neighbour access. At the moment I am still waiting for a response as to whether the Ivy at the far end of the garden has been removed, given my instruction was to remove all Ivy.

John W - oh if only the property was in beautiful South Wales, but unfortunately it's on the Wirral, and the contractors are appointed by the letting agent. But a million thanks for offering recommendations, your thoughtfulness is appreciated.
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby despair » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:38 pm

Surely someone on this forum lives in the Wirral and can be relied on to do a decent job

I sure would if I lived near

have you thought of joining Wirral area STREETLIFE and posting on there sure someone will recommend a decent maintenance /care person who can soirt out wet behind ears youngsters the agents employ who know nothing and could care less
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Re: Help With Ivy, Thought I Was being A Responsible Neighbo

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:00 pm

Hi,

I have a mate (retired Registrar General of Shipping ... there's posh!) in South Wales, who runs a business getting rid of Japanese Knotweed.I sent him a cryptic message asking what he knows about ivy, and "Wirral?"

He replied ..... "ProGreen sell an ivy specific herbicide. I know no more but I am v impressed with their Marestail killer" He avoided the "Wirral"" question, but I know that he does travel.

Maybe there are exterminators in the Wirral? Maybe ProGreen can recommend somebody?

John w
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