Feeling bullied about a fence

(64 Posts)
supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:08:53

I just wondered what you think about this situation.

We have lived in our semi 5 years,. Get on well with the neighbours - not friends but friendly.

It is unclear who is responsible for fencing on which side.

Anyway a few years ago a fence was needed on one side - the neighbour had just split up with boyfriend, so single mum with 1 child and pg. So we assumed short of cash so we just bought the fence. Anyway we were a bit peeved when the following month she had landscape gardens in to do work in her garden. This is not really relevant to the story but just a bit of background.

Last year the neighbour on the other side's son said his parents wanted a fence and would we go half. I said we thought the fence we had was ok (and luckily dd started whinging so I got away quick).

These neighbours (Couple in their 80s) said to dh they would like a new fence and asked what height we wanted it. Dh just said he was not that bothered they could get what height they wanted.

So tonight the old man came down are path when we were sat in the front asks about the fence again - we say again we are not bothered - but he continues 'so if I get a quote we'll go half on it'. We felt we had no choice. Dh really tried no to commit but how do you say no to a 85 year old with a walking stick that has always been very helpful and pleasant to us. We really do not want to fallout or upset him.

The bombshell moment came when he told us it would be about 1100 - so £550 for something that is not really bothering us.

By the way I obviously do not know but I do not think they are hard up pensioners - they have a gardener

Sallyingforth Thu 09-May-13 09:40:23

Yes it is common practice for the fence on the right to be owned. But there is no legal basis to it and the deeds may well say something different.

Jan49 Wed 08-May-13 11:43:46

I'm intrigued by all the posts saying the fence to the right is always yours. So who do you think owns the fence to the left in the first house in the street?hmm

The fence doesn't need doing and you don't want it done. If the old man wants to replace it, then that's his choice and he needs to pay for it. I'm amazed that you'd consider paying just because he takes in parcels and has given you apples and gardening advice! OP, you and your DH need to be firmer about this. All this muttering OK and telling the neighbour you're not bothered is putting you in an awkward situation. You need to state that you do not wish to replace the fence as it doesn't need replacing or because you can't afford it and you are unable to make any contribution towards it if he chooses to replace it. When my neighbour asked me to share the cost of replacing the fence I just said "Sorry, I can't afford to have it done".

I think the law with shared fences is that either you agree to share the cost or one neighbour wants it done and the other doesn't or can't afford it so the one that wants it done either pays the whole cost or doesn't have it done. It's optional. There doesn't have to be a fence. You only have a legal obligation if the fence is dangerous to other people, such as a fence at the front of the house which is collapsing onto a pavement and may endanger people passing by.

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 08-May-13 11:27:12
Boomba Wed 08-May-13 11:22:57

Whether the quote is reasonable, surely depends on the size of the fence confused

PolterGoose Wed 08-May-13 11:12:48

When you bought your house you would have received a property information form completed by the vendors, maintenance of boundaries is a standard question.

If I was you and I wasn't bothered about the fence I would say 'we are quite happy with the existing fence, however, you are welcome to place your new fence on your side of the boundary and leave the existing fence in place'

Oldraver Wed 08-May-13 11:05:56

If your DH has giving them a half assed 'okay' you need to tell them now that if you will not be contributing

shewhowines Wed 08-May-13 11:04:06

Be polite and say as much as you would like to contribute, it really isn't a priority for you just now. Sorry.

shewhowines Wed 08-May-13 11:02:41

I always thought you were responsible for the fences which are facing you "the wrong or bad side". You own the fence but the polite and done thing for new builds is to give the neighbours the good side.

Thats why you get some backs and some fronts in your garden. Depends who owns them

Maybe I'm wrong confused

MidniteScribbler Wed 08-May-13 11:01:29

Bullied? Seriously??? hmm

Hazelbrowneyes Wed 08-May-13 10:57:15

Hang on, it's not the same in all cases - in our road for example, the houses to the left of us all have the righthand side as their boundary and all houses to the right of us have the lefthand side as their boundary.

You need to check your deeds. We don't own any boundary fence which is actually sodding annoying as one side is broken and needs replacing.

Say no though, it's an awful lot of money to spend out.

LemonsLimes Wed 08-May-13 10:46:17

Could you find out the neighbour's phone number? Then your dh can phone them from work today. I'm sure he can spare 5 minutes to give them a ring, especially as it is his idea to tell them you aren't paying. (I think he is right to reach that decision by the way, but he can tell them.)

Sallyingforth Wed 08-May-13 10:35:04

Tell them that when you agreed to half you didn't expect it to be so expensive. You can only afford a smaller amount.
Is it possible they intend to move somewhere more suitable to their age and want to make it look better for a sale?

MoominsYonisAreScary Wed 08-May-13 09:54:11

*you're

MoominsYonisAreScary Wed 08-May-13 09:53:28

Even if you are responsible for the fence they are not doing you any favours going halves if your happy with the one already there!

What happens if they are responsible for it, you pay halves then it blows down or something? You could find yourself forking out again and again.

waikikamookau Wed 08-May-13 09:34:03

it is fine for your DH to say don't pay yet wont go there himself when in fact the reason you offered is because you were put on the spot and couldn't say no.

unclear from the thread, have you rung the council to ask who is responsible - I thought it was the fence on your left was their responsibility, the left being if you stand in the garden with yoru back to yoru house?

fergoose Wed 08-May-13 09:29:45

I agree with your DH - but I think he should tell them, or maybe you can tell them together?

I am stunned the quote is reasonable - seems such a lot of money.

pinkdelight Wed 08-May-13 09:28:53

PS: I think he should go around to see them, not you. I think you'll cave. But if it has to be you, be brave. Just because they're nice about parcels doesn't mean you owe them this. No doubt you'll do lots for them over the coming years if they're in need.

pinkdelight Wed 08-May-13 09:26:21

polite not police.

think what else you could do with the money. please don't waste it on this.

pinkdelight Wed 08-May-13 09:25:40

Your DH is right! As is the poster who said this:

"OP pleeeease don't start offering money to the neighbours just because they are 'nice' and 'old'. It's ridiculous. Grow a a pair!"

I have no idea why on earth you'd fork out even £200 let alone the full amount for something you don't want, need and are not responsible for. You say finances are tight yet you're up for giving them all this cash. It's bonkers. Just say a nice police no thanks, as many others have advised.

And fences are bloody expensive. That quote isn't the worst I've heard by far.

supersue1969 Wed 08-May-13 09:17:22

Having slept on the issue it seems dh and I have come to 2 different conclusions. I think this morning - oh lets just pay it and get it over with - we can afford it and it will give us more privacy and maybe our kids annoy them often chatting to them (re: another post on here about a child always chatting to someone in the garden - I dont think our kids are as bad as that child but they do often shout hello and ask them what they are doing).
I relayed my feeling to dh over breakfast and he said well i have come to the opposite conclusion - he thinks we now offer nothing and I should go round and tell them tonight!!!! (with the reason i should go being he is working late),

LIZS Wed 08-May-13 08:44:07

Depends how long the fence is, IME allow at least £50 - 60 per panel fitted. We own all rear fences in our garden. A surveyor could check your deeds against the physical reality and assess who should own what . If a fence is within your land rather than marking the actual boundary line it is yours. However legally you don't need to have one at all .

CleverClod Wed 08-May-13 08:41:52

The fence to our left as you look out, with your back to the door belongs to us, it's different in different places. That aside, there is no law which says you have to have a fence, even if that side belongs to you. The fence on our right hand side (see above) blew down a couple of weeks ago. As I'm not liable for it, but I really appreciate my privacy, we are going halves with the neighbour for it. We got three quotes in and it's surprising the ranges of prices, with the most renowned company being cheapest (huge surprise there).

Tell them what you can afford/are willing to contribute and ask them to get at least 3 quotes. Apart from that, remember, you are not legally obliged to have a fence.

fergoose Wed 08-May-13 08:32:20

I would be worried that they are being ripped off being given a quote for that amount - who on earth charges that amount for a fence - daylight robbery it sounds like.

That aside, do not pay them a penny - why would you pay them anything, they decided they wanted a new fence, not you. You mustn't offer them anything - they have put you on the spot, but tough, why can't you just say no?

fluffyraggies Wed 08-May-13 08:28:48

In all three houses i have lived in the fence to the right, as you look out of the house, is the one that is yours.

The 'uprights' of a solid fence should always be on the side of the owner, and a decent fencing company will build it like this - a good tip for telling at a glance who owns a fence.

OP pleeeease don't start offering money to the neighbours just because they are 'nice' and 'old'. It's ridiculous. Grow a a pair! There's no need for a 'dispute' either. Formal or otherwise. For a formal dispute the neighbour would have to legally show the fence was your responsibility and prove that you weren't keeping it in good order. It doesn't sound like this is the case - so there's no problem there.

Bite the bullet, go round and politely say that you and your DH have considered their suggestion but you cannot afford to pay anything towards a boundary fence at the moment. However they are welcome to put up the fence of their choice. Smile.

If the guy finds legal proof the fence is yours and waves it at you then you can tell him thank you, you are in fact happy with your fence the way it is, and again, you cannot afford to replace what doesn't in your opinion need replacing. Smile.

Boomba Wed 08-May-13 06:41:52

The fence to your right is your responsibility.
Is this one to your right?if it is, then toured onto a winner, because your neighbour is offering to pay half!if is not your elderly neighbours problem, that you made assumptions about the other neighbours financial position, and replaced that fence!

Also, how is he to even know you are not happy with the arrangement if you don't tell him????! And don't bother to get ant quotes yourself??!

Don't let him do all the leg work, and then moan about him because you and yous husband are unable to communicate effectively!

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