Neighbour issues - hedge problems!

(208 Posts)
ijustdontknowanymore Thu 22-Sep-16 23:11:34

I apologise in advance for what will probably be the most boring post of all time! Soo, long story short ..... Moved into our new house around 6 months ago, next door neighbours are very friendly and welcoming, and will often stop to chat over the fence etc. We hear a lot about the older gentleman who owned the house before us, and how the garden used to be immaculate and the pride of the street etc. To start with this was fine, but eventually it seemed that every time we spoke the fact that the garden used to be so wonderful was brought up, and by implication was no longer up to standard. I'm not a keen gardener by any means, but it's been kept (relatively) tidy, grass mown, occasionally weeds pulled, patio brushed etc, since we moved in. We're renovating so everything inside the house is very much the priority at the moment but the outside is fine by most standards.

So, the crux of the issue. At the bottom of our garden is a conifer hedge, which had grown to well over 8 feet by the time we'd moved in. I arranged for someone to come and cut it, and while it wasn't a pristine job, it was far better with 3ft off the height. The next door neighbour's gardener had also quoted for the work, and was over £200 more expensive which I really couldn't afford.

Following the hedge cut, NDN complained every time I was in the garden about what an 'awful' job had been done, how it was a real bodge, etc. He caught me off guard one day and asked if I wanted his gardener to sort it out - I was rushing and non-committedly said 'yes,maybe'. So she comes over that day and says it will take around four hours at £15 an hour, which I agreed to thinking it would help neighbourly relations given that NDN is obviously quite put out by the newly trimmed hedge. (I really didn't think it was that bad, nor did my keen gardener parents). Fast forward to today and she comes over with an invoice for £190!!! Saying it took much longer than expected to rectify the previous hedge cutter's shoddy work! I was away when the work was carried out so can't verify how long it took, but basically feel like I've been shafted. I wouldn't mind an extra couple of hours but feel this is extortionate, but am also in a catch 22 because I don't want to sour relations with the NDNs by disputing it. So more of a WWYD really? Pay or say it's unreasonable?

WhateverWillBe Thu 22-Sep-16 23:18:34

Er how the actual fuck does it take 12 hours to cut a hedge?

Even if they'd told me 4 hours I still would have thought that was an excessive time. I have a hedge in my garden, about 20 foot long and was also very, very overgrown - had gardeners out and it took 2 hours to trim it on both sides and take 3 foot off the height.

Tell them to shove it.

wowfudge Thu 22-Sep-16 23:24:13

Just tell her you authorised four hours work at £15 per hour. She needed to get the go ahead from you to undertake another 8+ hours work and charge an additional £130.

What you discussed with the gardener and how you resolve matters are nothing to do with your next door neighbour and should the gardener discuss them with your neighbours, she is extremely unprofessional.

Should your neighbour say or ask anything, just it's between you and the gardener, but you won't be using her again.

phoolani Thu 22-Sep-16 23:27:34

Honestly, if I could afford it, I'd pay it. But only once - I'd pay it with a 'this is a lot more than expected, I'll pay it because I wasn't here etc, but just to be clear, we won't be spending any more money in the garden because the house is a priority etc etc'. Said nicely, but firmly. If I couldn't afford it, I'd tell neighbours that and make it clear I'll be phoning the gardener to dispute it and arranging to pay what's agreed in instalments.

ijustdontknowanymore Thu 22-Sep-16 23:29:11

I should also mention that NDN and gardener are good friends - I'm not sure if that changes things? Argh I am far too soft with this kind of thing.....

IMissGrannyW Thu 22-Sep-16 23:36:06

I think for a job to have increased by that amount of time, the gardener should be providing some form of evidence for why it took so long.

But agree with the PP upthread who said you'd authorised 4 hours so anything longer should have been cleared with you. (I mean, if it had slipped into 5 or even 6 hours, maybe you'd have gritted your teeth a little but paid up. But for a job to take 3 times the amount quoted is unreasonable without confirmation).

And don't involve NDN at all - the work, invoice and what you'll eventually pay is between you and the gardener, nothing to do with NDN, regardless of their relationship.

WatchingFromTheWings Thu 22-Sep-16 23:39:02

hmm. He'd be getting 4 hours @ £25, end of. He should have stopped and checked before adding any more hours on.

ToadsforJustice Thu 22-Sep-16 23:40:33

The gardener is taking the piss. Pay what you agreed - no more. £60 for tidying up a hedge is more than enough.

Shurelyshomemistake Thu 22-Sep-16 23:42:58

What a cheeky sod. They are prevailing on your awkward situation and your neighbour is either in cahoots or being coerced also by this 'friend'. 12 hours to cut a hedge, pah, did he not have a chainsaw or proper equiplment?! Ask him what he used, and why it took so long. No need to be confrontational, just ask him to explain and then stay silent, totally totally silent while he tries to explain. Even crooks feel the urge to fill the silence and make concessions in this situation, IME ;)

IAmTheWhoreOfBabylon Thu 22-Sep-16 23:43:27

Agree with pp but also stop trying to be mates with neighbour
Be cool and polite and put up boundaries. You are there to live your lives as you see fit, not to meet his standards of the perfect neighbour

Coulddowithanap Thu 22-Sep-16 23:45:27

What did the Gardner do? Carve animal shapes out of the hedge? I'd just pay for the agreed 4 hours.

Shurelyshomemistake Thu 22-Sep-16 23:46:05

And in answer to your question, I would say it is unreasonable and then explain over a glass of wine to the neighbour. If they are nice people they will be mortified, If they are horrified by your behaviour then I don't think you need to worry too much about cordial relations from hereon in. They're only at the bottom anyway, not immediately adjacent. Just leave the conifers to grow, then you won't see them any more ;)

RunRabbitRunRabbit Fri 23-Sep-16 00:01:59

Your neighbour isn't nice and has already soured the relationship. That has happened already. So don't worry about that. They are taking the piss.

"I agreed to pay for up to four hours work at £15 per hour. That makes £60. This invoice is for more than 3 times the maximum I authorised. Here is my £60."

If any objections: "I did not authorise that extra work. The gardener should not have done the extra without authorisation. There is no way I am paying for extra work I did not agree to have done."

KC225 Fri 23-Sep-16 00:27:00

I agree with the authorised hours approach. Offer the agreed 60.00. After the four hours, the Gardner should have downed tools and contacted you. It's a hedge (that had previously been trimmed albeit badly) not a burst pipe that would have caused more damage. To present a bill more than three times more than agreed amount and via a 3rd party is unprofessional. And 12 hours does seem excessive for one previously trimmed hedge. Contact the Gardner and do not go via the neighbours.

TwigletsMakeMeViolent Fri 23-Sep-16 00:33:23

Twelve hours for one hedge? Unless it's 5km long that is taking the piss. Be firm and just pay the 60. Otherwise they'll walk all over you in the future.

TwigletsMakeMeViolent Fri 23-Sep-16 00:36:13

I bet you anything the neighbour won't have to pay the 130 balance to their mate gardener,either. ...

Evilstepmum01 Fri 23-Sep-16 00:40:59

Wow. They had big glasses didnt they? They saw you coming.

Do as pp say, pay your £60. If you havent already done it, take a picture of the 'job' so if gardener decides to get twatty, you can produce said picture and say, so THAT took 12 hours?

Tell NDN to f off, its your garden and gardener friend will likely tell her anyway

dont pay the bill for goodness sake!

Redorangeyellowgreenblue Fri 23-Sep-16 00:45:54

Pay the 60 quid like you authorised and ignore next door neighbour from now on. What your garden looks like is none of his business. Nosy gitbwill only get worse!

WittyPutDown Fri 23-Sep-16 00:49:58

So she came over with the invoice for £190 and then what ?...

did you say anything? I would have old her there and that you don't want to pay any more than you had agreed to pay.

Nocabbageinmyeye Fri 23-Sep-16 00:50:37

What the hell??? shock Pay the agreed four hours and not a penny more! To be honest I'm shocked you agreed in the first place, you could have cut her off nicely "We like it", "It will grow back" "pay to have it fixed? Haha oh dear no, its our garden and we like it", why are you letting her act like this? I am all for neighbourly relations but she is not one bit worried about you while she walks all over you. As for pp saying pay it shock Have people no backbone? People like her thrive on people like you

Nocabbageinmyeye Fri 23-Sep-16 00:52:11

And if you pay this now then this will be your first of many threads about her, stop her in her tracks now or you are making a rod for your back

QueenLizIII Fri 23-Sep-16 01:20:25

Jesus has your NDN got nothing better to do with their time? It is a bloody hedge.

Tell her best mate to screw the bill and pay her £60.

GingerbreadLatteToGo Fri 23-Sep-16 01:21:33

You (foolishly)* agreed to 4 hours @ £15. Give them £60 & tell them that's what you agreed to pay & that you only got it done to make them happy as you didn't have a problem with it as it was. Then tell them you are not the ex neighbours & that you intend to keep the garden clean & tidy, but you have no intention of spending enough time & money on it for it to be a show garden as it was before. Stamp out any expectation of you doing so.

* foolishly because YOU were happy with it as it was.

DontMindMe1 Fri 23-Sep-16 01:52:22

OP, do you usually let people bully you like this?

You were happy with the hedge after it's first trim. YOU didn't feel it needed more spent on it.
Your neighbour wanted it - so actually you should have told him HE would have to pay for it to be trimmed to his satisfaction.

You can be cordial with neighbours, you don't need to be chummy-chummy with them - not manipulative ones like this anyway. He did a good job of first making you feel bad for him and then made you pay to make him feel better.
He sounds the sort who has a long list of what he thinks other people should do.
Next on this list - maybe he won't want you keeping your bins where they can be seen to 'lower the tone' of the street. So he'll start dropping hints making comments
Or he might have an issue with you parking in a place where the previous owner didn't - cos of the noise/eyesore etc
Or maybe (as on another thread) he might have an issue with you hanging out the washing on 'certain days/hours' grin

This won't be the last of his 'helpful suggestions', so it's better to assert yourself now and set the boundaries of your 'relationship'.

and please - don't pay anymore than the £60 you agreed on.

Cheby Fri 23-Sep-16 04:50:59

Pay the £60 and nothing more. Neighbour is being ridiculous. Was the gardener cutting it with nail scissors FFS?!

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