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

apatchylass Tue 07-May-13 22:14:05

Just say no, nicely. explain to them that you do not see the need for a new fence, that you covered the cost of the fence on the other side as a goodwill gesture to your other neighbour and don't now feel justified in that sort of expense, but that if they want a new fence and are prepared to pay for it, they can go ahead without you chipping in. If you are pleasant and direct, and say no rather than umming and ahing, they can't really do much, unless the fence is falling down into their garden.

HollyBerryBush Tue 07-May-13 22:15:37

Boundary ownership will be on your deeds.

if you rent your LL will know which is the property boundary.

if its council, phone them

snuffaluffagus Tue 07-May-13 22:15:47

Just say you can't afford that and are happy with the current fence!

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:19:35

I'll get my copy of the deeds out now.

The fence we current have between us is just waist height and a bit like an old country fence not a solid board fence giving privacy. But as said it does not bother us.

Blissx Tue 07-May-13 22:21:40

You normally own the fence to the right, with your back to the house. If you look at your house deeds it is normally marked on these with a "T".

NotYoMomma Tue 07-May-13 22:27:55

By 'bullied' do you mean 'asked about it twice and then being given a quote?

Just to clarify?

it must be different in different areas as ours is the back fence and the one on your right if your lookin out your back door.smile

NotYoMomma Tue 07-May-13 22:28:41

Get the wood from a timber yard and build it yourselves. That are a rip off

which might be same as bliss said depending how you read it grin grin grin

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:30:20

Drawing on deeds does not show a T and there is no obvious mention in the deeds - it is an old house so v difficult to read deeds.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 07-May-13 22:31:17

Ours is the one on the right as you look out the back door - I believe that's the standard arrangement but should be in deeds.

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:32:53

Yes - ok maybe not mega bullied but difficult to say no - when he came down path and asked outright. Would be different if someone my own age - but such an elderly person - we felt bad.

There is no chance of us doing it ourselves - we have not the time or the skills.

TheChaoGoesMu Tue 07-May-13 22:35:33

Ours is on the right. Tell the neighbour you cant afford it and you are happy with the fence thats there. But if he wants to put one up on his own side then thats fine. Dont get suckered in.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 07-May-13 22:35:49

Just say no.

Our neighbour tried this with us last year. Luckily I knew (he claimed not to) the boundary was his responsibility. Even if it hadn't been like you I wasn't bothered about the fence that was up. They wanted a higher one for more privacy I reckon as they'd just done a new patio and summer house.

I was polite bt very clear, no if he wanted a new fence he would be paying. He was a bit suprised I think but not much he could do. They paid for the whole thing.

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:36:13

Well the one that is on the right as you look out the back door is the one we have already paid for - the one attached to the joined semi.

His fence is to the left.

Just discussed with dh and we thought maybe we should say - we will give a £200 contribution but that is all we can afford at the moment. Does that seem reasonable?

Restorer Tue 07-May-13 22:37:07

Ours is to the right as you look out of the back of the house too.

So, which fence is it? Is your "bullying" smile neighbour actually doing you a favour by going halves on a fence which is your responsibility? Although obviously if that's the case, it's still your choice as to whether it needs replacing.

thebody Tue 07-May-13 22:38:17

What TheChao says.

No thank you is a complete sentence.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 07-May-13 22:38:21

I have been in the same situation with elderly neighbours. It was small wall between the driveways for us though, and it was definitely our wall. It was crumbling a bit, but not desperately in need of replacing, and it couldn't have been any further down my list of priorities.

It made me feel awful though as the wife was clearly spending a lot of time fretting about the stupid wall, and I dreaded walking out the front door in case I had to see them. They asked about it three times before I made my mind up that we simply couldn't justify spending the money, which we genuinely couldn't, when there were plenty of other things that needed doing to the house that mattered more to us. I bit the bullet and told them it just wasn't going to be fixed, we had other more important things to spend money on, and in the end they paid to have the whole thing re done themselves. I did feel guilty at the time, but now I'm over it and I don't see why I should feel guilty that they spent money on something when they are the only ones that were bothered about it.

You need to do the same. I'm sure you can find other things that you could spend £550 if you wanted to. Think of those when you're plucking up the courage to tell them!

SarahAndFuck Tue 07-May-13 22:38:24

I think in our deeds, at the back of the house we are responsible for the fence on the left hand side and rear of the garden, and our neighbour is responsible for the fence on the right hand side of our garden (so his left) if we stand with our backs to the houses.

At the front it is the same only with us facing the houses. We maintain the front fence and the fence on the left, neighbour maintains our right hand side/his left hand side.

Go to your neighbours and tell them you didn't realise the quote would be so high and you cannot afford it.

Do it quickly, before they pay for any fence panels or workmen.

Can you contact the solicitor who dealt with your purchase, or the land registry to see if they can help you any further?

MagicHouse Tue 07-May-13 22:39:17

You just say - sorry, you'd like to help, but you simply don't have that sort of spare cash, and that you're happy with the old fence.

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:39:34

Thanks viva - you see our problem is that when he came up the path and asked us tonight and put us on the spot with going half - dh mumbled an okay. As when we discussed it late he like me thought it would be about £200 but we got a shock when he said about £550.

When we got the fence on the other side it was just from the back if the house. This one it seems he wants to run all down the side of the house too. So lots more fence.

unebagpipe Tue 07-May-13 22:39:42

Not always on deeds.

You may need to take a walk down your road and ask some of the people who you know have been in situ for a while. Do not automatically presume you have to pay 50% as it may well be their fence (and responsibility).

In addition, if it is their fence they get to choose if they have the "nice" side facing them or facing you. You could end up paying 50% and then end up with the 'less nice' side!

EasilyBored Tue 07-May-13 22:43:32

'No, sorry, we're happy with the fence as it is and we don't have any spare money to put towards a new fence' or just 'no, we're happy with the fence'.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 07-May-13 22:45:25

Go and see him tomorrow. Tell him you've looked at finances, etc and decided that it won't be possible to pay half. Tell him you're happy with current fence and if he wants to change it its his choice. If you can find deeds and also tell him for sure it ain't your fence then even better.

My neighbour reckoned he'd always thought a shared boundary fence was a shared responsibility. Mmmmm.

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:45:56

I don't really want to get into the asking neighbours situation or even to be honest quoting deeds. I really do not want to upset them.

They have been helpful to us - taking in parcels when we are at work, letting us pick apples of his tress that overhang our garden, giving us advice about gardening and DIY.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 07-May-13 22:46:27

Nooooo, don't give him £200. If its on the left its probably his fence.

LemonsLimes Tue 07-May-13 22:47:05

Could you say "People are normally responsible for the fence on their right. We have recently paid in full for a new fence on our right side, so please do go ahead with buying a new fence on your right side, but we won't be contributing as we spent all our money on replacing the fence we are responsible for."

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:48:29

As mentioned before we are happy to offer a contribution of £200 as we can afford that - do you think I should go and offer that - or would just a simple - I am sorry we are not in a position to go halfs.

suebfg Tue 07-May-13 22:50:44

Don't get into a dispute about a fence - any disputes etc have to be declared when selling a house and can knock thousands off a price. If you can't afford it, get some quotes yourself - the price does seem steep.

SarahAndFuck Tue 07-May-13 22:51:43

I've just had a look at our deeds and I got my sides wrong. Our left side is our neighbours responsibility, our right side is our responsibility.

I got confused because a left hand side panel blew down recently and we paid to replace it because our neighbour is 85 and couldn't afford to. And it would have been our dogs and our child in his garden, so it seemed only fair.

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:53:01

I know what you mean lemons - but as said the deeds seem unclear. We did not replace the fence on our right as it was our responsibility we just did it because it needed doing and we would no have felt comfortable asking the neighbour to contribute for something we wanted but suspected with a baby on the way it was low down her list of must haves.

Kaekae Tue 07-May-13 22:54:53

Our deeds do not show any boundary so we are all responsible for the fence according to our planning department. The fence to our left was really low and we agreed to go halves with our neighbour for a new one. If we hadn't the she could have just butted the new fence up against the old fence and it would have look an eyesore on our side. We then decided to get a new fence on the other side and that neighbour also went halves with us. We have the nice side all the way round. But sometimes this is also an indication you own the fence.

supersue1969 Tue 07-May-13 22:55:24

He has not got a proper quote but he intends to use the company we used for the other side and is seen as a reasonable and good firm locally. The fence will be 98ft. (did say length of boundary on deeds!).

minibmw2010 Tue 07-May-13 23:09:01

If you don't want to upset them then accept you're paying half, or just have some courage and be honest and say no! Don't make excuses, just say no. It's quite simple.

Greenkit Tue 07-May-13 23:33:35

Just grow some and say no.

1) There's nothing wrong with the old fence
2) We cant afford it
3) You carry on if you wish

shineypeacock Wed 08-May-13 05:39:16

Check with the land registry, you can view anyones deeds online, ive had a dispute with my neighbours over a fence snd they are still insisting that the broken fence is mine, when it clearly states on their deeds that all fences and walls between our houses are party, ie shared, am prepared to pay half but at the moment they wont budge, trying to fob me off with we've lived here over 30 yrs etc, cost me £20 to chevk all details and get copies, cheaper than a fence!!

LittleMissLucy Wed 08-May-13 05:49:06

I would do the offering 200 quid thing and see if they can get a better quotation. Its not an unreasonable compromise.

BellaVita Wed 08-May-13 06:31:53

I would say no.

Our boundary fence is to the right. If you want to be sure ring the land registry. I downloaded our plans (cost £3), but they were new and only the land registry could view the old ones or I could download a form and pay £11 and send it off and they would send me the original plan. Land registry lady was very helpful and confirmed over the phone what we thought our boundary was.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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 .

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),

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.

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 09:28:53

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.

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.

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?

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.

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


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?

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.)

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.

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

Bullied? Seriously??? hmm

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

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.

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

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'

Boomba Wed 08-May-13 11:22:57

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

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 08-May-13 11:27:12
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.

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.

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