Dispute with neighbours over replacing back fence.

(51 Posts)
nannylove Mon 08-Apr-13 09:58:14

Hi. First time I've used this site but I'm at my wits end! A young couple moved in next door to us just over a year ago with three children and a dog. They had to gut the house but we were quite happy to hear the noise that they had to make, and it's nice to hear young children playing. They invited me in to see the work that they had done and I told them that we were aware that the back fence needed replacing (though it doesn't look TOO bad from our side) but we could not afford to do it until my husband retires in 2 years and we receive a retirement pay out. They seemed O.K. with this. The couple are foul mouthed and aggresive, we suffer constant shouting, effing and blinding and rowing, all of which can be clearly heard through the wall, sometimes word for word. I'm only telling you this so you can see the bigger picture. Last week I heard the husband on the phone in the garden threatening to rip our fence down if we don't replace it straight away before they put decking down. Hoping to resolve the matter I knocked on his door and politely, once more, explained that we could not afford to replace the fence straight away. Later the wife brought a pile of wood round from our fence and threw it in our front garden. I politely explained to her that she was quite entitled to return any wood off our fence, no problem, and that to save her bringing it round the front she could just put it over the back fence. I then received a tirade of verbal abuse! After which she made several trips round to me hammering on my front door obviously looking for a fight. This is not my way of doing things so I asked her, again politely, to go home. But eventually I had to threaten to call the police to have her removed. She couldn't have cared less. I had asked her to calm down and come indoors to discuss the matter which she loudly refused! Now they are saying that our fence is on their property, which I am almost certain that it is not, but would be interested to hear anything any of you have to say.

ByTheWay1 Mon 08-Apr-13 10:13:17

I would tell them the fence is in the correct position according to the deeds and land registry and that if they want a nice fence they can put up a new one 6 inches away from it on their side of the boundary. Then do your fence when YOU want to.... so long as it is safe of course - it is up to you to maintain a safe boundary when it is "your" fence..

furbaby Mon 08-Apr-13 10:27:28

Sorry not much advise I can give you as I suffer from exactly the same type of neighbour as you . Just wanted to give hugs as I know just how stressful it is living nextdoor to people like this ((((()))))

nannylove Mon 08-Apr-13 14:35:02

Thankyou so much for your support, it is appreciated. As I said, I know the fence needs replacing but it's not actually falling down and I would have thought that with him claiming that he is a "builder" he would have been capable of banging a few "sharp nails" in himself. They know my husband had a stroke just before they moved in and, although he is back at work, I would have thought that they could have been a little more patient as we would now have to pay someone to erect the new fence. Only this morning they broke pieces off the fence and threw them into my back garden!

fussychica Mon 08-Apr-13 14:56:33

How awful for you. It's always a concern when new neighbours arrive. You just live in hope they'll be "normal" but so often they aren't.

Agree with ByTheWay re letting them do their own thing.

We just replaced a fence we weren't responsible for as we wanted more privacy and a uniform look to the boundaries. We talked to the neighbour who was more than happy - she has now removed her grotty fence and has a lovely new one to look at. If they feel this strongly about the fence they should do what we did and respect the fact you aren't in a position to replace it at the moment. Unfortunately, they don't seem the reasonable sort.

I really hope you sort it out. I don't think I could stand living next door to people like that. The only time we had a real neighbour issue I moved out sharpish but appreciate that it isn't always possible.

PragmaticWench Mon 08-Apr-13 15:15:08

Some councils offer a mediation service for neighbours in situations like this. Obviously you could send your neighbours a letter explaining your position but if you think they'll be less than delightful (!), you could try a mediation service. It might stop any more nastiness.

It sounds horrible though, really feel for you.

nannylove Thu 11-Apr-13 20:55:57

I'm afraid it's gone past the point of mediation. We had to call the police twice because they ripped our entire fence down and were threatening to kill or maim my husband because he ignored them while they were hurling abuse at him. They then tore me to pieces - the language and the lies were incredible. So, new fence being erected over the next two weekends and net curtains at all the back windows. I have a strong network of neighbours and friends who have been really supportive for which I am grateful, and having lived here for over 30 years am well known, so any slander they care to spread about will be ignored. Having said that, it is taking it's toll on both me and my husband (who had a stroke 2 years ago). I have lost half a stone in weight since Friday. It's like a bad dream.

formicaqueen Thu 11-Apr-13 22:20:43

urgently take lots of photos of the fence ASAP with dates (newspaper etc).

AliceWChild Fri 12-Apr-13 08:42:35

So sorry nannylove. I've no advice but you've my sympathies. At least you've got support around you. Are the new neighbours owners or might they move on soon?

jalopy Fri 12-Apr-13 09:23:59

Nannylove, keep a log/diary of all the incidents that have happened. If this ends up in court, you will have a record to strengthen your case.

If this is antisocial, aggressive behaviour towards you, can the police do anything?

EverSoYoni Fri 12-Apr-13 09:29:45

If they're breaking bits off your fence its criminal damage and I'd get the police involved to warn them off.

I would also make it quite clear if they destroy the fence you still won't be replacing it for two years. So they will shoot themselves in the foot as there will be no fence at all.

EverSoYoni Fri 12-Apr-13 09:31:03

Sorry, see they've already pulled the fence down. Can't you get them done for criminal damage. I'd be tempted not to replace the fence for months just to piss them off. And when the fence was replaced it would be at least 6ft high.

fussychica Fri 12-Apr-13 13:57:27

So sorry it has come to this. I am not surprised it's taking it's toll on both of you - I know how ill I felt the only time we had neighbour issues and it was nothing as vile as this.
What did the police say/do?
Agree with the other re photos, diary and not replacing the fence but I know the latter could be more than difficult for you.
Take care of yourselves and don't let the bastards grind you down.

WireCatWhore Fri 12-Apr-13 14:12:50

Nannylove, how awful.

Sorry, I've nothing constructive to say. Just to let you know I've read x

LandRegistryRep Fri 12-Apr-13 14:57:19

Boundary disputes can be very very difficult to avoid/resolve if both parties do not want to agree or compromise.

We have some online FAQs www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/faqs#boundary and a Public Guide which explain the Land Registry position re boundaries and title plans as well for properties in England & Wales.

It is always important to understand what information, if any, the registered titles refer to. In this case it is likely that you would need to seek some form of legal advice from a solicitor/conveyancer or CAB. I would recommend doing this before you put anything in writing to the neighbours.

Online forums discuss issues around boundaries on a regular basis. The key points they all make are in my view
1. understanding the legal and what is or is not registered with Land Registry is important
2. legal advice is always recommended even if simply to understand next steps and/or what might happen in different scenarios
3. Disputes which end up in the courts or involving solicitors over any length of time can be very costly and stressful; and
4. Disputes with neighbours should be revealed to any prospective buyer as and when you should try to sell the property - this last point is a relatively recent change and one which can influence how such matters are resolved e.g. the neighbour intends to move on at some point

I hope the situaiton resolves itself soon

nannylove Sun 14-Apr-13 16:36:07

Thankyou all so much for your support. We have taken photos and having a new fence put up as I type - purely to give us some privacy, keeping a barrier between him and my husband who he threatened to beat up and to keep their dog out of our garden. Although tempting to take all sorts of legal action, whatever we did would only enflame them and make a bad situation worse. We now keep a fire blanket by the front door which shows you how worried we are about what they might do next. Every time I hear a noise my stomach goes over. The police told us that the safety community team will be keeping an eye on us and they are calling in on Tuesday - but to be honest I'm not sure, if next door see them, that that won't only make it worse. Thank God for my friends, family and the good neighbours!

nannylove Sun 14-Apr-13 16:37:54

Sorry, forgot to tell you, they bought the property. If they were tenants we could force them out!

flow4 Sun 14-Apr-13 17:04:58

nanny, how awful. Honestly, I really think you should involve the police. I do not think it will make things worse: bullies behave like this because they think no-one will challenge them and they will get away with it. They tend to be very taken aback - even scared - if someone lays down the law.

I would make police complaints about several things you have mentioned - see below. The complaints will not result in action in most cases, or not very much action - but it is important to have a record, especially since you seem to be afraid of things escalating.

- Threatening to beat up/main/kill your DH - threatening behaviour is a crime; it may also constitute intent to cause actual bodily harm.
- Damaging the fence - this is criminal damage.
- General abuse towards you both - this may constitute anti-social behaviour and/or harassment.

You can get a harassment order if you can prove repeat instances of threats, damage, personal abuse, etc. Just two instances are enough, but you have to have evidence, which is why reporting each incident is so important. A harassment order could prevent them from coming onto your property, approaching your property and/or speaking to you.

I have been on the receiving end of some criminal damage, threats and general nastiness over the past 20 years or so, so I know how stressful it is. You want to feel safe in your own home. In my case, most of it has been anonymous, so it has not been possible to take action... But where I have known individual names (in two cases), I have reported it to the police, the individual was warned off (in one case), and arrested and charged with criminal damage (in the other) - and it seems to have stopped. (Fingers crossed still, because the arrest was only last weekend).

Good luck.

AliceWChild Sun 14-Apr-13 18:24:40

Thanks for the update nanny. Sounds awful. Glad the police are taking your seriously. Personally, although I've no experience, you sound like you're doing the right things. Don't rise to it and take the right action, be focus on the good neighbours.

nannylove Tue 16-Apr-13 12:06:38

Thanks all. Police have been well and truly involved and we have a CAD number to speed things up if there's any more trouble. So we have police reports, photos etc. And we also have moral support from all our decent neighbours and friends. Unfortunately it still doesn't stop you feeling sick to the pit of your stomach. And she works for one of the emergency services!

I feel for you. We once had a hideous bully move in next door to us. It was awful, and he was an owner with loads of money. I didn't want to make a formal complaint for ages - I knew we would have to declare if we sold - but eventually it got too much, and I called police and the noise people from the council came round (not a council house btw). They were excellent. The man stayed watching the houses after he had spoken to the neighbour, and warned me to call the police immediately if I got late night calls, and not to answer the door.

Fortunatley for us, he sold soon afterwards, and the new neighbours were lovely.

Good luck.

nannylove Sun 21-Apr-13 11:50:09

It all kicked off again on Friday. The police went to our "lovely neighbours" (nothing to do with us) and after they left we had them back in our front garden hammering on our door, screaming and shouting abuse! We called the police again who came back but by that time our neighbours had all got in their car and disappeared. Apparently the police had received an annonymous call reporting them about the children. It certainly wasn't us (I would have reported them to the NSPCC, not the police) but obviously someone else was as concerned as we were. Naturally they assumed it was us which is why they came round. I would really like them to know that it was nothing to do with us but I'm not silly enough (and have been told by the police not to) approach them, they wouldn't let us get a word in anyway! Doesn't help though, getting the blame for something that we haven't done. Sorry folks, just getting it off my chest.

fussychica Sun 21-Apr-13 13:07:41

So sorry this is still escalating. Take care - thinking of you.

AliceWChild Sun 21-Apr-13 13:59:40

Sorry to hear its still going on. At least it's not just you finding them problematic but not great it impacts adversely on you of course. Have the police been much help?

nannylove Sun 21-Apr-13 19:29:52

Well they're doing their best. The sergeant rang me Friday and was all set to come up and arrest them there and then, but I need to see if there's a less antagonistic solution. Tomorrow we're having a visit from a safer neighbourhood watch officer from the council with a police officer, I'm desperately hoping they can help. The sergeant wants us to take it to court but I just want an end to it, not drag it out even more. We really don't know what to do for the best.

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