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.

If the Sergent thinks it needs to go to court them I'd probably do it. They wouldn't suggest it if it wasn't serious enough. Time they did get dragged to court and taught a lesson in behaving themselves. It won't end by ignoring it or trying to keep it all quiet, they will just escalate their bad behavior if they think they can walk all over you.

Pendeen Mon 22-Apr-13 15:52:16

"The sergeant wants us to take it to court but I just want an end to it..."

Sorry to say but there will be no end to it unless these people are tried and convicted.

AgathaF Mon 22-Apr-13 16:04:36

Do what the police advise. It's not going to go away on its own. People like this don't just stop behaving like this because someone politely asks them too.

I do feel for you. Dodgy neighbours are such a pain in the arse. It seems like there are more and more of them around too.

nannylove Tue 23-Apr-13 09:57:22

The Safer Neighbourhood team from the council, who work with the police, came to see us yesterday and were really lovely. The sergeant who's dealing with this is coming up to see me later this week for a chat and to see how things are, still got fingers crossed that this will get sorted. It's all very intimidating though, they have their two sets of French doors and kitchen window wide open all the time so I can hear what they're saying - not that you have to listen, they're so loud that even with ear plugs you'd still hear every word! Lost a stone and a half in weight, can't take much more!

gremlinmum Tue 23-Apr-13 10:23:37

Hi Nannylove just wanted to say thinking of you!!! We had to move house when I was a teenager because of a neighbour from hell!!! Stay strong and get the Police to take it further. Your health is your wealth nannylove and they are just scum by the sound of it!!!

AliceWChild Tue 23-Apr-13 10:34:05

Sorry to hear it nannylove. Glad you're getting some good support.

nannylove Wed 24-Apr-13 09:17:29

I can't tell you how much it has helped reading all your supportive comments. Just being able to get it off your chest really does help - it just shows there are more lovely people than horrible ones. I've been brave enough to venture into my garden this morning (after I saw them go out) to put my washing line up! Whether I'll be brave enough to bring the washing in again I don't know. My next door but two neighbours have put their house up for sale, could be coincidence but being a lovely young couple with a baby who haven't lived there that long maybe not.

Pudden Wed 24-Apr-13 09:55:42

I really feel for you; we had neighbours from hell when I was pregnant with my firstborn. Noise day and night- v. loud music, swearing, telly fighting etc. Six dogs in back yard who were never taken out and fouled where they lay. The children used to urinate against our front door and throw dog faeces and used sanitary pads into our back yard. We and other neighbours were verbally abused and spat on as we walked past...it was utterly horrendous and blighted the 'babyears'.

Eventually we had enough and with support of police, the council, RSPCA etc most of the neighbours went to court and ASBOS were given to half the family! They moved out soon after but not before recking the house.

We were allocated a designated police officer and he was wonderful and really got things moving for us so see if they have an officer who does this sort of thing in the community

I am thinking of you and your poor husband; with your friends and neighbours help and support and the proper channels you can get through this.

Please keep posting so we can keep supporting you as well; i know how hard and horrendously distressing it is

AliceWChild Wed 24-Apr-13 12:28:49

I'm glad it helps. I feel useless in any advice but am following and thinking of you.

nannylove Wed 24-Apr-13 13:41:23

Thankyou Pudden and AliceWChild, your thoughts and support are much appreciated. They came home about an hour ago and all is quiet at the moment -- but can't help wondering if that's because they're plotting something. I'll keep in touch. Do any of you live in the Erith area (though I'm not sure you're allowed to say on mumsnet)?

AliceWChild Wed 24-Apr-13 19:28:26

You're allowed to say, although of course different people give out different levels of info online. But no, nowhere near.

Is it still quiet?

propertysurveyor Wed 24-Apr-13 19:46:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

nannylove Thu 25-Apr-13 13:36:30

I see there's a message deleted for breaking the Talk Guidelines but not sure why, sorry if I've broken any rules. It's not exactly quiet but at least they've not been back hammering on my door! I'll keep you posted.

Aethelfleda Thu 25-Apr-13 14:04:30

Don't worry nanny, from the username and the speed with which it canished, it was likely a spam post from an advertising person "ring this number/click this link for cheap fencing LOLS!!!!!!" or equivalent. Mumsnet HQ automatically kick out posts like that all the time.

I have every sympathy too. A friend of mine had similar issues with v noisy aggressive neighbours. They eventually split up and sold the house. Do keep the police informed throughout so that each incident (even small ones) are documented, and I really hope you get some resolution soon.

nannylove Thu 25-Apr-13 16:01:22

We've been given a diary to log any incidents and I must confess that I'm highly suspicious as to why they've suddenly quietened down. I have a feeling that as soon as they think it's all been forgotten they'll start up again. Not being very bright it wouldn't dawn on them that it will still all be on record both with the police and the council. Fingers crossed that I'm wrong! Again, thankyou for the support and I'll keep all the kind people who have messaged me up to date with developments. x

AliceWChild Thu 25-Apr-13 19:47:42

It might be they've realised you'll not put up with it and are taking serious action, so can't be bullied. And if they've done it before, which is likely, they'll know how the system works. So maybe looks hopeful

Aethelfleda Thu 25-Apr-13 20:34:42

Hope they stay quieter for you tonight and (crucially) over the weekend...

nannylove Fri 26-Apr-13 13:43:56

Thankyou. They lit a bonfire at 10 last night, God knows what they were burning, it was still smouldering this morning. Very early this morning they were loading the car up and my husband saw a suitcase going in, half one now and no sign of life, all doors and windows are shut but they've left the television on in the front bedroom! Maybe just to annoy me or make people think that there's someone at home, who knows. Would be bliss if they've just done a disappearing act but I'm not that lucky! And I'd like to know what they've done with the poor dog. Will keep you all posted!

PigletJohn Fri 26-Apr-13 15:31:14

noisy tv if left on overnight can go in your diary.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Fri 26-Apr-13 15:43:55

No advice but LOADS of sympathy. What a truely awful situation. I am lad that your other neighbours and the police and council are being supportive.
Do you rent your house?
Have you considered CCTV?

nannylove Sun 28-Apr-13 19:14:28

No, our house is bought and paid for - we've lived here for 34 years. Unfortunately our delightful neighbours own theirs as well, we probably would have been able to have them thrown out if they were renting. But our new fence is up, courtesy of my wonderful son-in-law and his friend, so they have nothing to approach us about now. Hopefully, as they really do feed on aggression, they will revert to type turning on each other and end up hospitalizing both! Then at least their poor children could be placed with a nice foster family. But I know that's wishful thinking. We had yet another bonfire starting at 6 yesterday evening, they had their French doors and back windows wide open (must have smelt lovely inside their house) and along with the hulk of a brother and his wife entertained themselves with what sounded like a karaoke (not sure of spelling) machine, with the children, until ten o'clock! The noise was awful! And so another week begins.

Neighbours of this kind are dreadful, we lived for 4 years with the people opposite doing some really awful stuff, slashed car tyres etc, but we could never prove it was them.

They admitted it was them to us, but not to anyone else, so it was always our word against theirs. It all ended when they threw a brick through my babies bedroom window and poured paint stripper over our cars.

In all honesty, the police in our area were worse than useless. They did NOTHING except tell me they would arrest me for breach of the peace if I retaliated sad

We couldn't take any more and we moved. The stress of it almost broke our marriage down and my DH felt that he just couldn't protect us.

It was awful and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Good luck nannylove, I hope it gets better for you quickly.

nannylove Sun 28-Apr-13 20:42:54

Many thanks BabylonReturns, your experience sounds even worse than ours. I would move except that we have many really lovely neighbours, my grandchildren are a stones throw away and we live near shops, bus stops, railway station, doctors, dentist, minor injuries unit, cottage hospital and all my friends. As you get older all these things become even more important to you and I don't see why we should be forced out by trash like them. I'm saying that now (they've been out all day and I'm feeling brave) but whether I'll feel the same at a later date who knows. Mumsnet is really helping me cope though with people like you supporting me. Thankyou.

hope things stay quiet for you. except for students (surounded by the buggers), ive never had to deal with neighbours as dh and i keep ourselves to ourselves.

i would add though, that if the police are advising you to go to court, then i would do it. someone, one day, is going to have to be brave enough to stand up to these people... otherwise it will never ever stop

nannylove Mon 29-Apr-13 16:08:46

Well if there's one more repeat performance that's exactly where I'll be going! But as we really don't want to move and they seem to be ignoring us at the moment I'm just biding my time. But still keeping a diary and, again, thanks to everybody for supporting me.

Aethelfleda Tue 07-May-13 20:15:01

Any progress nanylove? hoping it's been quiet...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now