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AIBU or is my neighbor

(115 Posts)
deliverdaniel Fri 15-May-15 20:08:34

I really can't work out whether IABU because I am feeling baseline resentment about my neighbor (we have had problems in the past which I have posted about) or whether this is fair.

We live in a rented flat, part of a conversion which is two flats- we are upstairs, our neighbor is downstairs. SHe doesn't like us, complains constantly at us about all kinds of things- hates our kids etc etc. We are both renting with the same landlord.

there is large front garden, jointly used by both flats, which my kids used to play in- it was previously kind of a mess- not terrible, but a bit overgrown and the kids enjoyed playing in it. The neighbor enjoys gardening and has recently dug up the whole thing and planted a lot of plants and made it into a more well kept, fancy garden. She didn't tell me she was going to do this, or ask me what I thought or anything. What she has done looks nice, and I have been appreciative of her hard work- told her that she has done a really good job etc. But now she is saying that our DC can no longer play there because of all the work she has done to it, and that they might ruin the plants. Yesterday she shouted at 19 month old DS for running in there. AIBU to think that she doesn't have the right to do this? I monitor them carefully and make sure they don't damage anything, but tbh i would rather it was still overgrown and they didn't have to worry about spoiling things there and think that this is our shared space and we have just as much right to it as she does (this last bit is technically true according to the lease- just wondering if it is also generally 'right' in 'not being a total dick' terms.) I don't mind that she fixed it, and it does look nice, but I feel as though that doesn't somehow give her ownership of it, and the right to tell my DCs off. Or am I being unfair on her after all her hard work to expect her to put up with my DCs still runniing around and should take them to play elsehwere? Would appreciate opinions! thank you!

footflapper Fri 15-May-15 20:12:13

You're not unreasonable! It was silly of her to put so much work into a shared garden which children play in..

Zampa Fri 15-May-15 20:14:38

It's a shared space so you both have equal rights to use it. YANBU to let your children play there.

However, if the children did damage plants (I appreciate that this isn't currently the case) then perhaps you could discuss buying replacements? Maybe discussing this in advance could reassure your neighbour that the hard work isn't in vain?

PHANTOMnamechanger Fri 15-May-15 20:15:04


HeartShapedBox Fri 15-May-15 20:15:14

Yanbu, it's a shared garden, her problem, not yours.

I wouldn't be letting her shout at a 19 month old baby either.

Theycallmemellowjello Fri 15-May-15 20:16:34

Yanbu. Show her the lease. Be clear and factual - this is a shared space to which we both have equal rights. How horrible for you.

deliverdaniel Fri 15-May-15 20:18:09

thanks everyone

Zampa- i get what your'e saying, but i really don't want to replace plants. it's expensive- I didn't ask for her to put them in there, and she didn't consult me, so I'm not sure it's quite the same as him damaging something in her house say? I am careful, but I can't help feeling that she put them there 'at her own risk'. i know this makes me sound awful, but I don't suddenly want to take on a huge hassle/ financial responsiblity of replacing a bunch of plants that I didn't even want in the first place, and I want to keep the space as a nice place that my kids enjoy playing in.

Theycallmemellowjello Fri 15-May-15 20:19:21

I agree about the at her own risk thing fwiw!

GraysAnalogy Fri 15-May-15 20:21:09

Shared garden so no she can't ban you or your kids. The stupid person.

Charis1 Fri 15-May-15 20:23:55

of course she can't ban your children from their own garden! YANBU

BullshitS70 Fri 15-May-15 20:23:59

Let them play, ignore the neighbour, she planted the plants at her own risk. You are not responsible for replacing them if they get trashed

However, your neighbour will hate you even more now, so be prepared for this

HicDraconis Fri 15-May-15 20:24:52

YANBU. It's a shared space and your children have as much right to play in it as she had to change it. Also agree that as she must have been aware of your children playing in it, any work she did to it is at her own risk - I wouldn't be offering to pay towards anything the children damaged especially if I hadn't wanted the shared space redone in the first place!

You don't sound awful at all.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 15-May-15 20:25:01

She's been very unreasonable.

Turf it and stick some goalposts up!

Seriouslyffs Fri 15-May-15 20:25:37

It's as if she put cream carpet on the stairs.
More fool her.

NorbertDentressangle Fri 15-May-15 20:28:34

It sounds like she's deliberately re-done the garden to create a "reason" for your children not to play in it.

Has she ever complained about them making noise or indicated any annoyance with them before?

TheSpottedZebra Fri 15-May-15 20:30:12

Well you're both imposing your view on how the garden should be on each other, aren't you? You want a running about space, and she wants well - kept and fancy.

Surely there is a compromise, like you split 8th down the middle, or keep one area for play and the kids are not allowed in the fancy area?

NorbertDentressangle Fri 15-May-15 20:30:24

oops sorry I missed the really obvious bit where you said that she hates you and your kids.....I'll get me coat blush

(and yes she's being bloody unreasonable!)

TheSpottedZebra Fri 15-May-15 20:30:26

Split it, not 8th. ..

RenterNomad Fri 15-May-15 20:33:53

She was silly to invest so much in the garden, when it isn't hers, and it isn't just-hers even for the duration of her lease! It belongs to both of you!

As annoyed as I get about people who insist that rented houses never belong to tenants, and that LLs ought to retain far more of a veto than is actually allowed in law hmm, in this case, I'd firmly remind her that it isn't her garden; it is a shared garden. She is trying it on by being precious about it to you (those plants are physically squeezing you out, and her attitude is aimed at intimidating you out), and your LL ought to enforce your use and "quiet enjoyment" of the garden, too!

Speak to her, and to your LL.

deliverdaniel Fri 15-May-15 20:33:53

Norbert: She complains constantly about our kids- has banned all noisy toys (which I have done) generally talks about how much she dislikes kids (including her own, weirdly- had this very sad conversation with her about how she had wanted a girl and she got a boy and that she is still disappointed about it- she is in her 70s and he in his 40s)

SpottedZebra- I'm not sure that we are both imposing our view- I didn't object to her changing the garden, even though personally i would prefer it to be different, I never mentioned this to her. I just object to her banning our kids from the shared space. It's not really practical to split it for various reasons, and it would be impossible to keep the kids out of her side if we did.

RobotHamster Fri 15-May-15 20:34:22

Balls to her. Shared access.

Let your kids use the garden, the plants will be fine, and tbh I'd have stern words at anybody shouting at my 19mo. She already doesn't like you, what have you got to lose.

deliverdaniel Fri 15-May-15 20:35:12

btw thanks everyone for commenting! This is making me feel much better about the whole thing :-)

RobotHamster Fri 15-May-15 20:38:28


shakemysilliesout Fri 15-May-15 20:48:37

Good luck- outside time is so important for mental health and fitness. For young and old. I suggest you encourage her to start a gardening club. Or create a fairy garden. Kill this issue with kindness and flower fairies!! Could be worse, she could be keeping bees.

Zampa Fri 15-May-15 20:49:55

OP My suggestion about replacing plants was with the expectation that the plants wouldn't be damaged. It takes quite a lot to kill a plant and I'm sure your DCs are well behaved. It was more to pre-empt any concerns your neighbour may have.

However, I am thinking of a bit of lawn with borders around the edge and it maybe more complicated than that.

Compromise is needed. As much as I'm on your side about your children being entitled to use the space, maybe also taking into account how she would like to use the space could produce a result you're both happy with.

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