Forced to pay for neighbour's blown down fence(90 Posts)
Earlier this morning I went over to my neighbour's house to discuss their fence which has blown down during the night. It runs along the length of my back garden. I know they own it as they only recently had it tended to. Thought it would be a straight forward conversation- I'm not really bothered as my elderly dog can be supervised closely. However, neighbour says I need to contribute to fixing it due to allowing some ivy to have overgrown which has compromised the "integrity of the fence". Is my neighbour trying it on with someone he hopes is young enough to fall for it? If I have messed up I will hold my hands up.
I have a long commute into London so don't prioritise gardening in the Winter. I normally pay for gardeners in summer, whereas my neighbour is retired and obsessed with his garden.
I was very friendly but my neighbour was very abrasive and quite frankly rude.
Check the local laws (CAB or council offices maybe?) and go from there I think.
I know in my local council area it depends which side of the fence the posts are on.
I presume you own the house so you should know which side is yours? Fences blow over in high winds all the time. I would have thought that some ivy would give it some extra strength. They certainly can't make you pay. They could try small claims court but would be unlikely to win (common sense tells me - no legal expertise here).
But then it could be a small price to pay to maintain neighbourly relations which can be a nightmare when they break down.
Surely then it's his responsibility? Sounds to me like he's at it, especially since it's unlikely ivy in one season has compromised the fence badly enough to make it unstable!
Ours came down in a massive storm a few years ago, and neighbours on both sides offered to chip in so we could all get it fixed quickly. But that was offered not requested and we all got on very well.
Unless he can prove that the ivy has contributed to the fence falling, he has not got any right to demand money from you. Ignore him.
This happened last night and you was already over there before 9 on a sunday morning?!
Well that would of pissed me off and I wouldnt be willing to have a chat to you before i had even had a chance to think about it.
well, having a fence is optional. if they don't want to replace it, then it's that.
Saying that, it is your responsibility to contain your dog.
Here's a thread from the other side:
My dog will be on lead, he is a half-blind terrier that goes over to my mum's when I'm at work and rarely ventures more than a few m's from the patio anyway.
Neighbour has never once brought up the ivy before now. I would have immediately attended to it had he done so.
recently had it tended to
How recently? Surely the Ivy was there then and they should have brought it up then if it was a problem. I think he's trying it on.
We had this with our neighbour at the back.
He had a large pyracantha that gradually pushed over the fence between the end of his garden and ours. Eventually it got pushed over completely.
I went round and asked if he’d pay half if I got some quotes to have it replaced. He said he had no money at all and could contribute nothing. He denied it was his tree that was pushing it over, even though the tree was half in my garden by the time we discussed it.
In the end I paid (£1000, got concrete posts and gravel boards so it was more longstanding) and he sent me a letter saying he was taking legal advice because the fencer left a pile of earth on his lawn (which i’d asked him to remove from behind the fence before the work was done).
He’s an absolute twat and I’m so glad we have a six-foot fence between us.
I think I would have been pissed off had a neighbour brought up a blown down fence before there had been any chance whatsoever of me dealing with it though.
A small pile of earth, that should say. Maybe two buckets full.
how much ivy? photo? Ivy would only damage the fence by its weight.
Ignore his request and that is all it is.
Remember if he’s obviously a keen gardener he won’t want to be without a fence for long, and if he asks you for your contribution say no the fence is not my property and if he get arsey say its n your interest to replace the panel as I cannot promise my dog won’t enter your garden without a panel up sorry.
I bet he soon has it up, he’s just trying his luck.
I think I would have been pissed off had a neighbour brought up a blown down fence before there had been any chance whatsoever of me dealing with it though
Yes me too! He’d hardly had chance to digest the information let alone work out any finances.
They might get a new one once your dogs starts wondering into their garden. I have always gone half with my neighbours on a new fence, that way I can get a say because I like high fences!
Sorry his fence his responsibility. If he thought there was an issue before he should have toldyou before. I had a fence put up all round my garden, just inside the existing fence line. I maintain it all. One side neighbours are good they even paint it. The other line has let ivy grow up it. I just take the ivy off as it grows over the top, pulling as much as I can off the back as well. It’s been up years with no problem
I cannot promise my dog won’t enter your garden without a panel up sorry.
It's the OP's responsibility to keep her dog in her own garden.
If it's his fence then you are not allowed to paint it, lean anything against it, attach anything to it or grow anything against it.
How much Ivy are we talking? It can be ridiculously destructive and heavy.
That said, I'd doubt he could enforce any claim unless he's mentioned it to you already, asked you to remove it and taken photos before it fell. He has no proof I suspect.
Personally I'd leave the fence to him, but when he does replace it don't let anything grow up it again.
If he owns that fence then it's his responsibility. Might be worth checking out it's his tho...I tend to the fence my neighbour owns as there is no way they'd bother to fix it. Not saying you wouldn't bother, just that that he might have tended to it once and you've assumed it's his fence.
Let the dog wander into his garden? eggsandwich
Irresponsible and unneighbourly.
And what if the dog wanders through his garden and onto the road?
Oooh, I'm on the fence here. (See what I did there!)
On the one hand, ivy IS quite strong and a bit destructive, and you should have kept it in check, but on the other hand, he should have said something to you about it, and it is his fence.
We had a big raucous, ugly, low-lying fern, (belonging to our neighbour,) that was putting a strain on the 3 ft high wooden fence between the 2 front gardens. (And the fence was our responsibility.) The fern was also creeping through the slats in it etc, and was 8 foot in circumference (6 foot on his side and 2 on ours.) So it was affecting our lawn.
So, we went next door and said what was happening, and asked the man (who was widowed and lived alone and was OK but very much kept himself to himself) if we could cut the big low-lying fern back. He said 'knock yourself out love. D'ya wanna cut my side too, coz my lawn's turning to shit under it too!'
So we cut it back 80%, and we were all happy!
So I do think he should have said something to you if it was affecting the fence!
And I don't think he has a case for asking you for the money. If I could afford it, I may offer, say, a third towards it. But that doesn't mean you should. You could just say 'it's your fence, and you never said anything about the ivy before...' (He hasn't has has he?) Because that may change things a bit.
He’d hardly had chance to digest the information let alone work out any finances
I can see he's been up since at least 7:30- he's had at least two hours to "digest" a broken fence. I went over at 9:30ish and began by telling him not to worry and that I'm not that bothered the fence has fallen back onto my property.
You need to check your deeds. Even if the fence is his, sometimes costs are shared.
How much ivy are we talking about? If it’s minimal and you are not responsible he can sod off. 5 years of overgrowing ivy will weaken a fence to a certain extent. 20 years will destroy it. But a 20 yo wooden fence will be trashed with or without ivy. How old is the fence?
The law is a funny thing. It is as much ops responsibility to keep her dog out as it is for the neighbour to stop the dog from entering her property. Especially as the fence is not ops.
My dog is too old to be in the garden on his own anyway- that's not an issue as he walks 0.5 mph and is attached to my hip 90% of the time.
I will offer to cover 1/3 of the final costs just to keep the peace but only begrudgingly. There is a decent amount of ivy.
I went over at 9:30ish and began by telling him not to worry and that I'm not that bothered the fence has fallen back onto my property.
Well bringing it up at 9.30am showed him that yes, you are very bothered about it!
Your neighbour doesn’t actually need a fence on his boundary at all, so there’s nothing you can do if he doesn’t want to fix or replace it. Equally he can’t force you to pay to replace it but if you’re bothered about it you can put your own up on your side of the boundary.
It's his fence, blown down by the wind, he'll have to deal with.
His fence, he pays.
He is trying to bully you.
Get a rather large male friend round and have him there when he is trying to extort money from you.
I strongly suspect the neighbour will back down. Coz he's a bully.
It would have to be one heck of a lot of rampant ivy to bring the fence down.
I'm really not bothered. Garden is only used as a toilet for my dog during winter.
I just wanted to acknowledge it as we rarely see each other during the week.
Hi I think it depends, ivy cab actually destroy fences if it grows between the panels it cn force them apart very quickly. We replaced one of ours due to ivy from the neighbours and they promised to deal with it but let it grow and it's very quickly made it fall apart again
That's nice of you to offer a third @Tarr
Seeing as he never mentioned it to you before, I don't think you should have to pay more than that.
Good luck. Hope it goes well.
The ivy has definitely not gone through the panels, just over the top. It was pretty well constructed.
Just to say I would absolutely check ownership and rules surrounding the boundary on the TID. Him having “tended it” isn’t proof of ownership.
If the boundary IS his, he only has to reasonable maintain the boundary, he doesn’t need to replace the fence.
You do need to ensure your dog is contained in your garden, that doesn’t have to be via a fence though.
Soupdragon- Neighbour had the whole thing taken down at the beginning of Summer and had it straightened/reinforced- not really sure as he didn't bother informing me. It was a pretty big job and had 3 guys hammering away for a couple of days.
Sorry his fence his responsibility.
The shared fence at the end of my and twat neighbour’s garden belongs to no-one. Hence why I thought he’d be open to helping make a dent in the £1000 it cost me to replace it.
Ivy is more likely to be holding the fence up rather than pulling it down.
If he hasn't said anything before it's too late to blame you now. Anyway he needs to fix this himself - do not make a contribution.
You are probably 100% responsible for the fence on the other side, that's just the way the cookie crumbles
I think that offering a third, in the interests of neighbourly peace and harmony, is a generous but sensible offer. Make sure that you explain that you have always been very approachable and would have removed it had he mentioned it to you - putting the onus back on him.
And make sure that nothing of yours ever grows up the fence again and take regular photos so that if he ever tries to claim against you and your plants in future that you have yourself covered.
Ivy can damage stuff, and even if yours was only on top, he will convince himself that it contributed to the demise of his fence. The wind surely has to have two thirds of the blame though. Fences blow down. It happens.
Best of luck
If the fence belongs to your neighbour, he is responsible for any repairs, but he does not legally have to carry out the work. If you want the fence replaced or repaired for safety/privacy reasons you could offer a contribution.
Only contributing so there is a physical barrier between me and
his perma-frown the grumpy sod.
The argument over ownership of a fence and which side the posts are on is outdated and rubbish tbh.
Many fences now don't even have posts on one side- concrete posts like ours are in between panels.
Your house deeds / land registry docs are supposed to show ownership on the boundary lines.
If not, it's usually deemed it's a party fence and you are 50% liable for upkeep.
If one neighbour 'takes control' and replaces it, then they have taken ownership in effect.
If it's THEIR fence you are not liable for any contribution. If they thought ivy was damaging it, they ought to have raised this BEFORE- not conveniently when the fence needs replacing.
ignore them but you might want to check your land registry docs if they show ownership of fencing.
I've read your update and in all honesty you are being very silly offering anything. It could cost him £1K to have long run of fencing fitted. Have you asked what it might cost you?
You have now become liable for the next payment when it falls down....
I'd retract your offer- it's HIS fence!
My neighbour let ivy grow to such an extent it broke the slats on the fence and it began to fall apart, bits blowing off, ivy can get heavy and push a fence over.
We don't know who owns the fences, there is no record of it, so we share the costs but I did explain that if the rest of the ivy wasn't kept in check the rest of the fence would fall into our garden. The problem is that when there is thick ivy on one side it looks fine, but the person on the other side of it might have the fence falling into their garden, like ours, it just leans over.
It might be weakened by ivy or not, and if the original ivy roots are on your side and none on theirs you might be better off sharing the cost and digging the ivy out.
The thing is, any overgrowing vegetation ought to be mentioned and dealt with long before there is damage.
There is a decent amount of ivy
due to allowing some ivy to have overgrown
Then probably he is right, the ivy is responsible. Ivy is very destructive. Is the panel completely covered in ivy? If it is, it most likely has damaged the panel itself (from the aerial roots) and the weight will be pulling it away from the fence posts. I have a lot of ivy in my garden and I have had it pull down (my own) fence panels several times. As PPs have said, legally you shouldn't be growing anything on the fence if it is his.
If the panel itself is damaged (split etc), then that almost definitely will be caused by the ivy and you should replace it. You will be able to see if stems/roots are going into the wood/gaps. If it has just fallen down, then it will probably be 90% down to the weight of the ivy too, 10% the wind.
We recently renovated our garden and asked our neighbour at the back if they’d be ok with us replacing some fence panels. They’re her fence panels, but our large rockery and loads of ivy had been up against the fence for years and when we removed it we saw the fence was completely rotten underneath. It looked awful from our aide but fine from hers. We asked if we could replace it and us pay for it as:
- it was us not maintaining it from our side that had damaged the fence
- the fence looked fine from her side
She said she would replace it and we didn’t need to pay as it’s her fence. She was very funny about it and wouldn’t accept any money. In the end I had to put money in an envelope through her door when she was out. She’s retired and I would have felt like we were taking advantage as yes it’s her fence, her responsibility, but it was our actions that caused it to need replacing.
If I were you I’d pay half if you can afford it, just to keep up good relations with your neighbour x
I agree retract your offer or you are setting a precedent. Tell him you’ve “taken advice” and leave him to fix his own blasted fence. Should he become angry suggest that he should consider paying for the damage HIS fence has done to your garden and stop being ridiculous.
I’ve just remembered our neighbours on the other side went half’s with us when we replaced that fence that was our responsibility too. It seems to be pretty standard where we are
Do you want a fence there? If so, either put up your own fence or contribute to your neighbors fence. You were probably well intended when calling to your neighbor this morning but to be fair to him he was probably still annoyed that the fence had blown down in the first place.
It was absolutely unacceptable of you to go round so early and so soon after it had happened, regardless of when you thought he was up.
You clearly are bothered about it despite your protestations as if you weren’t you wouldn’t have gone round.
Your ivy has contributed to the destruction of his fence, so yes, you should contribute to it being fixed.
Last year my fence blew down - I have to say I would have very annoyed of my neighbour had arrived at 9:30am to see what I was going to do about it😊.
You might have annoyed him and he lashed out with the ivy. It can rot a fence, my neighbours ivy is a big problem with my fence and I spend ages every summer pulling bits off.
Have a look on the gov.uk website for the law on fences. It is very clear.
Legally you are not supposed to grow or attach anything to someone else's fence (or wall) Of course in practice, people do this all the time. However, someone can ask you not to grow plants up their fence and legally you have to comply.
In order to get the money for the fence from you he really does have to prove the damage was caused by the ivy. In court this would mean providing a surveyors report or expert witness.
Fences cause a lot of problems with neighbours. I am moving house because of a stupid fucking fence.
Have a look on the garden law website as well.
One of my brothers' contributed to a neighbour's fence years ago in cash. The neighbours about 8 years later replaced the fence and my brother contributed nothing. The neighbours didn't ask.
If you give a contribution do it in cash and say clearly it is to maintain good relations as I am not liable in anyway for your fence. Then do as PPs said about not growing things on, right next to or attaching items to the fence.
Nobody is forcing you to do anything. Just say 'No'.
My neighbour said the ivy growing up his fence (on my side) was keeping it up!
We don't share costs - it could potentially lead to more trouble! eg "well old neighbour paid half last time...." do you pay for half of one panel or the whole fence?
"You've got ivy." "Well your shrub is pushing it." "It wasn't put up properly."
The whole point of ownership is to do away with all the arguments!
Why not phone your insurance company and tell them your neighbour will be claiming against them. They will quickly check if they need to pay.
I'm just offering as I'm quite honestly clueless. The few people I asked in RL (e.g brother, architect ex who used to live here) have told me to ignore him.
Why not phone your insurance company and tell them your neighbour will be claiming against them.
it's highly unlikely that a fence is covered by insurance.
I had cause to call our home insurance company today - not about fences- and, owing to the weather I assume- they have a recorded message saying do not expect to be paid for your fences if they have blown down as they do not insure fences.
Fences usually aren’t covered in house incurance.
He'd have to prove your shrub did damage- that would cost him a civil court. he's not going to do that. he ought to have spoken sooner so you had a chance to rectify it. If he is such a keen gardener he ought to have foreseen this damage coming, if it is your ivy.
He's not necessarily trying it on at all.
If you don't want to share costs with him tjough you could always put up your own fence...
You sound a very nice neighbour (which is basically your first problem as well as the solution).
You don’t need to pay for the fence if you don’t own it.
Were the fence standing, you would need to pay for any damage the ivy did to the fence.
In this case, that is moot since the damage was done by the wind (?). However, if you believe the ivy damaged the fence enough to bring the fence down in the wind, you need to pay for that % of damage.
Frankly, the ivy issue seems complete bullshit and your neighbour is a grump.
Legally, nobody has to have a fence - a piece of string would do the job of marking the boundary.
Fences tend to be paid for by those who want them most.
Neighbour had the whole thing taken down at the beginning of Summer and had it straightened/reinforced
So HE had no issue with the ivy at that time and knew that it DID NOT contribute to any problems with his fence.
If you're 'clueless' enough to pay him even a penny he will use that as an admission of guilt and accountability on your part - which leaves the door open for him to go after you for more.
Ignore him and don't play the 'clueless' game when you know none of this is your fault/responsibility.
I would suggest being nonchalant and saying you actually quite like the new open aspect....and you actually aren”t bothered about having a fence.
Willing to bet they soon deal with it!
If you want a fence covered by insurance, go to M&S,
If I had had a neighbour come to my house at 9.30 this morning (mid storm) they would have been categorised into the fecking bonkers group.
There’s no way the ivy wrecked the fence between last summer and now. We put up trellis last summer to cover a gap in the fence and trailed ivy over it, it’s still bloody empty! Nothing grew last summer, everything died. If he took down the fence and renovated it, it’s probably the work that’s done for it if he didn’t replace the posts. Do not offer to pay. What else will he ask you to pay for next? Retract any offer you may have already made.
When we moved here, part of our fence was only held up by ivy. All of the posts were completely rotten!
But, yeah, if he'd say noticed ivy forcing itself through, he could have communicated this to you, long ago. It's not like it will have grown much over the last 4 or 5 months.
I really don't understand why you went over to discuss the fence if you're not bothered if it is up or down. That seems so strange to me.
Our previous neighbours had ivy that wrecked the fence between us. They weren't bothered about and the deeds didn't clearly show who's boundary it was but we wanted to put cat proof netting on the top so we replaced it. DH successfully killed the ivy in the process so thankfully it hasn't grown back.
A couple of months worth of ivy shouldn't help bring down a reasonably sturdy fence. I have more like 10 years worth of growth and the fence is still standing when many of our neighbours have blown down in the recent winds. But it is a good, well built fence.
I wouldn't pay.
I really don't understand why you went over to discuss the fence if you're not bothered if it is up or down. That seems so strange to me
I initially went over to acknowledge/reassure my neighbour who was pottering in the garden since 7:00 (as usual). I saw it as my only opportunity as we rarely see each other during the week due to my long commute. I'm not bothered in the sense that I rarely use the garden and there's no rush but I would prefer the fence goes up in the next month or so for privacy reasons.
How are you being forced to pay for it?
Perhaps I'm exaggerating but my neighbour was pretty emphatic when he told me I'll have to pay to fix the fence. I told him I would think about it and get back to him.
I didn't discuss contributing 1/3. Will keep schtum for now. I'm sure he's itching to fix the fence asap.
(name changed as I was quite direct on the TERF thread, pointless now I suppose)
Personally I'd put the fence back in his garden and leave it. Don't offer any money. If he is garden proud he'll get pissed off before you do.
If you want him to put the fence back up, I think it’s only neighbourly to contribute.
I own the fences on both sides. I wouldn't dream of asking the neighbours to pay.
I was lucky as my neighbours fixed up (my) fence on their side after it was totally fucked up by their rapacious climbing plants.
I did know though that it was up to me ultimately though - if they'd not agreed to fix it, I'd probably have removed the fence altogether.
I'm not bothered in the sense that I rarely use the garden and there's no rush but I would prefer the fence goes up in the next month or so for privacy reasons.
So you're not really bothered, but you are bothered enough to be over there on a Sunday morning and expecting it up within the month?
I'm not bothered in the sense that I rarely use the garden and there's no rush but I would prefer the fence goes up in the next month or so for privacy reasons.
Again, if you want a fence for ‘privacy reasons’ either contribute to your neighbors fence or pay for your own fence.
The way I read it is you want a fence put up in the next month or so but not contribute or help.
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