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Forced to pay for neighbour's blown down fence

(90 Posts)
Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 09:54:19

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.

SoupDragon Sun 10-Mar-19 10:42:18

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.

AdobeWanKenobi Sun 10-Mar-19 10:43:14

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.

Jupiters Sun 10-Mar-19 10:54:32

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.

GabriellaMontez Sun 10-Mar-19 10:56:36

Let the dog wander into his garden? eggsandwich
Irresponsible and unneighbourly.

And what if the dog wanders through his garden and onto the road?

americandream Sun 10-Mar-19 10:57:51


Oooh, I'm on the fence here. (See what I did there!) grin

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!' shock grin

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?) blush Because that may change things a bit.

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:02:16

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.

Mummyoflittledragon Sun 10-Mar-19 11:02:38

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.

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:03:32

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.

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:07:53

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.

Billballbaggins Sun 10-Mar-19 11:08:00

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.

chickywoo Sun 10-Mar-19 11:08:53

It's his fence, blown down by the wind, he'll have to deal with.

Howzaboutye Sun 10-Mar-19 11:09:04

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.

ideasofmarch Sun 10-Mar-19 11:09:16

It would have to be one heck of a lot of rampant ivy to bring the fence down.

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:10:01

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.

AmIRightOrAMeringue Sun 10-Mar-19 11:12:50

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

americandream Sun 10-Mar-19 11:15:43

That's nice of you to offer a third @Tarr smile

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. flowers

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:19:15

The ivy has definitely not gone through the panels, just over the top. It was pretty well constructed.

JacquesHammer Sun 10-Mar-19 11:21:37

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.

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:23:50

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.

FamilyOfAliens Sun 10-Mar-19 11:25:01

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.

filka Sun 10-Mar-19 11:27:01

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

Notverygrownup Sun 10-Mar-19 11:27:14

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

bevelino Sun 10-Mar-19 11:27:40

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.

Tarr Sun 10-Mar-19 11:32:15

Only contributing so there is a physical barrier between me and his perma-frown the grumpy sod.

JinglingHellsBells Sun 10-Mar-19 11:33:08

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.

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