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Neighbour let himself in our garden and started knocking on our patio door

(116 Posts)
Dontcomeinmygarden Wed 17-Apr-19 17:29:41

So. DH is in the shower. I’m upstairs. Ds is up and down. He comes and finds me and says ‘mummy, I think there is a man in our garden!’. I was thinking WTF and followed him downstairs to the garden door where indeed there was a man- my dopey neighbour standing staring in to our living room door. He had let himself in to our garden by putting his hand over the fence to unlock the gate, and decided to knock on our back door instead of going round the front and pressing the doorbell. I was really pissed off that he did that, I was walking round the house in my pjs and ds was panicked when he saw someone out there.

Turned out he just wanted to ask if we minded if he had a look at the guttering in case there was a blockage and needed to come our side a bit.

AIBU to be annoyed? My view of this might be a bit coloured by various other crap including them installing a set of drums in the kids bedroom, nicking a bit of our garden when they put the fence up, being offish and also him winking suggestively at me once just after I met him!

Nicknacky Wed 17-Apr-19 17:34:15

I would just tell him in future to use the front door.

DisplayPurposesOnly Wed 17-Apr-19 17:34:28

"Please come to the front door in future."

And a padlock on the back gate wink

Aquamarine1029 Wed 17-Apr-19 17:34:39

Why don't you just tell him to never let himself in your garden again? Who cares if he doesn't like it.

WhatchaMaCalllit Wed 17-Apr-19 17:37:24

YANBU to be annoyed.
I would have asked him WTF he thought he was doing entering your back garden without permission. I would have really lost my temper with him.

I'd also find a decent handyman fairly sharpish to put a better side gate with better locking mechanism so that he can't do that again.

Farmerswifey12 Wed 17-Apr-19 17:38:37

One of mine did something similar twice after being asked not to, I advised him not to as we have a dog and he wouldn't like a strange man coming into his space

Though in reality he'd probably have rolled onto his back for a tummy rub if he'd been out in the garden

WhatchaMaCalllit Wed 17-Apr-19 17:38:46

Also stop being such a pushover when it comes to this man. Stand your ground. Tell him that he needs to fix the fence so that you get your land back.

Inadvertentlybrilliant Wed 17-Apr-19 17:41:20

I'd probably have been so shocked that I would have gone ballistic at him. Definitely a padlock on the gate anyway but also insist that he rings the doorbell in future. Tell him it isn't on and that you or DH (or both wink) may have been in a state of undress.

peachgreen Wed 17-Apr-19 17:44:03

These threads are always full of MN warriors telling you to stand up for yourself, no is a complete sentence etc etc, but they're not the ones who have to then continue living next door to the person! For the sake of neighbourly relations I'd let it slide but if he does it again just say "could I ask you to use the front in future? It gives DS a bit of a fright to see someone in the garden unexpectedly."

RosamundDarnley Wed 17-Apr-19 17:46:31

Good job you're not Oscar Pistorius, eh! He wouldn't have been able to do that twice. I mean, around here no one thinks anything of just appearing at someone's back door when popping in, but we live in a teeny tiny village and everyone knows everyone else's business. Nice sometimes but sometimes a bit stifling.

You've really got to assert your boundaries with the neighbour.

flumpybear Wed 17-Apr-19 17:46:47

Just tell him nicely to use the front door as you're quite private people and don't want to have worries that somebody may able to see the family through the private windows ... as my DD Would day perhaps end it or start it with 'no offence ' wink

TheSecondMrsAshwell Wed 17-Apr-19 17:47:27

"could I ask you to use the front in future? It gives DS a bit of a fright to see someone in the garden unexpectedly."

This. Going bananas is not the way forward here - he probably didn't even think.

If he does it again, however, he leaves with a rake inserted into him.

Honeyroar Wed 17-Apr-19 18:06:52

Could you put a bolt lower down where he can't reach, or do you need to come in through that side?

MaybeitsMaybelline Wed 17-Apr-19 18:08:34

I would have said “bloody hell Fred, you nearly caught me naked and that wouldn’t have been good for either of us, ring the front bell in future will you.”

CircleofWillis Wed 17-Apr-19 18:10:49

Did you get your bit of garden back?

Monkeyssplit Wed 17-Apr-19 18:19:34

I don't get what he did wrong. It's like another world on here. He knocked on your back door and you freaked out? And responses indicate they too think this unacceptable. Back door knocking is commonplace where I live, especially from neighbours.

sonjadog Wed 17-Apr-19 18:20:42

My neighbour did this until I asked him not to. No need to lose your temper. Just say you don't want him doing that.

DishingOutDone Wed 17-Apr-19 18:37:25

My neighbour did this when he had dementia. Unless your neighbour needs extra patience due to a neurological condition I'd definitely be telling him where to go!

What did you say OP?

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Wed 17-Apr-19 18:47:48

Did you let him leave the fence over your boundary?!

Flyingaddict Wed 17-Apr-19 19:02:03

So what did he say when you told him not to do it again? Nothing probably because you didn’t tell him .

yorkshirecountrylass Wed 17-Apr-19 19:07:26

Wow. I'm actually amazed. And bl**dy glad to have a relationship with our next door neighbour in which it is perfectly acceptable for us to jump over each other's fence/retrieve an errant four legged friend/two legged child without worrying about infuriating each other! I'm only in my thirties so not quite from the days of everyone leaving their doors unlocked while they went on holiday but still!

CherryPlum Wed 17-Apr-19 19:07:55

That's incredibly rude, no way he should be doing that!

Do you have a bolt lower down on the gate? If not I'd get one put in anyway for home security reasons because you don't want people to be able to access the garden like that.

Chouetted Wed 17-Apr-19 19:08:52

I wouldn't think twice about this! Why is there a gate in the fence if you don't expect people to come through it? Completely and utterly normal.

It used to be that the front door was never used except for funerals and so on...

Just say it gave you a bit of a start and ask him not to do it again. problem solved.

Heidi82 Wed 17-Apr-19 19:12:38

YANBU at all! I'm afraid we've had issues like this with neighbours who have no boundaries and I've instantly addressed it without hesitation.

goodwinter Wed 17-Apr-19 19:12:45

Why is there a gate in the fence if you don't expect people to come through it?

Why have a front door if you're not willing to let people walk into your house whenever they want?

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Wed 17-Apr-19 19:17:57

Presumably the gate is next to the fence (leading to the front of the house) and in op’s own garden, not actually a section of the fence leading to next door?!

Chouetted Wed 17-Apr-19 19:21:20

@goodwinter That's a great example, actually - where I grew up most people had porches with two doors - so if I wanted to speak to a neighbour, I would have to open the front door, which was left unlocked, and knock on the internal, locked, door.

Buombalayo Wed 17-Apr-19 19:24:53

@Monkeyssplit where do you live?

Dontcomeinmygarden Wed 17-Apr-19 19:29:08

No we didn’t get our bit of garden back. They only took a few inches but they don’t give a shit and we didn’t think we’d have a leg to stand on. How do we prove that suddenly the fence is a bit nearer all our plants? We also didn’t get any contribution towards the callout guy I had to call when they flooded our garden. They’re arseholes.

longtimelurkerhelen Wed 17-Apr-19 19:32:43

YNBU This would really annoy me. Get a bolt for the middle of the door or a padlock for the top.

To those saying what is the problem, if you have to reach over and unlock a door, that means you do not want random people entering your private garden.

Keypot Wed 17-Apr-19 19:36:20

It's odd how this varies so much regionally and I wonder where the line is, so I or maybe it's a class thing as well as regional. Where my Gran lived (North/working class) it would have been very odd if anyone, other than the Queen, to go to the front door grin Here no-one uses the back door.

theWarOnPeace Wed 17-Apr-19 19:37:03

I would have lost my shit with him, YANBU.

AppleApplePie Wed 17-Apr-19 19:38:22

That’s appalling. I’d be furious OP! Often various states of undress 😂

Chouetted Wed 17-Apr-19 19:38:52

You have to reach over and unlock the gate leading to my front door, so that's a rubbish analogy. That's how many gate latches work.

If you want to avoid confusion, don't latch it, lock it. if you can operate it by reaching over, you haven't got a lock, you've got a latch or bolt.

riceuten Wed 17-Apr-19 19:39:20

I'd be mildly irritated, but I might want to do the same in the future, so I would keep my counsel !

Chouetted Wed 17-Apr-19 19:48:14

@Keypot My Gran not only never used the front door, the front room was only for visitors and was decorated with knick knacks in glass cabinets, and antimacassars on the armchairs. The back room was the main living area with TV, comfy sofa, etc.

starfishmummy Wed 17-Apr-19 19:48:29

Unless it's a terrace where everyone has right of access through a gate then make sure the locknisnt openable.

TheGrapefulDread Wed 17-Apr-19 19:57:07

Hasp and clasp lock and a padlock. Unless they have a right of way.

CripsSandwiches Wed 17-Apr-19 20:16:52

Why is there a gate in the fence if you don't expect people to come through it?

Presumably so OP and her family can use it! We have a side gate and no one uses it but us or people invited to use it by us (e.g. workman).

Steamedbadger Wed 17-Apr-19 20:18:43

Everybody around here does it. I don't because it seems rude to me to go into somebody's garden and peer into their windows, but they think I'm the weird one because I knock on the front door (which never even has a doorbell because nobody uses it). So I think it's just that some people think it's perfectly normal. Having said that, you obviously don't like the guy (with reason) so in that situation I'd definitely tell him not to come round the back.

Aquilla Wed 17-Apr-19 20:21:52

I take it you're in the South? It would be weird to come in the front imo - esp regarding an outdoor, maintenence type query?
Im always letting myself into my neighbours back gardens - same type of gate as you!

SarahAndQuack Wed 17-Apr-19 20:22:12

Well, he sounds like a dick, and it sounds as if it's not usual where you live.

However, it does very from place to place. When we moved (to rural Yorkshire) we had to get used to people not knocking on the front door but coming straight round the back, because here that is what you do. Anyone delivering something will do it, for example.

Chouetted Wed 17-Apr-19 20:23:49

@CripsSandwiches But that's not the case here - the neighbour put the fence up, it says so clearly in the OP.

It sounds to me like the gate connects the back garden of two neighbouring houses, so I would have assumed it was put in for some reason.

mydogisthebest Wed 17-Apr-19 20:25:58

I hate this. Me and DH lived in the South for over 40 years and never once had anyone walk up the back garden. We moved north last year and it seems just about everyone does this.

It really annoys both of us so we have put a padlock on the back gate. I think it is rude. We have a perfectly good front door.

Another thing is that no one ever uses the doorbell but bangs on the door. Neighbours, postman, delivery drivers (we get lots of deliveries) etc. That drives me mad especially as the dogs go mad

bobstersmum Wed 17-Apr-19 20:30:34

We have a padlock on our back gate.

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 17-Apr-19 20:38:39

He sounds like an idiot. I take it you had another thread about him stealing your land. If you want to prove the land is yours you would be able to employ a surveyor. But it would cost probably 1k for that and a report.

CherylCheshire Wed 17-Apr-19 20:39:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Sedona123 Wed 17-Apr-19 21:11:44

CherylCheshire - really??

OP - you don't have to be unpleasant to your neighbour, but stand your ground. When we moved in our new home a few years ago, one of our neighbours was a total CF. DH initially tried to "keep the peace", but after several incidents, we basically let her know (politely) what we didn't find acceptable. Way less problems since.

I think that until you let your neighbour know that you're not a total pushover, he will continue to be a CF.

longtimelurkerhelen Wed 17-Apr-19 21:18:04


You have to reach over and unlock the gate leading to my front door, so that's a rubbish analogy. That's how many gate latches work.

A bolt is a lock, if it is locked, don't take it upon yourself to unlock it. If it is just latched then help yourself. Really not difficult to understand, unless you are an entitled CF.

CherryPavlova Wed 17-Apr-19 21:24:56

It wouldn’t bother me at all. If he was looking at the gutters he may well have been in the back garden already. Our neighbours knock and walk in the house. We do likewise to them. It’s just accepted practice unless you’re a delivery person.

BrightYellowDaffodil Wed 17-Apr-19 21:43:19

In some places, you'd go to the back door once you knew someone. I get that that's quite an antiquated way of things, but for some it's normal.

That said, your neighbour sounds like an arse, particularly if they've already got form for nicking part of your garden. Going ballistic isn't going to help, mind, so I'd agree with the above posters who suggested something along the lines of "That gave DS a bit of a fright; can you use the front door in future?"

Then I'd get the locking arrangements for the gate changed so that no-one - neighbour or otherwise - can reach over and let themselves in. If neighbour can't do it, then it won't be a problem in future.

Dieu Thu 18-Apr-19 08:36:00

Are you certain he didn't try the front door first?
I'm not sure I could get too worked up about this. It's your neighbour, not a random stranger.

mydogisthebest Thu 18-Apr-19 10:26:16

I definitely think it's a regional thing. Seems very common in the north and no one seems to think it strange whereas in the south (well definitely London, Essex and Kent) it is not the done thing

Honeyroar Thu 18-Apr-19 10:29:41

I wish the OP would explain why there's a gate in the first place. People are clearly confused. If he has a right of way he's entitled to open the gate, whether there's a bolt or not.

sueelleker Thu 18-Apr-19 10:32:38

We live in a terrace house, with an alleyway between us and our neighbours. We had to put a padlock on the back gate to stop their kids just wandering into our garden,

PregnantSea Thu 18-Apr-19 10:40:12

I know the moment has passed now but this is the sort of thing you need to address at the time. I wouldn't mention it in a future chat. If he does it again I would immediately say to him that he needs to knock on the front door and not to let himself into the garden.

Also agree with others that you get a padlock for your back gate. If he can stroll into your back garden then so could anyone else confused

EvelineUK Thu 18-Apr-19 10:46:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 10:52:59

of course it's bloody rude and intrusive!

Front gate and front door are on the street side, for the whole word to see and walk pass - so many houses tend to protect their privacy with shutters, or blinds.

Back doors, back garden are on the private side of the house, where you leave your doors and windows open.

It would be just as rude to walk in someone's house as it is to walk in their back garden uninvited. I would be extremely pissed off if someone was walking on me when I am in the privacy of my own home, in my underwear or however I feel like being.

MsChicken Thu 18-Apr-19 11:03:06

He's been watching to many repeats of The Good Life! Extra bolt out of reach and ask him if he minds using the front door. If you think he's actually being a bit weird a fake security camera trained on the back gate (did this years ago with pervy bloke who lived in the house next door who had some boundary issues)

AryaStarkWolf Thu 18-Apr-19 11:05:34

hhhmm, I mean he's trying to do you a favour too by unblocking the gutters so I would be ok with it tbh

LillithsFamiliar Thu 18-Apr-19 11:09:47

This wouldn't have bothered me at all. I wonder if, as Keypot says it's a class or regional difference.

JaneJeffer Thu 18-Apr-19 11:15:09

If you lived in Ireland they would have just walked straight in to your kitchen. No gawping through windows here grin

MsChicken Thu 18-Apr-19 11:23:34

I think it's as much a 'how well you know your neighbours' thing. First time we met neighbour at the old place was when he was letting himself into the garden on a whim.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Thu 18-Apr-19 11:26:36

I can’t understand why if it’s not the norm for anyone you wouldn’t just give them a confused face and ask them why they’ve come round the back and not the front?! I appreciate not want to antagonise but it’s a simple, direct question.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 11:29:21

I would be quite shocked that a normal adult needs to be told that it's not acceptable to waltz in someone's private space without warning. What's next? making themselves a cup of tea in your kitchen? What would he do if you were in the middle of sex with your partner?

MRex Thu 18-Apr-19 11:29:58

You're ridiculous for letting him steal some of your land, why on earth would you not get a solicitor to sort that out? Land registry has maps with the deeds.

As for knocking on the back door, just ask him to use the front and get a new lock for the back gate, you don't need to make it a big deal unless he won't stop.

RottnestFerry Thu 18-Apr-19 11:39:41

It wouldn't/doesn't bother me either.

Perfectly normal practice where I live. No reply from the front, try the back door or the garden.

AryaStarkWolf Thu 18-Apr-19 11:41:57

I have to hold my hands up and admit I didn't read the last paragraph of your OP when I first posted, if that's the case I'd probably be annoyed aswell and you should definitely mention the fence and get them to move it off your land

Purplecatshopaholic Thu 18-Apr-19 11:51:30

My neighbours are fabulous - but none of us would go into each others back gardens without asking. I have locks on my gate anyway (nothing to do with the neighbours, just want to be safe). Assuming you want to keep good relations, just be casual about asking him not to do it again. Going ballistic is not helpful

thecatsthecats Thu 18-Apr-19 12:12:28

I'm so glad the access to the back houses is non reciprocal. The last owners of ours built our conservatory right against the access, so if our neighbours ever tried this they'd come face to face with a shut door.

I wander around the house naked too much to be doing with people in the back garden!

Laiste Thu 18-Apr-19 12:30:15

I'm sure peering in through windows isn't regional!

Sounds like the OP has glass patio doors an that's what neighbor was peering into. Right into the house. Not quite the same as just knocking on the back door instead of the front and simply leaving if there's no answer.

People knocking on my front door and then trying to peer in through the window gives me the rage. It's rare - but it happens. I haven't answered the door to you .... live with it and bugger off!!

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 12:57:26

my kids would call the cops if they see someone lurking in the garden - it might be totally innocent, but I'd rather they are safe and things get explained later.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 13:59:02

Even if it was the neighbour chapping the door? Hardly lurking and that would be a complete over reaction.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 14:26:41

calling the police is exactly what you should do when you see a trespasser!

CostanzaG Thu 18-Apr-19 14:32:14

Wow. What an overreaction! Totally normal behaviour where I'm from.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 14:38:25

Babuchak It’s her next door neighbour. Not an unknown trespasser.

CostanzaG Thu 18-Apr-19 14:53:46

Babu it's her neighbour not a complete stranger!!

HennyPennyHorror Thu 18-Apr-19 14:53:47

None of this "could I ask you..."

TELL him.

He's chancing his arm. Pushing boundaries. Seeing how much you're prepared to put up with.

Put something on the gate to stop him entering that way again and tell him personally or in a note "Do not enter my garden again...I have security cameras and if I catch you on my land I will call the police"

HennyPennyHorror Thu 18-Apr-19 14:54:48

Costanza where are you from? Balamory?

CostanzaG Thu 18-Apr-19 15:01:18

A village in the north of England. My neighbour just brought my wheelie bin back into my back garden. He didn't ask and didn't need to.
Totally normal round here.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 15:28:10

it's her neighbour not a complete stranger!!

even if my kids did recognise my neighbour, they are still be told to call the police if a grown-up man suddenly pops at the window when they are home alone.

How would you feel if you come home to see a male grown-up neighbour having a word with your teen daughter in her underwear? Unless there's a genuine emergency, there's no valid reason for trespassing onto other people's property.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 15:31:48

Babuchak If your kids can’t be at home alone without having to phone the police when someone comes to the door, then they are not old enough or mature enough to be left.

And why would your daughter answer the door in her underwear?

The police are not there to vet visitors to your door and will tell you it’s not a police matter.

Benes Thu 18-Apr-19 15:31:53

How would you feel if you come home to see a male grown-up neighbour having a word with your teen daughter in her underwear?

That's not what happened here though is it? That is a whole other issue.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 15:36:47

when someone comes to the door, then they are not old enough or mature enough to be left.

And why would your daughter answer the door in her underwear?

we are not talking about someone at the front door, are you reading the thread?

We are talking about a neighbour walking into someone's back garden and tapping on the patio door. In my house, and many others, that means trespassing, walking past the bay windows/french doors and have a full view of the inside of the house.

My daughter is perfectly entitled to be in her underwear in the privacy of her own home. If someone trespass, that's what the police is for.

If I find someone in my kitchen or in my bedroom, I would call the cops too.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 15:41:10

I didn’t say front door, I said “door”. The back door is a door.

And your daughter can obviously wear what she wants in the house, but would she really answer the door to the postie or window cleaner just in her underwear?

And trespass is a civil matter in England if I recall so not a police matter. Finding someone in your bedroom is clearly a matter for the police.

We really need to start educating the public about the misuse of police resources and the telephone system.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 15:43:57

but would she really answer the door to the postie or window cleaner just in her underwear?

the postie and window cleaner ring the door bell of our FRONT door.
We are talking about neighbour letting themselves in and tapping on the PATIO door.

Can't you see the difference, really? I don't live in a bunker, my back door and side doors are definitively not the same as our front door.

Rottencooking Thu 18-Apr-19 15:44:32

Our neighbours knock and walk in the house. We do likewise to them

Like fuck would I ever be part of such an arrangement! Christ

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 15:44:59

that's exactly what the police is for!

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 15:45:13

It’s still not a police matter. You were the one that introduced your teen daughter in underwear to the thread which was random.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 15:46:43

babuchak No it’s not. Take a wild guess at what I’ve been doing for a living for nearly 17 years?

It’s not a police matter for a neighbour to come to a door that isn’t the front door.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 15:50:27

You were the one that introduced your teen daughter in underwear to the thread which was random.

why random? It could be any of us in their underwear, the back garden is private and if you come and have a look through our patio doors you will intrude our privacy and see what is none of your business.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 15:52:09

I don't know where you live, but there are constant reminders around here to call the police every single time you see someone in your back garden - usually low life coming to steal stuff!

If it happens to be innocent, the police can sort it out, it's not up to my kids to have to guess who is legit and who isn't.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 15:54:24

Yes, but not a neighbour who has chapped a door or window!

And if your kids have to phone the police because someone comes to the door then they are not mature enough to be left.

Even my 11 year old can manage that.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 16:00:24

it's not the door...

can't you really see the difference between a front door and a patio door which is exactly the same as walking into your home uninvited?

I haven't got such issues anyway, the dogs would take care of everything grin

I still teach my kids (and my mother!) to call the cops when someone trespass, it's safer.

Benes Thu 18-Apr-19 16:03:56

can't you really see the difference between a front door and a patio door which is exactly the same as walking into your home uninvited?

it really isn't.

Calling the police because someone ( and in this case someone you KNOW!!) is a massive over reaction.

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 16:06:16

And the police will tell you it has nothing to do with them that the neighbour has chapped a door (no matter what door it is)

BackforGood Thu 18-Apr-19 16:06:46

MN is never going to agree on this - it depends on where / how you've been brought up and your relationship with your neighbours.
I don't float around the house naked, and I've never had neighbours that I didn't get on with so I wouldn't have an issue with this.
I realise you will never convince a lot of MNer that this is a normal thing to do though.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 16:09:49

And the police will tell you it has nothing to do with them that the neighbour has chapped a door

bollocks, if you call the police to tell them there's a man standing on your patio, they come.

If you call them to tell them there's a man standing in front of your front door, they'd tell you not to open the door if you're that worried grin grin grin

Nicknacky Thu 18-Apr-19 16:16:36

If you phone and tell them it’s your neighbour (which is what the thread is about, after all) they will politely tell you to piss off

RottnestFerry Thu 18-Apr-19 17:45:43

I still teach my kids (and my mother!) to call the cops when someone trespass, it's safer

With a few exceptions, trespass is a civil matter. The police wouldn't be interested.

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