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Fence bastards (with diagram)

(40 Posts)
burritofan Mon 17-Feb-20 14:29:39

I live in a terraced house. Gardens are long and narrow. I own the fence to the left, which is ancient, a crap DIY job originally (posts not concreted in or anything), covered in ivy, and largely came down in Storm Ciara, into my neighbour's garden.

I spoke to my neighbour to apologise for my fence landing in their garden, got permission to go onto their land, removed it all, and piled up the detritus as best I could given the garden was already full of garden waste from hacking back loads of ivy, brambles and years of neglect.

On the right, the fence is owned by the neighbouring property to the right. The house is owned by a housing association notorious for neglecting repairs, ignoring tenants and generally being crap. Two panels of their fence are upright, in the side return. Beyond that, one third of it overhangs most of my garden. The remaining two thirds came down in the storm. It's still there, a week+ later.

I had a fence guy out to quote the day after Storm Ciara, when we could still access the rear of the garden to measure up by walking along the housing association fence. It's rained so heavily since then that their fence is simultaneously beyond repair and too dangerous to walk on (no other route to the patio at the back), yet also still too intact and heavy to lift up and back to their land.

Housing association say it will take them "at least" four weeks to get round to repairing (it's beyond repair), they won't give me an exact date "for data protection" (never mind that I'll be able to look out of my kitchen window and see them retrieving it – the cat will be out of the bag! Possibly the same cat that's taken to shitting on it), nor clarify whether they'll repair or replace. I've sent photos but all their responses indicate they plan to just prop it up. Technically not my business what a neighbour does with their fence, up until the point it's in or overhanging my garden!

Our fence guy has given his quote based on being able to move around the garden and do the work, and destroy our old fence on site by burning it on the patio. Which we can't get to. No room for assembling a fence either (it's all got to be built in situ because getting panels through a terrace is a pain in the bum) because the entire garden is covered in fence. Fence fence fence.

So we made an offer to the HA: we'll pay for a new fence, same style, on the boundary line, they can have the good side, we'll take on responsibility for all maintenance from now on. We'll even pay for the labour to retrieve their knackered old fence from our garden and return it to their land. The only thing we won't pay for is waste disposal.

Their CF response: "if you install a new fence, waste disposal of the old becomes your responsibility". Even though they'd need to dispose of it anyway!

AIBU to think they should be biting my arm off at this offer? Free 20m of 6ft fencing, posts concreted in place, all maintenance taken care of, all they need to do is a quick tip run. And in the meantime their fucking fence is in my garden, not paying rent and demanding cups of tea. Bastards.

Ric2013 Fri 29-May-20 11:36:40

Hi, not sure this has much to do with your original question, but alarm bells rang when I read that your contractor will burn the old fence.

You seem like a nice and reasonable person, so I wonder whether you have considered that your old fence may be treated timber which shouldn't be burnt at all, and will likely be too wet to burn cleanly? Unless you live in the south of France, not the green and pleasant lands of typical British weather lol.

Wet or damp wood makes all sorts of toxic chemicals when burnt, and I have personal experience of sitting at home with my eyes streaming and feeling like I can't breathe when someone in my road decides the best way of disposing of unseasoned wood is to burn it. Please don't let this be you!

Noeuf Tue 18-Feb-20 10:07:04

Is there really no access from the rear? No right of way across the back or through a garden? I'm really surprised, did you check your deeds thoroughly?

I've lived in a few terraces and always either had complete piss takers grouping through my garden or been able to do the same/use a path at the back.

GladAllOver Tue 18-Feb-20 10:03:05

Your fence man wants to burn all that fencing on the patio? That's crazy. He sounds a right bodger - I wouldn't trust him to put up my fence.

marashino Tue 18-Feb-20 10:00:56

Ridiculous of them. Leave the fence in their garden, and you have the good side!

theswordthatdangles Tue 18-Feb-20 09:46:50

I am so sorry that you are experiencing this. I keep shoving my neighbour's fence back over to their side. Unfortunately it is hanging on to the post by just three twisted pieces of wood. I can't wait until they break through and I can shove the whole thing over their bushes, instead of it leaning on everything my side of the fence.

I would go for the fence pushing party option personally, because that's the type of person I am. Once it's back on the HA property the neighbours will probably complain enough that they do something about it. Although with the number of shoddy fences they are likely to be dealing with, it might take a while.

crowsfeet57 Tue 18-Feb-20 08:28:50

The HA will have literally thousands of calls about fences after the recent storms. They cannot tell you when they are going to do a repair on your neighbour's property, they can only tell your neighbour who can tell you if they want.

You should also bear in mind that legally there doesn't need to be a fence at all and at least one HA is no longer replacing dividing fences on its properties.

LIZS Mon 17-Feb-20 19:04:02

It has to go through your house if there is no side/rear access, one at a time if needs be. Ywbu to burn fence panels, they are treated and give off toxins.

burritofan Mon 17-Feb-20 19:00:53

Thank you for all suggestions! To answer some points:

We’ve just moved to the area a month ago so don’t have a friendship network nearby to help. We do need a housewarming, though, so perhaps a fence-pushing party can be it!

The ivy-ruined fence is mine; the HA fence is ivy-free.

It’s had trellis attached all the way along which is why it’s a bugger to lift/move/break down, as the trellis is in ok condition and holding it all together.

Can’t use our insurance legal cover as we’re using that for something else!

Accept IABU in terms of time/patience as HA will have 100s of post-storm issues to sort. It’s just frustrating not to be able to get an answer (we tried phoning but it’s all automated) and I do think they’re being CF in response to our offer.

And fully accept IABU in burning it! It was what Mr Fence suggested as there's no chance of a skip outside and no side access so it's a lot of fence to drag through the house. However our fence has been so eaten by ivy it’s not quite the dramatic 20m of fence bonfire conflagration you’d imagine; more a bin fire. However I will rethink this aspect and ask our fence guy for a new plan. How many times can I use the word "fence" in one post.

Thank you for the diagram appreciation. I know the rules.

Howgreenwasmyvalley Mon 17-Feb-20 18:28:16

My HA doesn't repair fences anymore, it's up to the tenant.

BorryMum Mon 17-Feb-20 16:30:53

I used to work for a HA. If you think about how many houses they look after, how many fences the houses have and how many will have been damaged in the storm you will see that is the problem. They probably don’t have enough people to go round collecting the fences and also would have to draw up an agreement about you paying for the fence. When they are running around after everyone shouting that their fences are down they don’t have time to think about it. Give them a bit more time since the storm and you might get a bit more sense out of them.

cookiemonster5 Mon 17-Feb-20 16:17:56

The HA isn't Sanctuary is it?

HopeYouStepOnALego Mon 17-Feb-20 16:06:14

Excellent diagram by the way OP!

HopeYouStepOnALego Mon 17-Feb-20 16:05:54

Tell the housing association that it's causing a dangerous hazard in your garden and if you should trip on the fencing and fall and hurt yourself (or any visitor) then you'll be suing the arse off them, so it's in their best interest to remove it before any accidents occur.

SoupDragon Mon 17-Feb-20 15:53:38

Get friends round for a fence pushing party - drinks, some nibbles, Push It by Salt n Pepa on repeat.. job's a good 'un.

HopefullyAnonymous Mon 17-Feb-20 15:51:55

Love the labelling of the diagram grin

user15783478064 Mon 17-Feb-20 15:44:15

I know this doesn't help, but I like your sense of humour.

alreadytaken Mon 17-Feb-20 15:39:55

It's continued presence is a trespass on your land. Initially blowing over may have been negligent if not properly maintained but failure to action the obstruction promptly could mean it's an intentional trespass. You could try advising them that if not removed from your land within 7 days you will charge them rent of £30 per day thereafter.

Or tell them they are committing a criminal offence under Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 by obstructing a lawful activity on land. The way I read the Act (I'm not a lawyer) it is aimed at people not fences - but they might not want to fight a claim.

Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer, you may wish to post under legal.

Greenkit Mon 17-Feb-20 15:36:29

I would get a load of people to help put it back on their side. I def would not pay for their side to be done CF

goingoverground Mon 17-Feb-20 15:24:09

Maybe the HA association might be more willing to negotiate and faster to act if you remind them that it is dangerous and has damaged your garden and you will be pursuing them for loss of use of your garden for the period it remains in situ and for restoration of any damage to your garden caused by the fence lying there for weeks.

Although whose ivy is it that has damaged the fence? If it is yours, they might try to pursue you for the cost of replacing the fence, which is likely to be whole lot more than using your own contractor.

Mummyshark2018 Mon 17-Feb-20 15:17:08

When our neighbours fence was destroyed a few years back- their house HA, ours owner occupied they said 2 years! As it wasn't causing an obstruction to a public highway. We had not long got a dog and couldn't leave it like that so paid 3.5k to get it fixed. Now the other side (our side) needs fine 😳

Mummyme1987 Mon 17-Feb-20 15:15:52

To! Obviously that will just get their attention. Don’t really claim.

Mummyme1987 Mon 17-Feb-20 15:15:01

Tell them you fell over it and it’s caused you an injury and you wish to file a claim for injury. As they knew it was down but not fixed it then that makes them liable. As them who to send the claim too?

Deelish75 Mon 17-Feb-20 15:07:27

They should not be leaving it there like that. Photograph it, then email it to your local councillors (maybe even your MP if you get no joy) telling them it is intruding on your land and they need to deal with it ASAP.

MummySharn Mon 17-Feb-20 15:06:59

YABU to burn it

MereDintofPandiculation Mon 17-Feb-20 15:06:08

Do you have legal protection in conjunction with your buildings insurance? Might be time to invoke it? (Although that might leave you with a dispute that you have to declare when you sell).

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