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Shared Garden Etiquette

(16 Posts)
matchstickwoman Sun 27-Dec-15 11:27:04

I recently bought a ground floor flat in a converted victorian house, there are four other flats in the building with a large shared garden. When I viewed the flat before purchase the flat above me was empty. The large garden is lovely and one of the reasons I chose to purchase the flat. Since completing and moving in the flat above has become occupied on a rented basis, the landlord is also the freeholder.
The tenants of the flat above have two young children. Since moving in they have slowly filled the garden with a large number of bright multi colour large plastic toys, most of which look like they have been found in a skip. This includes a large plastic climbing frame and slide.
I think they are an ugly eyesore and spoil what is a lovely garden. They are a constant irritation as I see them from my living room and kitchen windows.
Am I being unreasonable to ask the tenant above to remove the toys?

Palomb Sun 27-Dec-15 11:30:38

Of course. It isn't your garden. It is a shared garden. If you want to dictate what happens in the garden then you would need to buy a house with a private garden.

Kids toys are ugly, there's no getting away from that. I'd rather not have them In my garden, or the trampoline, or the bikes but that's life isn't it.

matchstickwoman Sun 27-Dec-15 11:35:34

Hi Palomb, thanks for your reply, however couldn't I use the same reasoning for as well as against?

It is a shared garden, not private, so what right have they to take it over with all their toys? Shouldn't they look for a house with a private garden if they want to fill it up with their private belongings, rather than inflict them on everyone else?

WickedWax Sun 27-Dec-15 11:37:50

Is there anything written down anywhere about the garden, reasonable enjoyment, who can furnish it, etc?

I don't think you can ask them to remove the toys. How about some bamboo screening to hide them from your view? I suppose you could have a word with the landlord but I don't think you'll get far with this.

Inmybackyard Sun 27-Dec-15 11:38:08

Have you checked what your lease says?

Their approach is anti social and I suspect they've decided that children should trump everyone else's wishes.

To be honest I don't think shared gardens work, much better to get the freeholder to divide it into plots.

Inmybackyard Sun 27-Dec-15 11:39:38

For a more practical solution, you could suggest they buy one of those garden storage units. All toys to go in it after play and anything that doesn't fit is deemed too large for a communal garden.

matchstickwoman Sun 27-Dec-15 11:47:35

I checked the lease, in fact it says children are not allowed to play in the garden! It also has a section saying that no one is allowed to obstruct common areas with personal belongings etc.

Bamboo screening would work if the toys were in one section but they are all over the garden.

There is ample room to put all the toys except the large plastic climbing frame toys at the side of the house (out of eyesight). I did move them once when I mowed the lawn but next day they were put back across the garden.

Ironically, when the kids are in the garden they never seem to play with any of the toys anyway, I've never seen them anywhere near the climbing frame.

Inmybackyard Sun 27-Dec-15 11:50:57

I checked the lease, in fact it says children are not allowed to play in the garden! It also has a section saying that no one is allowed to obstruct common areas with personal belongings

Well problem solved. Honestly, discussion ends here.

matchstickwoman Sun 27-Dec-15 11:59:50

I realize I could refer to the lease but I don't object to the children playing in the garden, and I don't want to be create ill feeling with my new neighbour.
I used this forum as a sounding board to see if I am being unreasonable, I don't think I am, but I suspect the neighbours will be pissed off if I suggest they move the toys anyway!

NicoleWatterson Sun 27-Dec-15 12:12:28

I think you need an awkward conversation about the toys being put away after play, I don't think it's unreasonable in a shared garden. I'd have also asked you if it was ok to put the climbing frame in a shared garden.

If it's rented though you don't know what the landlord has said about the garden.

Inmybackyard Sun 27-Dec-15 12:13:19

Of course they'll be pissed off. Their behaviour suggests they are thoughtless people. They were also possibly mislead in letting the flat and don't realise children shouldn't be in the garden.

Remember it is a shared garden. It's not just about what you're prepared to tolerate but everyone in the building. They might not be bothered by anything or they might want the terms of the lease followed.

JE1234 Sun 27-Dec-15 12:15:25

Could you go to the landlord rather than the tenant and ask them to address the issue? It's not really your problem if they are breaching terms of the lease.

southeastastra Sun 27-Dec-15 12:16:25

it's a bit grim to put that children can't play in the garden at all. that's ridiculous!

ghnocci Sun 27-Dec-15 12:20:31

I think yabu. You say the big garden was what attracted you to the property - I expect they felt the same with children.

If you didn't realise until now they're not supposed to be playing out there then it's reasonable to assume neither did they.

This is part and parcel of living in a flat with communal areas I'm afraid. We share our garden with downstairs so I know what it's like.

TotalConfucius Sun 27-Dec-15 12:21:29

Is it possible to discuss with the landlord dividing the garden up according to how many flats in the building. If your section could run alongside your living room and kitchen windows then you could fence/screen off your view of the toys, and use that section as your own space.
I understand what it says in the lease but tbh (and taking into account you don't on principle object to the children playing) I'd try to be flexible. If you could say to the landlord something along the lines 'I know I could try to enforce the lease but I don't want to, if you allow me to fence off the area 15ft along my windows 10ft out from my windows then I'd be perfectly happy' or so,ethics along those lines, then you could have a nice more private garden.

matchstickwoman Sun 27-Dec-15 12:43:33

Thanks for all your replies, it is great to get so many opinions.

I really don't mind sharing a garden, I have no issue with the children using the garden and I would never force the terms of the lease and stop the children from using the garden. I just want them to move the toys when they have finished and leave the garden tidy.

The landlord is the freeholder, who actually owns over 200 properties and employs a managing agent to mange all the let flats. In my experience the managing agent is very 'hands off' so I'm not sure he will want to get involved. I suggest a storage box at the side of the house, and also suggest that anything too big to fit in be removed.

Thanks again for the responses, it has been helpful x

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