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Does the wording in this letter to my tennant sound ok

(36 Posts)
saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 10:12:32

Dear X

It has come to our attention that the fence which seperates our garden from those used by numbers 52,54,56,and58 X street has been taken down, leaving a large open garden, which is being used by everyone who lives there.
At no time were we asked if the fence could be removed, and we never gave permission for it to be tkaen down.
I would appreciate if you could let us know who did remove it.
yours etc Saltire

The background it this.
Our house is an upper terrace, old style terrace house made into 2 houses. Our house share the garden with numbers 60,64 and 66. For reasons unkown our share of the garden is the largest.
The houses next door, numbers 52,54,56,and 58 also have a similar set up. There is a fence which goes down the middle,which seperates the four gardens in which mine is, with the ones next door, this fence runs alongside our share of the garden.
Someone has removed the fence, removed 2 of my washing poles and put up a great big hanging basket display. All the people in all 8 houses seem to have the run of the place.
As I said int eh eltter we were never asked if we were ok with it. Also I know there is a ruling or law or somesuch that states if ground is used by people over a period of time then it becomes theirs!
We are planning on moving back there sometime in the next 18 months, and want our garden for our use

WilfSell Fri 01-Aug-08 10:19:52

I think your letter sounds fine. Not a lawyer, but I think in England (are you in Scotland?) the law is that a boundary stays in perpetuity and runs with the land ownership... But you probably need someone who really knows: have you consulted your solicitor?

MrsTittleMouse Fri 01-Aug-08 10:21:12

Speaking as a tenant here - I would imagine that your tenants would like to have the sole use of the garden too, and wouldn't have taken down the fence themselves. I would ask them if they know who removed it, rather than hinting that they do know and just haven't told you (which is how it comes across).

Just a thought - couldn't you just talk to the neighbours yourself, let them and the tenants know that you're putting the fence back up and that it isn't to be removed?

saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 10:21:59

The house is in Scotland. I have consulted with the solicitor, he said "Well if your tennant is ok about it, then just leave it, you can always change it back again"hmm

saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 10:25:48

Mrs TM - I live a 7 hour drive away, and don't really know any of the neighbours now. My mum asked a friend of hers, whose house overlooks the back garden of ours, and she said that there was a man there who ahs bought the house under ours (which he rents out). She also said that he has been doing our garden, cutting the grass, planting things etc. Also,its hard to describe this, but to get into the garden you have to come out the house, and round the back. There are 2 gates, one into our set of 4,a nd one into the other set of 4. Someone has paved all this area, taken down the gates, and apparently it was the man who has the house under ours. He also removed the washing poles - so instead of 4, there are now 2.

Freckle Fri 01-Aug-08 10:28:53

Instead of "We would appreciate ....", I would say "We would be grateful if you could advise if you know who removed the fence and washing poles and for what purpose. Obviously the garden is for the sole use of the occupier of xx house and, without a clear boundary, others could be trespassing without realising it."

It's not fair that you should be landed with the cost of replacing the fence if you didn't remove it, so you need to know who did remove it. If your tenant is aware, you could then have your solicitor write a letter to the perpetrator requiring them to replace the fencing at their own cost.

saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 10:37:06

I have reworded it as follows

It has come to our attention that the fence which divides our (number 62) share of the garden from those belonging to numbers 52,54,56 and 58 has been removed. It has also been pointed out to us that a washing pole belonging to us has also been removed.

We would be grateful if you could advise us who moved the fence and washing poles and for what purpose. We, as owners of number 62 and it’s garden, were never asked if we agreed to this. The garden belonging to number 62 is for the sole use of the occupants of the house. Other people could be trespassing and not realise. The removal of the washing pole could be construed as theft.

Or is the last bit about the washing pole a bit much?

WilfSell Fri 01-Aug-08 10:40:11

Sounds like you also need to address the letter to the neighbour underneath you? Perhaps he is misunderstanding the legal boundaries? I'd gently enquire and then get your solicitor to write him a letter because it sounds like he's taking the piss...

saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 10:45:30

Wilf - I want to get a definate name before I ask the solicitor to get involved. As far as I know, the man who bought the house under ours rents it out to young woamn with a child.
My mum had gone round - on my say so, for a look, and had taken my 6ft 7 brother with her. My brother stood out the way talking to someone and mum went into the garden. The man from (she thinks) underneath was there and asked her "what do you want". To which she replied "this is my daughters garden, only it appears to ahve been made into a public space". he got very shouty towards mum, and hten my brother appeared. he shut up then and siad "well tell your daughter that if she puts the fence back she had better not put it up on my part of the land"

Tortington Fri 01-Aug-08 10:47:52

contact shelter - they advise landlords too.

MrsTittleMouse Fri 01-Aug-08 11:28:02

Oh dear, so it sounds as though the man underneath has been causing all the trouble. I would direct the letter to him I think - perhaps with a copy of documentation that marks out where the boundary really is. I'd keep copies of everything that you send. If he gets shirty then you can bring the solicitor in. If there is the ruling about the land becoming common ground, then it'll be good to have a record that your objections were raised right at the start.

saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 11:31:11

I want to find out for definate if it was the owner of the house underneath who took down the fence. That's why i decided to write to my tennant first, to see if she can give me a name. Surely she must have seen it ahppen? I don't know why she didn't feel the need to tell us thoughhmm.
I am sending a copy of the letter to my solicitor, who also acts as the agent for renting, so it will be on file. DH said Is hould jsut ring the tennant, but this way, it's on record isn't it?

MrsTittleMouse Fri 01-Aug-08 11:37:23

Maybe she is scared of the shouty man too.

zazen Fri 01-Aug-08 11:45:45

I feel your letter sounds a bit off TBH. Perhaps a more chatty tone would be better - maybe ask her how she is? I have always had great relationships with my landlords, because we see each other as people first.
Is there a clause in your agreement that she has to let you know about your property? Or does she just have to give you access for the upkeep.

Your tenant and you need to sort out some communication issues you have - a terse and rude letter like this will not help IMO, more likely to frighten your tenant and reinforce her belief that you are not interested in her or her life and how she actually finds it living in her home.

And maybe you're not very interested in her, and that's Ok if you're OK with that, but then I can't see why you are upset she doesn't snitch on her neighbours to you - she lives next to them, not you.

Earlybird Fri 01-Aug-08 11:54:57

How long has the fence been down? Was the fence in poor condition? How did you find out the fence had been removed?

I would think your tenant would be as concerned as you because the garden is part of the private space she is entitled to use as renter.

I would also, as owner/landlord, be concerned about the expense of replacing the fence/washing pole, etc because not only have they been removed without your permission, they have been disposed of. Will you need to re-survey to 'prove' to shouty man where the boundary is? It all will add up to replace...

nervousal Fri 01-Aug-08 11:57:02

I don't think you should be writing to your tennant about this - if you think it was the neighbour then write directly to him - if you don't know his name just address to "the owner"

mablemurple Fri 01-Aug-08 12:24:08

Sorry, but I think your letter sounds a bit wishy-washy. I think you do need to contact your tenant in the first instance, but could you phone her to see if she knows under what circumstances the fence was removed, and by whom? If you are on reasonable terms with her I think this would be the best approach. If she says it was the downstairs nutter, you could then write to him informing him that he did not have permission to do this (it is your fence, I take it?) and he has until such and such date to replace it (you should probably get some legal advice about this, first).However, if your solicitor is the agent, why not get her/him to investigate? Part of what you pay the fees for, isn't it?

DaisySteiner Fri 01-Aug-08 12:28:08

Just give your tenant a ring - much friendlier and you're likely to get more information than if they have to write a letter in reply.

Freckle Fri 01-Aug-08 12:41:26

If your solicitor is acting as your agent re the letting, why not get him to deal with it? He can go round and spout the law at nasty man if it is indeed he who has removed the fence.

saltire Fri 01-Aug-08 20:21:00

I don't know if it was the neighobur who removed it, I'm assuming that.
If some poeple think the letter is abrupt, well that's their opinion. This is to a tennant who arranged someone in to tile the bathroom without asking and I ended up with a £250 bill, she arranged for someone to come in and fix the window - which she never told me there was a problem with, and had a £184 bill for that. She ahs no house phone and her mobile is always "out of service".
I feel that writing to her puts it on record.

I also don't know how long the fence has been down, we found out when my mum went round. It was, AFAIK in good condition

mablemurple Fri 01-Aug-08 20:45:23

I don't think your letter is too abrupt - I don't think it is abrupt enough! You've clearly had problems in the past with this tenant, so I think you need to spell it out that removing the fence is not acceptable, she should have informed you as soon as it happened and that you require a response by return explaining the circumstances in which the fence was removed and who was responsible. You will then advise her when a replacement fence will be erected and at whose expense.

You did not make it clear in your earlier posts that you could not contact your tenant by phone.

saltire Sat 02-Aug-08 16:36:58

Well I called her, like some suggested. I asked about teh fence. She said she knew about it, but didn't think it was important. I asked who removed it and it was some man whose garden backs onto ours (and all the others). Apparently he knocked on the door one day and asked if he could do the garden, without cost to them. She said yes.
She then went off on a tangent saying "well are we supposed to do it, becasue if so you will need to buy us a lawnmower. You do realise that we have to go right round the back (I refrained from saying yes I did realise I had lived there once)
I said I was happy with him doing thg arden, and would be prepared to pay him soemthing to cut the grass (even though it's part of her tenanacy agreement to keep tehg arden tidy) but that I wanted the fence reinstated, as he had no right to move it.
"Why, what's the problem" she saidhmm

GentlyWorryTheAnimal Sat 02-Aug-08 16:40:49

With the lawnmower side of thing, she has a point. We have to borrow my mum's lawnmower to cut the grass because we are meant to keep it looking neat, but have no mower or even a shed to store one in if we bought one.

Freckle Sat 02-Aug-08 16:42:39

Well, it seems to me that this man will say that the tenant authorised the work, so will probably refuse to reinstate the fence. I think you are left with requiring the tenant to pay for it or paying for it yourself.

Why would someone offer to do someone's garden for no cost unless there was something in it for him? Presumably he offered so that he could remove the fence and make use of your garden.

TheProvincialLady Sat 02-Aug-08 16:47:42

But as the man asked the wrong person for permission to remove the fence, ie the tenant rather than the owner, then the problem is still his and he is liable for the cost of replacement.

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