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boundary/fence issues with horrid neighbour. (longest ever post on mn)

(35 Posts)
MarmadukeScarlet Fri 26-Jun-09 13:26:09

A bit of background - we live in a barn converted 30 yrs ago, the farm cottage is bang next door and has access over part of OUR drive to get to their property.

She is a miserable old bat of 80 who, despite me never having done anything to upset her, has screamed abuse and threatened me. She is a bully and very unpleasant (you would laugh is you saw how much she makes me shake when I'm a fit 30 something, but I just don't do confrontation), she has fallen out with all 3 residents of our property, has lived here 45 yr so thinks she owns the place.

We need to replace the panel fence between us, her climbers have damaged it and it has reached the useful end of its life. We are having a post and rail put up, fencer has told me that he cannot board her side of the fence as she has too many shrubs, trees etc there are no laws governing this.

I informed her on monday that 2 weeks a fencer was coming to remove fence, it would be beneficial to her plants if she were to remove them from said fence because if fencers do it they may damage them. I also politely pointed out that they would need to move their car onto their own property as the contractor would need access with a small digger (also having some paving done but anyway she has no right to leave car where she has been leaving it)

I told her what fencer had said about boarding not being possfrom her side and she would have the arris rail.

An hour later she approached me in a very aggressive manner telling me she had taken advice (from a neighbout who I then saw return in her car, so she had been out and her computor) and I would be breaking the law, also said the border was narrow enough without having the arris rails. I politely pointed out there was no law and if she had the arris rails she wasuld actually gain some ground as posts 4" square and would be placed up to boundary and boarded on my side. She then said she would be taking professional advice, I politly said I looked forward to her doing so. She then asked if I was prepared to upset a condsidate neighbour about this. I gave a small snort and pointed out she was the least considerate neighbour I'd had. She asked for examples, I was able to name several including where she had let a visitor of hers block my car in making me 25 minutes late to collect DD from school. She countered this with why didn't you ask me to get it moved, to which I replied I did you told me it was the nurse dressing your DH's wound and I would have to wait. I also reminded her of the shouting abuse/threats she had made. She couldn't recall it at first then said, "oh, but that was 2 years ago."

Anyhoo, she takled me again today and said she has spoken to 2 surveyors and the CAB and taken Legal advise and I would be 'getting a letter'. I then called my solicitors who handled the house sale and regaled their dispute resolution chap with the sordid details.

No where on any deeds is a T marker noting who has responsibility for this, land reg have them on line and cannot see either. Solicitor says if I am convinced current fence is correctly placed up to the boundary then go ahead and replace away in whatever manner I wish.

I didn't ever want to live here due to 2 complex access issues and the adjoining rivers etc, it was my DH's choice of house, I have never settled here but we now cannot afford to move.

Since this am when she tackled me I have been shaking and not wanting to go out into the garden with DS. This is what happens everytime she confronts me.

Solicitor is happy (if I pay him) to write a letter for me to give to her if when the fencer starts she kicks off.

I don't know how much longer I can live like this, I have a DH that works away, 2 DC with SN (one only mild SEN other severe SN) and no support. I gave my DH hell on the phone today pointing out that I never wanted to buy this place and now I am sorting out all the shit.

Should I just hope that she will shuffle off to an old folk's home whilst I still have my sanity?

lal123 Fri 26-Jun-09 13:34:22

So - you don't know who owns the fence, but you're going to take it down and replace it - which will probably cause her quite a bit of inconvenience? Maybe you should have spoken to her about your plans earlier?

mamas12 Fri 26-Jun-09 13:59:18

Well done for coping so far.

And well done for giving dh a bollocking.

My ex persuaded me move to his dream home in the country and promptly 'abandoned' me to cope with life there. It is shit isn't it.

Are you able to go away on the days that the fencer is coming? Even getting dh to stay at home would be something.
If you really can't face this give this one thing to dh to do. Delegate, you cannot cope so give it to him to sort and that's that.

Tortington Fri 26-Jun-09 14:07:43

my first thought is that if the fence isn't a danger to anyone - why bother. you knew from the off that this lady probably has shit all to do and think about and so dwells o issues like this.

i suspect even if i has a dog nd the fence had a hole in it - i woudl just get a piece of ply and a hammer and nails - for now - its not like your selling it or anything

the moral of the story is - easy life - just make it an easy life.

Snowsquonk Fri 26-Jun-09 14:09:59

If I remember correctly, there is no legal obligation to have a fence on a boundary. You need to be sure where the boundary is - if the current fence is within your land, your solicitor is correct that you can remove it and replace it with whatever you like. If it's on her land, leave it alone and get your fencer to erect the new fence on your land - she can do diddly squat about that.


Washersaurus Fri 26-Jun-09 14:14:20

Why can't you just replace the one panel that needs it rather than the whole rail and post thing? I agree with others that you should just do whatever it takes for an easy life, its not a battle worth fighting. My sister has had a terrible time with her neighbours and it has really taken over her life.

MarmadukeScarlet Fri 26-Jun-09 15:26:43

lal123, I know the current fence was erected and paid for by the previous owners of my house, it is within the boudary of my property. Your problem is what, exactly?

The fence is now leaning inwards (towards us) as her shrubs and trees have grown against it and are fixed to it with wires, I obviously cut off what comes over my side to minimise this.

The fence is at the end of it's useful life.

I am amazed at the attitudes that because my neighbour is a bully I should just put up and shut up?

Thanks to the others.

Haylstones Fri 26-Jun-09 15:52:23

Could you just leave the fence and put another one up further into your side?
Sympathies, she sounds lovely.

Thing is, even if you go ahead and do it and it is all legally above board, the relationship can't really get much worse than it is already so you have nothing much to lose.

Don't be intimidated by her- be strong!!

SoupDragon Fri 26-Jun-09 15:56:23

If the fence is on your boundary, jsut do it. Also, google the gardenlaw forum and post your question there.

Lilymaid Fri 26-Jun-09 16:17:10

As Soupdragon suggests, try the Garden Law Forum

Washersaurus Fri 26-Jun-09 18:16:47

Not just because she is a bully Marmaduke, because this sort of situation has the potential to take over your whole life, and really life is too short. After all it is just a fence.

MarmadukeScarlet Fri 26-Jun-09 18:25:00

I've been on the Garden Law forum, the majority are with me (not my post but multiple old posts) but one chap is adamant that I will be in the wrong.

Haylstones, the fence is already on my side of the boundary, So I would have 2 layers of fencing between my house and the boundary - which is only 10feet (the measurement is given on the right of way deeds) from the corner of my barn. The 2 fences together would measure 8" even if the second was right against the first.

Washersaurus, I'd say that situation has already been reached - she threatened my cats (she had a tomcat herself which used to come and spray in my house) and put large shards of broken glass sticking 6"+ up from her flowerbeds, within 6 months of threat one of my cats had died from weedkiller poisoning - we do not use weedkillers. Incidently it was the same chemical makeup as the weedkiller used to kill a large bush on our land (friend works at RHS labs and tested it for us) but we can prove nothing.

We cannot now afford to move, but also cannot see why we should leave a perfectly reasonable home due to her madness.

Washersaurus Fri 26-Jun-09 18:30:51

I think you could just replace the panel though and tell her that you will do this as a compromise as you can tell she is worried about the rails being on her side.

I would also mention that you find her behaviour aggressive and intimidating. Keep a diary of any future incidents, however small, to report to the police if necessary.

Very sad about your cat btw. What a nightmare situation for you.

TheProvincialLady Fri 26-Jun-09 18:36:00

She will die soon and then you can move on. TBH I would not put myself through this stress for the sake a fence. 'Useful life' only makes sense if the fence is doing something useful but if it is just being a fence and looks unattractive due to holes, I would put up with it for a few years if it was me.

And I would probably find little ways to kill her introduce stress into my neighbour's life[rubbish christian]

mumoverseas Fri 26-Jun-09 18:51:16

hmm perhaps a little harsh?

TheProvincialLady Fri 26-Jun-09 18:53:45

It was not intended seriously.

willali Fri 26-Jun-09 19:01:38

Does your local authority have a MEdiation Service - these are designed to help in situations exactly like this - to encourage both parties to come to a compromise.

I would echo what others have said - is it truly worth it??

Also you say that she has access over your land - from what you have described it sounds like she has been using the access longer than the barn conversion has been in existance so is this really right? (I know not strictly relevant but it just leapt out at me IYSWIM)

SoupDragon Fri 26-Jun-09 20:48:43

TBH, I'd just do it.

MarmadukeScarlet Fri 26-Jun-09 20:51:12

I have, infront of me as it happens, her signature on a leagal document giving up all rights over the land around my property - land which they have never owned, was always owned by the barn/oast owners when it was a working building - but whilst it stood derelict/unused they assumed rights of access. They gave up any assumed rights but are allowed a 10' access strip up the side of our drive which accesses our side gate - it is this gate which she leaves her car infront of at all times, she has no rights to do so. I ignore this generally but did point out the other day that my fencer will need to get a digger in.

Apart from being unsightly and dangersous as the fence may topple over, it is not just a broken panel the pressure of her bushes has pushed the whole structure - fence posts and all - to a dangerous angle BUT my (soon to be) large dog will be able to get over it as the fence is no longer the height it was due to angle - then she would have every right to complain about my dog trespassing on her land.

Washersaurus Fri 26-Jun-09 20:53:19

Hehe SoupDragon, me too... and I would also start making an issue of the parking/access thing too.

But ignore that and please use me as an example of how not to have amicable relationships with your neighbours grin <that old woman is probably me in the future>

SoupDragon Fri 26-Jun-09 21:00:11

Yes, I'd sort out the parking issue as well. If you're going to piss her off, you may as well do everything at once IMO.

ingles2 Fri 26-Jun-09 21:00:16

hello sweetheart.... what a bloody nightmare and just not what you need atm....
As someone said earlier, she just won't have anything to worry about, so she'll make this into a huge deal... my mid 80's PIL are exactly the same.
In all honesty, I probably wouldn't have organised to replace a panel fence with a post and rail without discussing it with the neighbour first, but if the fence is your responsibility, within your boundary then I'm sure you are within your rights to do what you want.
However it will make an already difficult situation worse.
Is there a particular reason you want p&r and not panel?
come on...
let's have cake coffee. I need to come into TW. I can do, Tues/Wed.. are you free?

RustyBear Fri 26-Jun-09 21:10:31

Love the way people assume that because she's 80 she'll die soon-if you'd assumed that about my dad when he was 80, 19 years later you'd still be waiting....

MarmadukeScarlet Fri 26-Jun-09 22:19:04

Sorry got to Tues to see Barrister re Ed Tribunal, Weds is Interhouse rounders.

Can do the following week maybe.

P&R as opposed to panel? Dog will weigh a lot when fully grown, panel fences are not that strong. If I'm paying someone I may as well get a decent job done and will match the one other side (between me and lovely neighbour) which he paid For and I have the rails!

Hows dem courgettes?

ingles2 Fri 26-Jun-09 22:33:55

ok... no worries... I'm around and about and need to see your dog so let me know when is good for you.... smile
What does dh say about the fence?
<bloody courgettes have mildew!>

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