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What to say about my back fence neighbour?

(19 Posts)
hairycatmum Mon 08-Aug-16 12:48:43

I live in a modern housing development with neighbours to both sides and sharing a backfence (the gardens are staggered, so I have 2 back fence neighbours). 3 of my 4 neighbours are brilliant, one of the back fence ones is not. The day after we moved in, he left a note in our mailbox saying 'welcome to the neighbourhood, your shed is an eyesore, please remove it'-this was the shed left behind by the previous owner. Our garden was surrounded by 30 foot high Leylandii when we moved in which we had removed-3 of the neighbours wouldn't stop thanking us for doing it as it meant their gardens all got so much more light, he complained about lack of privacy and demanded I reinstated the trees (there was a fence 7 foot high around the garden as well which we had repaired and painted).

Over the years he's complained about his conservatory flooding and claimed it was because we had removed the Leylandii and that meant all the rain from our garden drained into his and asked that we contribute towards repairs (we asked to see the insurance report and the flood happened due to unlagged water pipes bursting). Everytime we have workmen in he questions them about what they are doing-hedge trimming, stump removal, hard landscaping done. We converted our conservatory to a sunroom by putting a proper roof on and he complained that he was entitled to privacy and that we would be using the room more. He also complained that he could see my washing on the airer in our conservatory and asked that we didn't do that. At this point I'll say that his own conservatory is built 3 foot from the shared back fence, and mine is about 4 metres from the back fence.

Most of the communication is via notes in the mailbox-he talks to workmen in the garden but never directly to us. I ignore the notes-as far as I can see he's a nasty old man, bored rigid and likes complaining. The other neighbours have been nothing but wonderful, and a couple of them have also been the victim of nasty notes.

We've been here 10 years and the time has come to move. We never formally raised neighbourhood disputes as an issue-my ex was very keen to send him a letter from a lawyer telling him to cease and desist and telling him his nasty notes constituted harassment, but I said no-I think if we'd done something like this we would have had to declare it when selling. But do I have to tell prospective buyers that there is a horrible complaining backfence neighbour? The other neighbours ignore him too, but if I sell and he kicks off, would buyers then have grounds to sue me? And how could you sell a house if the particulars include 'horrible back fence neighbour'?

SheSparkles Mon 08-Aug-16 12:55:53

Because you've never engaged with his pettiness I would say there hasn't been a dispute-he just likes to moan!

PlotterOfPlots Mon 08-Aug-16 13:23:50

What SheSparkles said - it takes 2 to make an argument. Well played!

I think buyers have to use common sense. I wouldn't expect every neighbourly whinge to be mentioned, just really major issues that have escalated. In this case, nasty as the notes are, it hasn't even progressed to a conversation let alone a falling out.

hairycatmum Mon 08-Aug-16 13:57:40

The other back fence neighbour had a big falling out with him-their side fence is shared and there was a dispute over fence posts which ended up going to court (before we moved in so I don't know the details). But in 10 years we've been getting complaining notes about once a month-if it was just the odd time I'd not be worried, but its very frequent, often about nothing at all-the most recent was this week, I've been harvesting my plums and had to get the step ladder out. He complained he could see me over the fence and demanded I warn him the next time I plan to look over his fence.

I refuse to engage with him because it is so completely unreasonable, but that hasn't stopped him posting notes. I've chucked most of them out, but I kept the last few just in case it escalated, but this continued whinging is quite wearing.

origamiwarrior Mon 08-Aug-16 14:14:46

Oooh. That's a tricky one. Hopefully someone with more expertise will come along, but I have a feeling the property form wording has recently changed away from just having to declare 'disputes' to more general wording about anything to do with neighbours that could impact on enjoyment of the property. If so, it isn't great news for you.

If you do have to declare it (take advice from solicitor (and keep a copy of that advice - if you get sued, then you can counter-sue the solicitor!)) then I would keep it very brief and breezy "Eccentric rear fence neighbour occasionally sends us (and other neighbours) notes through the mailbox, although we've never actually spoken". And only divulge further details if asked (at which point, the buyers will be fairly committed, so are unlikely to pull out).

OhNoNotMyBaby Mon 08-Aug-16 14:21:14

No. There has been no dispute. the fact that he is a nasty irritable man is irrelevant.

I would have needed to disclose to any future potential buyers of my house that there was a neighbour dispute - I had to call the police because of continued harrassment of my children. However, the person has now died so there is no longer an issue. .

wowfudge Mon 08-Aug-16 15:02:30

No - no dispute so nothing to declare. Ironic he complains his privacy is compromised yet clearly watches all his neighbours like a hawk.

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 08-Aug-16 15:06:14

I don't think you have any legal obligation to disclose this...

hairycatmum Mon 08-Aug-16 17:16:39

Eccentric! Now thats a tactful way of putting it, I remember that one!

He's very elderly-maybe the stress of finding out he might be getting new people to harass might be too much for him. Here's hoping.

pepperpot99 Fri 12-Aug-16 23:19:05

No obligation to report OP, as you never made anything official. Well played😀. He sounds like a lonely bitter old git. At least the other neighbours are nice.

Imperialleather2 Sat 13-Aug-16 05:23:40

If you don't declare and it bothers them then they may try and Sue for misrepresentation.

If you do declare and it bothers them then at least you know before it becomes a major potentially legal issue.

My advice would be to declare in a very general way and if.they want to.know more they can ask

Surely it's.better to be upfront.

ApplesTheHare Sat 13-Aug-16 05:33:25

As a buyer I'd rather know up front that there's an issue. If you disclose it then the person who buys it will be confident about dealing with the issue and more likely to accept and deal with the situation. If you don't, you'll forever worry that there will be a comeback on you, and someone could move in who, for whatever reason (mental health, general ill health, etc.) just can't handle that sort of stress. Also, it's the nice thing to do.

MiaowTheCat Sat 13-Aug-16 19:30:04

I don't think half the people buying houses even remember about back fence neighbours to be honest - you say neighbour and people tend to think of the ones left and right of you.

Our sideways neighbours are fab... back-fence guy is an absolute twunt who is apparently going on the market soon - and I cannot wait to have a bye bye arsehole party when he buggers off. I'd possibly just mention he's a bit of a moany bugger which is all he is really.

Ours is just obsessed with faffy little bits of DIY for the sake of DIY, has pretty much every interior design fad going on the go, more exterior lights than the outdoor living aisle of B+Q and loves removing our shared fence and wandering into our garden to paint his shed whatever the designated "in" colour of the season is - and saw no reason why I should be pissed off at some bloody thuggish man in my back garden balancing paint cans on the kids' cosy coupe!

ChunkyHare Sun 14-Aug-16 08:38:26

We sort advice from a solicitor about this when we sold a house previously. It is all in the wording of how you phrase things. But we did acknowledge a past dispute. Fortunately we sold to investment buyers who would be renting the place out, not living there personally grin

Sometimes a person can be a complete arsehole to you but lovely to the previous and then subsequent person to you.

But if he thought the shed was an eyesore surely he mentioned this in a note to the people you bought from?

So I would definitely contact the conveyancing solicitor you plan to use and ask them about it.

Hillfarmer Thu 22-Sep-16 10:26:36

Your vexatious neighbour would definitely put me off. It sounds like he really spoils your enjoyment of your back garden and your sun-room! He is harrassing you and you would fully expect him to harrass anybody that lives in your house after you. Would you feel comfortable being economical with the truth?

AbyssinianBanana Thu 22-Sep-16 10:35:17

I'm sure his notes didn't start when you moved in and he did the same. I'm almost 100% sure that neighbour disputes is a legal term which means it must involve police or solicitors - something that is documented. Shouting "wanker" daily at your

AbyssinianBanana Thu 22-Sep-16 10:35:40

Neighbour doesn't count

(Whoops sorry)

AgathaF Thu 22-Sep-16 10:56:35

There is no dispute because you've never engaged with him and there's nothing formal. He is, as someone said, eccentric or strange, not your normal, nice kinda neighbour. But I don't think that's something you need to declare grin. There's also the issue of proof. If you haven't replied in writing to his notes, how can anyone prove what's been happening?

HereIAm20 Thu 22-Sep-16 18:47:11

Solicitor - non practising here. No need to disclose that Victor Meldrew is your neighbour.

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