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Neighbour going berserk over new fence

(23 Posts)
earlyr1ser Mon 09-Jan-17 23:45:15

Hi guys, looking for some advice to handle a tricky situation. We've put a new fence up between our front drive & the neighbour's house, to replace the old one, which fell down & was removed (we're not sure who took it away tho) about 4 years ago. It's an ordinary fence, about three foot, same type as the garden fence out back, nothing unusual.

The house is about to go on the market (we're not living there, are in rental 40 mile away).

My builder rang me today to tell me that next door is furious, she doesn't like the fence & is demanding we take it down. I've checked the deeds & there is no covenant designating responsibility for boundaries - so I'm reasonably confident that the fence is legal. There was no way to consult with her first, as I don't have her phone/email. I guess I could have written a letter, but seriously? For a fence she wasn't arsed to replace herself for 3+ yrs?

How would you guys approach the situation diplomatically? All advice gratefully received...

kilmuir Mon 09-Jan-17 23:47:06

I would either ignore her . Not her call

Gingernaut Mon 09-Jan-17 23:56:49

Does the 'good' side of the fence face her?

If so and the current fence replicates what was once there, job done.

She has no right to be livid.

To be 'neighbourly', you could pop down and see what, specifically, she has against it (colour, maybe?), but no, you've checked the deeds, it's not offensive, you're on solid ledal ground.

Gingernaut Mon 09-Jan-17 23:57:46

ledal ffs. LEGAL. LEGAL. I meant LEGAL.

Testificateman Mon 09-Jan-17 23:58:59

Not consulting your neighbour about the fence in the first place wasn't the right way to go about this.
If you're selling and your neighbour is kicking up a fuss, she can make it harder for you to sell.
You need to some how, nip this in the bud ASAP. Ignoring it, won't make it go away I'm afraid.
If she is pissed off, I'd avoid going around but, you do need to make some sort of contact.

wowfudge Tue 10-Jan-17 07:12:39

Go round fgs - you need to check the place over yourselves anyway. Make peace and give her some flowers or a bottle as an apology for not having the courtesy to let her know what you were doing. It's all very well just going ahead, but you are not having to live with it and don't say what her specific objections are. Maybe your contractor has trashed her borders - he won't tell you that!

InfiniteSheldon Tue 10-Jan-17 07:19:01

You are in the wrong here. If the boundary is hers to deal with you should have asked her to do it or offered to pay but let her sort it. If it's yours you should have notified her and made sure nothing was damaged if you didn't know whose it was you should have treated it as hers and asked/offered to pay. Having carried out the work without discussion (land registry/written letters there are always ways to contact people) the very least you can do is a face to face to find out why she is unhappy and how you can redress it.

Imbroglio Tue 10-Jan-17 07:29:04

If it's not your boundary she would be right to be furious.

My understanding is that the fence in the left as you face the house is your responsibility.

But in any case you should have told her as a matter of courtesy.

JanuaryMoods Tue 10-Jan-17 07:29:59

The first thing to do is to find out why she has a problem with it.

If it can't be resolve then move it so that it is entirely on your land. Nothing she can do about that.

dodgydonkeysdoodah Tue 10-Jan-17 08:18:41

If she has responsibility for that boundary, then you shouldn't have done anything to it without first getting her agreement. And sorry, but not living there isn't any excuse. If I were your neighbour, even if I were grateful in my heart for a free new fence, I would still feel very irritated by your presumption that it would be ok to do it without asking me if you see what I mean.
Plus it's likely that your fence contractor would have needed access to her side of the boundary to construct the fence - it's just common courtesy to discuss it first.

SoupDragon Tue 10-Jan-17 08:21:45

My understanding is that the fence in the left as you face the house is your responsibility.

No, the boundary indicated on your deeds is your responsibility. Nothing else.

It is often the left one but it could be either.

SoupDragon Tue 10-Jan-17 08:23:35

I've checked the deeds & there is no covenant designating responsibility for boundaries - so I'm reasonably confident that the fence is legal.

If there is no boundary makes on your title plan then you can't be sure of anything. If that boundary is not marked as yours it could be hers or it could be shared. Either way, you shouldn't have replaced the fence without contacting her.

GinIsIn Tue 10-Jan-17 08:25:46

You couldn't ask her as you didn't have her phone number or email? But she lives next door - why on earth didn't you just pop round, knock on the door and ask?! confused It's all very well to say she hasn't been bothered with it for 3 years, but neither were you until deciding you want to sell, so it was quite rude not to even discuss it.

hooliodancer Tue 10-Jan-17 08:28:10

Have a look at the land registry advice on fences. If there is nothing to say who has responsibility to maintain the fence then it has to be agreed between you. Or, the whole thing has to be on your side, which means you lose 2 inches of land in effect.

There are lots of fallacies about fences, so read land registry. We have been through hell over this very issue so I know...

namechange102 Tue 10-Jan-17 08:30:14

Until you go round and speak to her, you have no idea what she is upset about. When my old neighbours were doing up their house and garden prior to selling, I came down one morning to find two guys trampling all over my front garden, having taken down the old fence (nothing wrong structurally, just not pretty) and were in the process of digging huge holes over a foot square at regular intervals along my border. As a pp has mentioned, they were putting the 'nice' looking side of the fence facing her house, and digging ALL of the foundations on my side, digging up numerous bulbs and small plants in the process. Concreting the posts in meant that I had huge bare patches afterwards, which never recovered. Needless to say, I had not agreed to this and was livid! The builders seemed to be of the mind that in order to do a good job for the paying customer, they could trash my side.
If this has happened, I think you owe her a huge apology, plus flowers! Go round and find out asap.

SuburbanRhonda Tue 10-Jan-17 08:31:41


The OP lives in a rental property 40 miles away.

Pootles2010 Tue 10-Jan-17 09:14:24

Um you really don't want to piss your neighbours off just before selling! They may well put any potential buyers off. Go round with flowers ASAP and get it sorted!

peroxidebrown Tue 10-Jan-17 09:21:06

We don't know if the builders have trashed the neighbours side or if she's just being difficult. Can the builders send you photos?

GinIsIn Tue 10-Jan-17 09:40:20

suburban and yet the OP must have gone to the property to notice the fence needed replacing, to discuss with the contractors etc. - they couldn't once have knocked or popped a note through the door?

Bluntness100 Tue 10-Jan-17 09:41:59

How do you have no way of contacting her if she's uour neighbour? Just knock on her door?

And then talk to her about it.

SirChenjin Tue 10-Jan-17 09:50:03

Namechange102 is spot on. If the builders trashed her garden then I can fully understand why she's pissed off. Otoh she could simply be unreasonable - but without seeing the garden now and finding out from her if the builders were inconsiderate it's hard to say.

LizzieMacQueen Tue 10-Jan-17 11:16:43

Is it normal in the neighbourhood to have fences in the front garden?

Sounds like she didn't want any fence if they removed the original.

SoupDragon Tue 10-Jan-17 11:36:43

We don't know if the builders have trashed the neighbours side or if she's just being difficult

Or if it is her boundary and that's what she's pissed off about.

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