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AIBU in feeling spiteful towards my neighbours over washing lines in communal garden

55 replies

MissTerry2r · 18/07/2017 23:46

I live in a rented flat from social housing. There are 16 flats in my stair and a number of flats from the building next door (not sure how many) who all share the garden. My flat is the only one owned by a social landlord. the rest are owner occupied or privately rented. I have been here for 10 years and throughout the whole time no one has taken interest in the garden leaving it overgrown and untidy. Recently my partner and I got together with some neighbours from the other building and decided to tidy up the garden where we invested a lot of our own time and some small expenses to do so. We tried to encourage other neighbours to get involved but got zero response.
Since putting all this hard work in quite a few of the neighbours have started making use of the nice new garden. My gripe is not that they are using it but the fact regarding how selfishly they are using it at times where they previously had no interest whatsoever causing it to become greatly neglected.
When the garden was completed I started hanging out my washing regularly. The poles were already there but i bought the ropes which go all the way round to make 5 lines in total. I had no problem if others wanted to use it otherwise I wouldn't have put the line all the way round. Just last week I went to bring in my washing and someone had not only moved my things from the line they were on but had taken the pegs off and haphazardly flung it back over another line with no pegs. Some of it lying on the grass. There were other lines they could have used so I have no idea why they felt a need to do this. When I next went to the garden there was washing hanging up with my pegs! the reason I know is because my dog chewed some of them and others had nail varnish on them courtesy of my niece who wanted to paint them a nicer colour. So i now have an idea of who did this. it was very obvious it had been moved on purpose but for what reason I don't know. AIBU to be really pissed off about this? As I mentioned before people using the garden now its all been done isn't the problem but the sheer lack of respect for my property as someone who put the hard work in so everyone could use it is whats really angered me. Today I went out to find that some of the neighbours have taken the liberty of removing the washing ropes with the intent of just putting them up when they need to use them. So far I have managed to refrain from spitefully removing the washing of the person who did it to mine. I am half tempted to put up my own rotary washing line with padlock in the part of the garden that was previously overgrown as it is not currently used for anything in particular. However, if I do this it may upset other neighbours since the garden is communal so i can't really claim a particular space for my own use. I don't want to buy another rope for the poles even if I remove it between uses because I don't doubt my washing would be removed again by my selfish neighbours. I generally keep myself to myself and don't know my neighbours on a personal level and I quite like it that way. But I feel like i can't even use the garden as I wish even though only 4 of us made it a nice place to spend time and no one had any interest before whatsoever. FOR 10 BLOODY YEARS!! My flat does not overlook the garden so I can't even keep an eye on it if I only put it out when Im home. i just can't get over how ridiculously selfish my neighbours are and their lack of respect makes me so fucking pissed. Would it be spiteful to put a rotary line in the unused ground and padlock it when I'm not using in hope that no-one will complain about me putting it there?
I am open to suggestions. Any at all. Although I'd rather avoid confrontation as it could make things worse and ill never be able to hang washing out or just relax with a book for fear of repercussions. Help!!

OP posts:
Groupie123 · 19/07/2017 08:15

Dog shit or tumeric on their clothes should sort it out.

ExcuseMyEyebrows · 19/07/2017 08:16

Jessie it was in my rental agreement along with allotted days for each tenant sweeping and mopping stairs and communal areas.
We couldnt hang out washing when we wanted to, it was a matter of when we were allowed to.

coddiwomple · 19/07/2017 08:16

Trollspoopglitter great name for a troll!

Back gardens are fine for washing line, unless expressly stated in the lease. It's much more common to ban laundry drying from balconies, it's looks horrendous

aweewhilelonger · 19/07/2017 08:33

Our old flat in Edinburgh has a shared green out the back, also in Scotland. My mil actually grew up in a flat in another one of the buildings that surround it: she's told me and shown me pictures of it as a big, maintained grassy area, with loads of washing lines for everyone to use and for children to play out on safely. Before we bought there, someone else in one of the other buildings started a community group to improve it from the overgrown wasteland that it had become - they got funding, cleaned it up, created seating areas and installed a shared BBQ... it was really lovely. It sounds like you've done some research - maybe you could do some more and find out if there are any models that work?

It's so sad that communal areas of shared properties are so neglected and badly managed these days: stair cleaning is the same. It used to be that people got the brush and mop left on their door when it was their turn, and they just did it because it benefitted them and everyone else to have a clean stairwell. Personally I think that all communal areas should come under the control of a factor or something similar . I live in an apartment in France and everything communal is actively managed - stairs, lift, front garden outside, shared area out the back etc. It's depressing going to our old Flatbush comparison (we rent it out) - the front gardens all down the street are full of rubbish / old bikes / weeds, the stairwell is filthy with bikes padlocked to every landing rail. Very few people seem willing to contribute to the greater good - and there is no legislation compelling them to.

FrancisCrawford · 19/07/2017 08:33

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Charming1234 · 19/07/2017 08:41

Genuine question whats a "stair"?

Also unfortunately the fact no one did up the garden over 10 years suggests the type of selfish rude people you're living around, the first to jump in and use something that someone else has put time and effort into. Communal washing only works if everyone has respect sadly.

GloriaV · 19/07/2017 08:44

I would try to make friends with her, on the surface, not really.
Some people believe their lives are very hard due to others, not their own doing, seems she sees you as interfering in her freedom to hang her washing where she wants, using whoever's pegs and anyone daring to invade her life deserves a mouthful.
I would chat to her and ask if she needs whichever specific line for her use. Ask for suggestions for where the'communal' pegs should be stored.
Angry people like her have pretty sad lives so you could give being generous a go and see if you win her over. If it fails you are back to square one.

alltouchedout · 19/07/2017 08:50

I would be pissed off to have to stare at your bloody laundry out of my window. I'd rather look at overgrown greenery than you knickers, thanks!

So you're being massively unreasonable to think you get to hang your laundry in a communal space and others just need to suck it up and be stuck with the ugly sight - because you decided to cut some weeds.

That's one of the most ridiculous things I have read on mumsnet in ages.

FrancisCrawford · 19/07/2017 08:52

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrancisCrawford · 19/07/2017 08:54

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TinyTear · 19/07/2017 08:58

we own a flat in Edinburgh and rent it out. unfortunately no one there can use the green as a ground floor tenant/owner managed to jam the door closed and put planters in front of the communal door and use it as their own private fucking garden.

if we ever move there i would want it sorted, but the tenants never complained. but i'm scared by the time we want it sorted this person will say they have been using it for x years so are entitled to it

woodhill · 19/07/2017 08:59

Makes sense to drug clothes outside. Hard to understand the mentality of someone removing washing and cutting ropes.

elessar · 19/07/2017 09:23

@TinyTear - why don't you kick up a fuss to get it sorted now then?

Surely it's better to do it now when you're not living there so any awkwardness or hostility doesn't impact you on a day to day basis?

Cromwell1536 · 19/07/2017 09:24

Trollsdon'tuselogic is another good name for a troll. The neighbour is hanging up her own laundry in place of the OP's laundry.

I'm with other posters here, OP: if your lease doesn't bar residents from hanging out laundry in the shared garden, take your own washing rope out, take your own pegs out, remove them when you pick your washing in. If anyone moves your washing, they're mucking around with your own property, and you can insist they desist. You may have to think about your habits as well: we're only a small family, but the washing machine is running several times a week and if I used a washing line to dry everything, I'd be staring at laundry in the back garden most days of the week. If you share your building and the communal garden with 16 other households, how many hours a week do you think it would be fair to hang your washing in a shared space, that others may not use but quite enjoy looking at?

JessieMcJessie · 19/07/2017 09:25

Interestingly Excusemyeyebrows, but I understand that there is no such requirement or restriction in the OP's building, so am just trying to understand what is to be gained by taking in the line and hoarding it. Particularly as anyone can buy another line and put it up.

LightDrizzle · 19/07/2017 09:25

I think a generic, unsigned, typed note through the door of EVERY flat is in order. Something sunny and not aggressive about how it's great that people are now using the communal garden, but as so many people have worked so hard to reclaim it, and everyone has the right to enjoy it reasonably, the following is suggested:
No unsupervised dogs or use as a dog loo
Please do not remove the washing lines, they were provided for communal use
No washing to be left out overnight
Please do not remove other people's washing to make space for your own.
Please remove your pegs from the line when you have removed your washing so the space is free for other users
Any help with weeding, pruning or removing cat poo is always welcome!

Try to put something she isn't guilty of top of the list, so you don't get a "We all know this is meant for me. Snotty twats!!" reaction off her.

Cutting the lines was so selfish! However while it's cheeky of them to use them, I wouldn't leave pegs out, even in a bag, in the communal area. Maybe that my former experience as a student.

TinyTear · 19/07/2017 09:39

@elessar that is a good point, but before we got married that was my DH's flat so I thought it was up to him to sort it... then after we got married I do mention it once in a while, but he said as we might sell it in the new year, he doesn't want the dispute to marr the sale if it gets sour...

unfortunately our plans to move to Scotland (we are in London) might come to an end as it's too hard to find jobs that match our requirements

Tapandgo · 19/07/2017 09:49

Complaining about seeing people's washing from your window - bizarre! It's normal in communal living to share the 'drying green' for that purpose. However, even in 'detached living' you can see your neighbours washing on the line unless you live in splendid isolation.

A 'close' is the communal entrance to a block of flats where the 'stair' (the communal stairwell) is. Those living there share responsibility for keeping the area clean.

OP maybe get the factor to write to all the tenants (including yourself) reminding them of expected standards of communal living. If you get the letter too nobody can point fingers. That is what my friend had to do - but I have to say the problem only resolved itself when the ghastly neighbours moved.

Tapandgo · 19/07/2017 09:52

That is a fire hazard - I'd get the fire service involved asap.
The back door is an escape route for the block!

OOAOML · 19/07/2017 10:04

TinyTear it would be a good idea to sort it before putting the flat on the market, as people viewing are likely to want to go out to have a look, and it will probably put people off bidding.

TinyTear · 19/07/2017 10:17

Thanks, I will remind DH again as he is the one who deals with the agents

We haven't been back to the flat in probably 6 or 7 years as we have excellent long term tenants and a good agent

Trollspoopglitter · 19/07/2017 11:27

oh goody! A troll hunter and a personal attack in one thread. Shall you just report your own post ladies or shall I?

OOAOML · 19/07/2017 13:55

Our old flat had a 'shared rear garden' that was actually a basement level manky concrete square that got very little light - I was amazed how long viewers spent going round it.

A previous flat that had a decent green the usual etiquette was that people took their own rope and put it up on available poles. When you took your washing down you took the rope down as well.

Windy100 · 31/08/2021 15:24

Can I have a line in communal garden

Windy100 · 31/08/2021 15:25

There are 38 flats here can I have a line in communal garden

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