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Need help re neighbours, who are causing me's not me!

(184 Posts)
AlieOxon Thu 11-Oct-12 11:53:31

I have ivy growing into my roof from the next door garden. I say garden - it's a wilderness. The ivy is all over their roof, but that's their concern.
Everything there has not been touched in about five years.

My gardener has had go from a ladder on my side, but hasn't managed to reach the stems that go to the roof. He has cleared the ivy on my wall. And a bit further, which I didn't ask him to do but will delay its growing back.

Now the additional problem. This couple next door are so reclusive they don't answer their door and haven't answered my recent notes re the ivy. I haven't seen either of them for about three months....this is a source of worry sometimes, but she has put washing out of the window - hung on the gutter (!) recently so I know they are alive!

I offered for my gardener to go round and sort it. No response.
This is preventing me from getting all my gutters fixed.

I was going to try the CAB, but have not managed to get to talk to them, and their system seems much less user-friendly than it was a few years ago...
any ideas please?

annodomini Thu 11-Oct-12 12:08:14

Ivy is destructive. If it is causing or likely to cause damage, give them a deadline to have it cut back and say that if they don't you will have it done and send them the bill and if they don't pay up, you will take them to the Small Claims Court.

Otherwise, send a solicitor's letter which may be wiser than taking the law into your own hands. You might be able to reclaim the cost from them - huh!
Some solicitors will have a free half-hour's initial advice. The Law Society web site has a section called 'find a solicitor'.

I doubt if your local CAB would say anything different.

POGS Thu 11-Oct-12 12:20:23


Hasn't there just been a householder fined for such a thing!

Have you been to the council? I appreciate that is a last resort but you do sound as though you have tried to be civilised about the matter and that has got you nowhere. Ivy can be very destructive so you are entitled to protect your property surely.

Bags Thu 11-Oct-12 12:32:01

If your neighbours are quite old, is it possible that they have not the resources of energy or money to deal with the problem ivy and that's why it has grown out of control? It could be that they need help too.

Bags Thu 11-Oct-12 12:34:31

If your gardener is able to cut the ivy stems near the ground, the ivy that is on your roof would at least stop growing. Might be the thing to do if you get no response.

Barrow Thu 11-Oct-12 13:00:01

You seem to have done everything you can to get a response. I think I would put another note through their door asking them to ring you or to pop in to see you so you could discuss it and if they fail to do so you will be contacting the Local Authority as the ivy is damaging your property.

janeainsworth Thu 11-Oct-12 13:14:41

I would try the council before involving solicitors.
I think if the ivy is thought to be a nuisance the council might intervene on your behalf and serve an enforcement notice.

AlieOxon Thu 11-Oct-12 13:21:36

Bags, you may be right about them needing help - but how to get it to them?

He is older (60-70?) and looks ill but sometimes goes to the local shop.
She is younger and used to work but not now.
I found a letter blowing about my garden a couple of years ago from the rubbish and it was about their mortgage owing.
I don't even see Sainsburys delivery van there now.

These are ex-council houses. I have been looking at my house papers and if they bought direct from the council they will have undertaken things about house and garden and neighbours - only I don't think they did. I didn't.

I plan to go to the CAB tomorrow (before 10am), parking where I can stay a while and taking a book!
Considering sending them a formal letter to complain. Can't do recorded delivery....door not answered....frustration!

vampirequeen Thu 11-Oct-12 13:37:25

poison it....ivy will destroy your roof.

Granny23 Thu 11-Oct-12 15:27:16

A couple of years ago we, and some of our neighbours, becoming increasingly concerned about our elderly, independent, widower neighbour, who was refusing every offer of help with his garden, shopping, trip to barber etc., decided to contact social work, on his behalf but without his permission. They just turned up saying they were surveying older people who live alone, to see if they would benefit from any of the available services. As a result he now has a squad who come to cut his grass and hedge, a reduction in his council tax, a home help and a MECS (mobile emergency care service) alarm - a whole package of help to enable him to stay 'at home' rather than 'in a home'. His hair is still snow white and growing longer by the week as he has refused the offered home visit from the barber! We neighbours no longer need to worry about him constantly and a bonus is that he no longer keeps visitors on the doorstep, (He was ashamed at the state of the house) - neighbours are invited in for a blether.

FlicketyB Thu 11-Oct-12 16:05:31

This is a link to a court case this week when someone was prosecuted for letting their garden get overgrown

It has some helpful information about how and why this got there. However if you have elderly reclusive neighbours this may not be a helpful way forward. As well as speaking to the CAB speak to Age UK, who may well have experience of this type of problem.

Another way to stop the ivy attack is to spray it with round-up. This would enable you to kill off more of the ivy on their house as the spray if pumped up high will hit greenery 6 foot away. DD had a similar but much more minor problem so we waited until the neighbour was out (yes I know that is a problem for you as well) and then I wriggled through the hedge, cut all the stems close to ground level and poured high strength weedkiller along the edge. The garden was such a mess the occupant never noticed. The house is a council house and when the neighbour next door complained to the Council about the condition the garden was in, and DD supported them the Council told the occupant in no uncertain terms to deal with the garden or lose their tenancy, so they did (deal with the garden).

AlieOxon Thu 11-Oct-12 16:40:43

This is a pretty good idea of what the front part of their garden looks like, only it's all brambles. The back if anything is worse, with one tall tree overhanging my shed.
I notice this isn't a council house.

I know they may not notice but I have guilt about going on their property!
It may come to that.
I'll go the less intrusive way first!

Nanadogsbody Thu 11-Oct-12 16:54:23

About five houses down from me there is a garden like this. Brambles were growing through the hedge and stick out onto the pavement at just about eye level to my grandchildren in their double buggy, so I have to go onto the road. I contacted the council and after a while they arranged to have the hedge cut back and the bill sent to the owner of the propery. This was only because it fronted onto a public highway though, but it might be worth a phone call anyway.

FlicketyB Thu 11-Oct-12 17:56:24

My neigbour is at the silly end of the organic green spectrum and does no gardening at all and will not make any attempt to stop the rampant nettles overtopping my fence. I just stick my sprayer over the fence and spray them. he never notices.

AlieOxon Fri 12-Oct-12 08:32:48

Going to CAB this morning.

eGJ Fri 12-Oct-12 09:01:28

Best wishes AlieOxon; hope they can help you.

AlieOxon Fri 12-Oct-12 13:27:45

See the anyone-up-yet thread!

relichunter Wed 17-Oct-12 17:32:44

allie ivy can cause many problems to your property the roots can underline the brickwork
you c an ask your insurers to check out the property as it may invalidate yours if anything happens
are you sure they are not squatters living there
you could always ask the police to say you think there is someone dead in the property

AlieOxon Fri 19-Oct-12 09:48:56

Sorry I haven't been around, things happening.....
relichunter You have some ideas here - they are not squatters, have been here 22 years, and are owners, which is one of the sticking points. If council, or bought from the council, it would be far simpler.
Not dead unfortunately no excuse here.
Not sure about alerting my insurance at the moment, will keep that.

CAB were not very helpful, directed me to a mediators site which seems to be defunct. commumication problem still there anyway!

I put in a formal letter to the neighbours, and not expecting any answer, also phoned the council, who said 'solicitor?' and then 'send some pictures'
(think I put this on the other thread) - so I did. No response yet.

BUT - He from no 16 arrived on my doorstep at 7pm two days ago (dark of course and I don't like that, will not answer another time).
He said he was going to do things to the gutter, and has tied it up with a yellow strap....also says he will remove the relevant ivy.
That's something.

But I said there are other issues here too, and tried to say things about the water dripping on the other side (man at No. 18 is very annoyed about this as it has been going on for two years and of course is why the ivy has grown so much!) and the general mess of the garden and that I am worried about the fire risk of so much dead wood and inflammable trees.....and met a complete brick wall.
He is far weirder than I thought. He simply would not admit that there is anything else the end I said I was leaving it for now and shut the door on him.

Next day (yesterday) I was in the front with my gardener and both the neighbours arrived back from somewhere (extremely unusual) with a business-like folder in his hand.
Now I am wondering if they went to get legal advice on their situation......

Grannyeggs Fri 19-Oct-12 10:10:42

They sound a bit unstable Alie, I would have the name of a solicitor just in case, and don't open that door at night,just because one feels a bit more uncomfortable with those types of conversations on the doorstep in track, they are less threatening in daylight. Good luck, they sound a bit of a nightmare.

Grannyeggs Fri 19-Oct-12 10:11:31

That was supposed to say " in their dark"!

FlicketyB Fri 19-Oct-12 10:40:32

Alie, Do they consider your approaches could be defined as 'harrassment' and have they been seeking advice about how to deal with such 'harrassment'.

You are yet another reasonable person faced with a genuine problem and having to deal with unreasonable neighbours. I think the first thing you need to do is start a diary of all your dealings with your neighbours. Start with a history of your dealings until now and then record every contact with them from now on and what was done and said. Keep photographs of the problem, ivy ingress into your house, the state of their garden, back and front and how it is encroaching on your property, also a record of all the work you have to do to deal with the problem including invoices for any work and above all, no matter what the aggravation, never ever loose your temper or even sound irritated. It requires super-human self control, but it is essential, the moment your neighbours can even suggest that you have lost control of yourself, you are sunk.

If you go back to the link in my earlier posting you will see a link to a court case in Gloucester. The local authority used a Section 215 notice to get action taken.

Here is another link . This shows how a local authority applies the act. It may be worth you seeking some legal advice on a Section 215 orders even if you do not go down that route.

POGS Fri 19-Oct-12 11:02:16


Brilliant advice.

AlieOxon Fri 19-Oct-12 12:05:26

(Back from having my flu jab)

Flickety - I am doing and have done all of that! I do not intend to put myself in the wrong in any way. I had discovered Section 215, looking online. Your link is more info than I found though, thanks.
About your first comment, I have not picked up from him anything like that. I wouldn't know about her.

However the next bit of the story is that I came back to find a letter from the SODC Health and Housing who had been round when I was out, probably in Oxford yesterday.
I phoned them right away and got a very sympathetic woman who had seen their house and seems to think something can and should be done. I told her most of what I know and she is sending them a letter.....good luck to her on getting an answer! I did say that I am worried about their situation, too.

It seems that if the Council have to do the work, the bill can be attached to the house, to be paid when it is sold.

gracesmum Fri 19-Oct-12 12:25:35

That sounds like a result - or at least the beginnings of one. Good luck!