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

(185 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?

FlicketyB Fri 19-Oct-12 12:59:06

Great to know SODC Health & Housing are so efficient. I live in the Vale and the two councils are merging all their services. My only experience is of Planning and that was not good.

POGS Fri 19-Oct-12 18:37:28


I am pleased for you, thus far. Good luck for a happy ending.

AlieOxon Sat 20-Oct-12 11:53:17

I was awake in the night and realising what has happened as regards my gutters. - which made me cross and stopped me going back to sleep.

The setup is that there is a circular ring of guttering round both semis, with two downpipes near the back on each side, one for each house. On their side the gutter has been blocked on each side of their downpipe with the ivy - sending all their roof water to overload my guttering which is now in a bad state.

About a year ago, both gutters on their house have been pulled down by the ivy and broken, front and back. But my gutter is damaged and still leaking. I needed to get it fixed, which has pushed me to do something!

Wish I could bill them for this!

FlicketyB Sat 20-Oct-12 12:17:43

Alie, If you can afford it, see a solicitor who specialises in such problems. Your neighbours are legally required to pay for any repairs to your house that are caused by their negligence. From everything you say, you have an uncotestable (by them ) case

AlieOxon Sun 21-Oct-12 10:11:50

Can't afford it unless I can get any help - anyone know?

Another query: It has turned out not to be Section 215 now, it's
Environmental Protection Act 1990, Sections 79 – 82 in the SODC letter.

Which doesn't seem to say so much and I haven't yet made out what they can do under this....

AlieOxon Wed 07-Nov-12 15:38:12

The situation now is that the SODC have sent a letter to my neighbours and are waiting (last I heard) for a response. I don't know how long they give them.

I got an estate agent to my house today and he told me it is worth a bit more than I thought....but it would be very difficult to sell. That value is NOT taking next door into account.
Personally I think it would be unsaleable! If I had come to view and seen this, I would promptly have ruled it out.

london Wed 07-Nov-12 16:37:43

alie oxon i have the same problem with next doors ivy only its not on any walls .its up my tree and spreading along my garden and the fences is covered .all knock but dont want to upset them .you would think people would no it gets out of hand xx

Nanadog Wed 07-Nov-12 16:39:00

That's awful for youallie shock

AlieOxon Wed 07-Nov-12 18:22:01

london you are lucky it isn't in your roof....don't let it get anywhere it can get on the house.
(shh) if you can reach the stems lower down then cut them.....
Still considering this and have retrieved my little ladder from Oxford!

Went and had another chat with the people the other side, who are annoyed about the whole thing and cannot consider doing what they had thought of which is to build an extension on the side where that water is dripping, it would affect the foundations!
I learned that it was the council that cut back the overgrown front garden about 4 years ago, I thought it was them.

I still don't know how much the SODC can do under this other Act. Are they the right people, as I notice that it was Planning that got the garden in Gloucester cleared?

london Wed 07-Nov-12 18:47:40

alie oxon am going to try and see them tomorrow .a do try and cut them back .its flaming hard work as you no .but i am lucky mine isnt half as bad as yours .xx

FlicketyB Thu 08-Nov-12 08:01:26

Alie, talk to your local councillor it is their job to help and advise you about what SODC can do for you.

DD lives in an ex council home. The adjcent house in the terrace is still a council house and when her elderly neiaghbour moved a couple of years ago the tenancy went to a family in need and well known to Social Services. They presumably couldn't afford to lay carpets and were chain smokers, among other anti-social habits and the smell of cigarettes began to permeate my daughters house. In particular her living room and bedroom. She complaind to the housing authority who were pretty useless. They said, quite reasonably, that they couldnt stop the tenants smoking or make them lay carpet but made no attempt to find out how the smell, and presumable, smoke was going from one house to the other in order to stop it.

I felt that the danger to her from passive smoking was good threat to force them into action but DD decided it wasnt worth the effort. After some thought she decided the smoke was getting in her house via the first floor joists, both houses joists went into the party wall. She took up the floor boards parallel to the wall and filled the first 30 cms of the void around the joists with spray foam and that did the trick, the pollution was blocked out. More recently the family have finally laid some carpets so the noise level is reduced.

More satisfactorily both she and the neighbour the other side complained about the state of the garden and the fact that rubbish was not put out for collection and was festering in the front and back gardens. They were worried about rats. Here the housing authority did take action and the garden was cleared and rubbish is now put out regularly.

Nanadog Thu 08-Nov-12 08:34:38

When the problem is caused by a council tenant the the council have powers to enforce action. When it's a privately owned house that's much harder.

AlieOxon Thu 08-Nov-12 09:23:34

Flickey that's another good idea, the councillor. Will find out who.
Good luck with the ivy. london

dorsetpennt Thu 08-Nov-12 09:32:02

You don't live in Twickenham do you? I say this jokingly but I know it's not a joke. There is a house in the next street to my son, like yours once a council house. It has a massive wisteria growing ALL OVER the house front and back. There is a small section cut out to get in and out of their front door but all the windows are blacked out - so he [it is a he] must have to have his lights on all the time. Being nosy when I was out walking the baby I got talking to his neighbour. Apparently the back garden is solid with greenery, as is the front. They have tried all sorts of ways to resolve the matter to no avail so are now trying the legal route - but said it takes ages. I have never seen anything like it and took photos to post on FB as several people didn't believe me.

AlieOxon Thu 08-Nov-12 09:47:03

No, I dont! This is ivy and brambles like Sleeping Beauty.....

My daughter sent me some pictures of a house in America that got pulled down by a wisteria!

AlieOxon Fri 09-Nov-12 09:12:08

About to phone councillor, since I didn't get her yesterday.

Trying to make notes on the whole saga for this phone call, difficult!
(My log is now two pages long....)

AlieOxon Tue 13-Nov-12 16:50:39

The councillor came to see the house! Half an hour after I phoned her!

But... said, first, she would see the woman I have been in touch with at the Health and Housing...see if more could be done.
Said, second, that she would get in touch with the Water people to see if the leak can be stopped. (Only my problem in that it makes the ivy grow more!)

Said, third, that not much money is available these days for dealing with things lke this, and fourthly, that the ivy on the house is a civil problem....there was a charity that might help with repairs.

I don't know if that got me much further - haven't heard back yet.

I have put in a note to next door to say I am arranging for the ivy on my gutter to be removed.
Means, my gardener will go in with a ladder! - but it didn't happen yesterday because of the rain.

Nanadog Tue 13-Nov-12 22:31:17

Have you tried Roundup? grin

AlieOxon Wed 14-Nov-12 10:24:08

Problem here is we can't reach it from my garden.....

Barrow Wed 14-Nov-12 10:45:54

Perhaps a raid under cover of darkness is called for!wink

At a previous house we lived in we had a neighbour who let their hedge grow out of control. It had very thick stems which were hard to cut - so one night my husband went out and drilled a small hole into the stem and poured in a little diesel then replugged the hole - the plant died blush

AlieOxon Wed 14-Nov-12 11:02:31

I have put in a note - they will have to work out that someone will have to come in!
My gardener is very willing to just go in with a ladder and cut the damn ivy. Getting in further down where the hedge is thin.
They have had at least two lots of other people come and do stuff and they just said 'we don't care about the garden', so.....

What really decided me to do this is that I mentioned it to the councilor and she didn't turn a hair, so I thought - 'ok....'
.....and when this is done I can get my gutter fixed, probably now a big job. In the process getting it SEPARATED from theirs! And then I can get the roof of the passage sorted, (some of it may have to be taken off again) ...since the gutter above this plastic roof is now drooping....

I can't think why they don't sell their house (a depreciating asset!) for what they can get, and get a flat!

Alie (frustrated at present!)

Nanadog Wed 14-Nov-12 18:54:21

Night goggles, camouflage gear, balaclava, sturdy boots, a torch, a ladder and a hand spray of Roundup. Job done

FlicketyB Wed 14-Nov-12 19:05:24

This time last year when DD had a similar but much smaller and less damaging problem I crawled through the hedge when the neighbours were out; cut all the ivy stems and poured round-up equivalent made very strong all over the lower part of the cut ivy stems and the ground for a few inches all round, soused it thoroughly. I was admiring all the dead ivy this weekend. The only problem is that it is impossible to pull it off the house as it has a very rough, rough cast finish and the ivy suckers are tenacious

Nanadog Wed 14-Nov-12 19:09:56

Are you volunteering flick? Good on you grin

annodomini Wed 14-Nov-12 19:11:03

I've pm'ed you Alie with some CAB info about right of access. Sorry if I'm repeating what you already know.