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Overgrown neighbours garden damaging our fence

(21 Posts)
jeanie99 Thu 11-Aug-22 17:25:59

Not sure where we stand regarding this issue.
The growth of our neighbours shrubs which are up to our fence (12 panels)have overgrown pushing our fence at the bottom into our garden by about 6" . The concrete base is in place with the growth coming under the panels and between the wood. It looks a complete mess. Our neighbour is a single man about 50 ish, I've never known him work. When his mother was alive she told me his father had left him money. He is the sort of person that never gets around to doing anything, very friendly and lots of promising but no activity. I would like to replace the garden fence but it is impossible as the situation is at the moment.
He is so easy going I don't think he gave our chat a second thought.
When his mother died some years ago now he told me he had to sell the property as it had been left equally between him and his brother and sister, based on what he told me they haven't yet received their share.

Lathyrus Thu 11-Aug-22 17:36:33

We had to replace all our side fence, about a hundred feet of it, when we moved in a few years ago.

We told the neighbour we wanted to do it and would need to cut back his trees and shrubs. He was happy with that and said we could take them out if we wanted. Which we did. We had to pay but it was worth it.
Legally we could have cut them back to the boundary line.

I don’t know where you stand legally in getting him to pay for cutting or damage to the fence. But taking legal action will almost certainly cost you more than just getting the job done yourself!

Floradora9 Thu 11-Aug-22 21:56:02

You write a formal letter to him telling him of the problem and giving him time to put it right. If he does nothing you can get legal with him.

Hetty58 Thu 11-Aug-22 22:12:16

I'd be inclined to tell him that you'll cut it all back. If it's the type of fence with removable panels, perhaps you could lift them and cut back section by section - or get somebody else to. You could ask him to share the cost, but I think that, legally, he has no duty to do it - but you can.

Chestnut Fri 12-Aug-22 12:10:22

I agree that going down the legal path will be costly, stressful, and generate bad feeling. Try and work with him. Even if you pay some or all then at least the problem will be resolved.

We are going to tackle our neighbour about huge leylandii which are hanging over our fence although haven't pushed the fence. They are very tall and thick though. He needs to take half off the height before we trim our side.

M0nica Fri 12-Aug-22 12:55:19

Is there a Neighborhood Mediation Scheme in your area? Could you use that.

Your local council or Citizens Advice would know whether such a scheme exists.

Chestnut Fri 12-Aug-22 13:16:39

I would just show him the problem and ask him whether he would share the cost of removing the wonky fencing, cutting the foliage, and putting the fencing back in a stable position. If it's damaged then you need new fence panels.

Also, who is actually responsible for that fence? You should know whether it's you, him or shared. If it's him then he should really pay, but it may be easier to just share the cost anyway. Keep it as friendly as possible, it's always best to keep on good terms.

Chestnut Fri 12-Aug-22 13:20:16

PS: If he won't pay or share then I would just bite the bullet and pay myself. It can't be that expensive unless the shrubs are massive. I would also make sure they are cut to a point where they can't grow into the fence like that again.

Barmeyoldbat Fri 12-Aug-22 13:39:34

Our neighbour over that back was the same, time after time we replaced the fence and they let brambles etc ruin it. So enough was enough , we took the fence down and decided to a hedge of fuschias. Which when we planted the 40 odd plants were only about a foot high. It didn’t matter to us about seeing into their garden and vice versus but the kept complaining that their dog kept getting out by going through our garden and out the side onto our busy road. Would we please put a gate up or a barrier to stop the dog. Answer no. So now they have put up a beautiful fence and kept it all giddy and we have some lovely bushes hiding it.

jeanie99 Fri 12-Aug-22 14:15:51

Thank you for all your comments on our problem. The branches and brambles grow over and under the fence, I do use the loppers to cut them back as best as I can. Hubby and I are in our late 70s and although I garden regularly I am not able to dig out these shubs it would not be possible, don't have the strength. When I looked over the fence standing on the bench the growth must be at least 6 foot into his garden from our fence and higher than our 6 foot fence, almost 12 panels of this. It's a huge area which needs clearing. I am on good terms with him and will try again but as I said before his promises to do something never gets anywhere. It would take some days I suspect to clear the area in his garden but my husband would not pay to have it done, I know that. Yes the fence is ours, we had it installed when we moved in some years ago. I have taken on board your suggestions and thank you for this.

Nannarose Fri 12-Aug-22 14:20:50

You say he is 'easy going' so I wouldn't 'get legal' yet (love that phrase!)
I would have another friendly chat and say that you are going to do the work yourselves - is that OK? My guess is that he will say 'yes'.
Say that you will be taking out all of the bushes that cause a problem for your fence - is that OK? I also guess he will agree.
If you can afford it, I would simply do it all, get the offending shrubs pulled up, with a good margin, and get some good advice about a strong fence.

Once you have agreed, I would also put all of this in writing, and send it by 'track and trace'. You can tell him that as you are taking down his shrubs and he has agreed, you want it to be clear. That means that if he (or more likely his brother) objects at any point, you can show a copy of the letter and proof that it was delivered.

If you can't afford it or manage it all, or are concerned about the changes you are making to his garden, then I would ask your local authority for exact advice, using Citizen's Advice if need be.

Have you kept a record of your requests and his (non) responses? If not, begin now. You may need to demonstrate that you have made requests that have been ignored.

I am occasionally astonished at the way some families allow such situations to drift. But I have been told by 2 (separate) people in the situation of your neighbour's sibling, that as long as house price inflation continues, they are not too worried! Certainly with one of the families, it seems a way to manage a sibling who has mild to moderate mental health problems. If he had to earn a living and manage his own life, he might do very badly. But whilst he can live in familiar surroundings, using his inheritance to pay for a very modest lifestyle, he ticks over nicely (and I would worry about his future, but none of my business!)

Chestnut Fri 12-Aug-22 17:44:20

jeanie99 Try and post a picture of the whole problem area because it would give us a better idea of how bad it is.

jeanie99 Thu 18-Aug-22 18:06:28

I hope these come through, not done this before.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 18-Aug-22 18:14:38

You can cut back what the photos show to the fenceline. But your photos don't show the damage you talk about.

jeanie99 Thu 18-Aug-22 18:16:02

I went round to my neighbours today and had a look it's far worse than I thought.
I spoke to him about the problem, he said he didn't realise it was so overgrown as he doesn't walk that side of the house. He said he would try and start to clear it next Sunday. I did make a suggestion of asking his friends if they would help him. My thought now is (if nothing happens) is to ask him if I can get some volunteers to take it on and would he allow it.

25Avalon Thu 18-Aug-22 18:21:00

Pick the blackberries and eat them. The problem you have here is that these are very large brambles and won’t dig out very easily. Cut them back and they will just grow back. Spray what is coming through the fence with some very strong weed killer but idk that will kill the main root. This is so bugging annoying. Wish I could help more.

Esmay Fri 19-Aug-22 12:02:38

Hi Jeanie ,

How awful .

I really don't know what you can do in this situation .
I guess that your neighbour would be more than happy for you to rectify the situation yourself and happy to burden you with the cost .

The recluse next door moved in about 35 years ago .
The neat garden quickly turned into a wilderness . The weeds come under and over his fence.
Brambles have destroyed the other neighbour's greenhouse.

He's very pleasant when I see him ,but I have been shouted at in the supermarket .
I've replaced the fallen wall in the front garden with a hedge .

Every now and again one of the fence panels in the back garden disintegrates .
He's finally replaced one leaving the old one in our garden and he's taken one of my ornamental flower pots
Recently , I politely asked him to replace the remaining missing panel , take his old fence and return my flower pot .
He told me that he can't do the work , because of a tree .
Can I prune it ?
I have pruned it right back .
And now he's suggesting that I can get my DIY guy and friend (with whom he seems to have some romantic feelings for !) over to help clear his area .
I told him it's expensive and that I have to pay .

Through the years we've offered him nice old garden furniture and plants - any incentive to get him to tidy his garden .

Last year , the DIY guy was refused access so that the very high hedge could not be pruned .

And so it goes on ...

He is pleasant enough until challenged .

I should add that he has a criminal record ,was in prison and was investigated by the CID .This investigation was led by detectives who wanted to camp put in my father's back bedroom to watch his activities .
So his admission for a minor crime simply cannot be true !

You can't control , who moves next to you !

jeanie99 Fri 19-Aug-22 15:23:01

OMG I thought I had a problem.

I really don't understand this mind set at all.

Esmay Fri 19-Aug-22 15:57:25

Hi Jeanie ,

I have more sympathy for you as the fence is your's .

This fence belongs to the strange reclusive neighbour .

My father planted a hedge , which extends about two thirds down the garden - mainly against the wilderness and also because this guy used to spy on him .

He'd bought the house about three years before the police investigation began .
He deeply regretted buying it and thought of moving .
He's spent so much time and money making the house and garden look nice and that's what made him stay .

When we had storm damage - the lower part of the garden had to be restored - so it's more open than I'd like .
I'll be happy when the hedge grows .

When the weather finally cools down - I'll either finish the planting myself or have to employ someone .

I'm going to write to the neighbour to replace his fence panel , take his old fence away and return my flower pot .
But -
I'm not holding my breath !

I'm wishing you lots of luck with your problem !

sodapop Fri 19-Aug-22 18:04:45

Sorry about your garden problems jeannie99 but I just had to ask, exactly how big is your overgrown neighbour smile

jeanie99 Fri 19-Aug-22 21:49:18