View Full Version : Neighbour /Fence Dispute -- What Would You Do ?

Anthony Carn
13th Feb 2004, 18:35
I've got a building on my land which was extended over ten years ago. It's got full Building Regulations documentation and Planning Permission.

The outer face of one wall is exactly on the boundary with a neighbour's property. The neighbours at the time wanted it that way, to avoid them having to fence that boundary. It helped me by maximising the use of my land. The wall is of single brick construction (no cavity) as is normal for an outbuilding. The damp course in the wall and damp membrane in the concrete floor are as per correct practice and, as I've said, have Building Regulations certification.

Then a new neighbour moved in and built a timber deck. The deck is raised well above the ground, almost touches my wall and has no drainage slope away from my wall. The grooves in the decking are perpendicular to my wall. As a consequence, when it rains, a lot of water from the deck drains against my wall and collects below the deck. The first I knew of any of this was when puddles of water began collecting inside my building. I poked my head over the fence to see this new decking in place. No prior consultation with myself took place. Said neighbour was an ignorant [email protected] who refused to discuss the matter.

Shortly afterwards, the property changed hands again !

The new neighbours are unprepared to deal with the situation. In the meantime my building is suffering the damaging effects of the incoming water and damp.

A solicitor estimates costs running into thousands to use litigation.

So what would you do, please ?

13th Feb 2004, 19:03
Hmmm neighbours...I suppose you've tried reasoning with them, and explaining, mentioning that it'll cost them thousands too when the litigation and legal battles start, (whereas they could avoid the hassel by working with you not obstructing you)?

If they're still being obstinate gits, then you can start to fight back with a little more vigour.

Look around and see if there's anything you can do which will piss them off, depends where you live etc and what type of house but parking in thier space or making it awkward for them to get in & out of is a good one. Especially if they have to ask you to move your car so they can get out....tell them in a while..you're having your tea or watching a good program. You'll help them when it finishes. If you require any building work or have any need or friends with a skip...get it plonked somewhere awkward for them and just say...they put it there...they're a bit busy but will move it in a week.

Are you able to sneak around at night, or a weekend when you know they'll be away and do you're own 'DIY' on thier decking, drainage holes or a lip at the end with your wall so water builds up on their decking, and doesn't run off the end?

Awaiting for the summer isn't ideal however, when they're out enjoying their lovely decking in the sunshine, you can sit outside with your stereo on - just make sure it's something they dont like.

If they've got washing out...a BBQ or bonfire will pi$$ them off, make sure you light it quickly and get the smoke going ASAP before they have a chance to bring it in.

Sign them up for all the freebie catalogues you can, including the more 'adult' ones if they're a bit posh. Just go through a few of the papers and fill in as many coupons as you can with their details (or to really cheer yourself up use amusing names at thier address such as Mr A Wan-Ker).

In short, you shouldn't have to resort to becoming the neighbour from hell, however, if they are unreasonable c*nts - then go for it...

A very devious course of action is to arrange for Mr Good Looking to pop 'round see the wife while the husbands at work. For a small fee I'm sure I can help her see your point of view.

Mr G-L

13th Feb 2004, 19:14
I do not think annoying them is a good idea, these things can quickly escalate. How much would it cost them to have done whatever is required? It may be best if you offer to pay to have it done.

13th Feb 2004, 19:23
I wouldn't offer to pay for the whole thing as it is thier responsibility seeing as they took on the decking when they bought the house. I think that the annoyance could be amusing but maybe go a little too far as they may retaliate and you never know what they may do ........you could end up with a horses head on your pillow:\ nice

13th Feb 2004, 19:32
Anthony, your neighbour has a general duty of care towards you. This ought to prevent him from taking (allowing) any actions that will damage your interests. This includes causing damage to your buildings through damp. Your neighbour is allowed some respite during a temporary situation, such as during building works, providing the damage or inconvenience caused to your property is negligible.

Looks like you have tried approaching the neighbours. Did you suggest that it was something both of you could work on to provide a solution? If they refuse to do anything, then you do have the right to repair the damage, or take remedial action to prevent further damage, even if this means that, to do so, you have to enter the neighbours’ property. However, this would probably not allow you to “touch” his deck!

Do you have a right of entry? There may be a right of entry specifically for the purposes of inspection or repair in their property’s legal documents. If there is no such right, or no agreement can be reached, the law allows you, as the person wishing to carry out repairs, to apply to the county court for an access order, for which there is a fee, allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs.

Better go to your local CAB (http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/cabdir.ihtml) first because, as you say, legal action could be expensive, and land you with enemies next door! As a first step, if you feel that legal action is the only course, perhaps you should get a letter sent from your solicitor, which may make your neighbour realise that you are serious about your complaint.

Best of luck! See you on ITV in about a year's time!

13th Feb 2004, 19:42
Its a good idea to do some serious proxy-diplomacy to try to find out their reasons before deciding on a course of action.

Do you know anyone on the street who is friendly with them and would be willing to help? Sometimes there are very familial political reasons why someone would be unreasonable towards a neighbour, bad past experiences etc. A mutual friend raising the fact that you are upset at what you see as intransigency on their part can work wonders.

Dudesses tend to be best utilised in this way as they can slip such things into their usual gabbering about curtains.

13th Feb 2004, 19:49
I agree with under_exposed

You have to live beside these people for perhaps years to come, there's no point in creating bad blood between you & them, probably will get their backs further up than anything. Even if you win the war how much peace of mind & enjoyment ar you going to have with both sides coming out of their houses & casting dagger looks in each others direction for time immemorial.

Try to approach this amiably, tell them you understand their position in this but is there someway youse could work it out together, maybe you pay 50-50 or something, & see if you can suggest an alternative that will be beneficial to them (Rule 1: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie: 'Always try to talk & see things from the other persons point of view).

One thing sure once the solicitors are called in you'll end up

1) With money flying out the door, the only one who will benefit are the solicitors
2) Worry, stress. sleeplesss night, maybe even an ulcer
3) Having to live beside people perhaps for the rest of your life who hate your guts & vice versa & where there'll be permanently ill feeling.

As under-exposed said even if you have to offer to pay for the whole DIY job it would come to alot less than resulting to legal action & you're not going to create bad feeling that WILL last a lifetime.

It pays to get on with ones neighbours (I'm lucky, I'm blessed with the ones from heaven) :D whatever about ones bl**dy relations. You never know when you might need each other.

Good Luck!


13th Feb 2004, 19:53
Wow CoCoI'm blessed with the ones from heaven does that mean you live next to a graveyard? :D :D

13th Feb 2004, 19:55
Have to agree with the preceding posts, they may be your neighbours for a long time to come so you certaintly don't want to start a feud...

Just a thought but is there anything you can do to make your wall waterproof at the decking height?

Good luck


Spuds McKenzie
13th Feb 2004, 19:59
So what would you do please?

Move to another country with proper building regulations...

13th Feb 2004, 20:03
Actually newswatcher

I live a stones throw away from a morgue, I never hesitate to wind my lovely neighbour up about his neighbours on that side even though there is a laneway separating him from said building. Mind you he's tring to prevent apartments been built at the end of his garden at the mo & doing a damn good job at putting a scewer in the works, don't affect me as much, but maybe the oul one at the end of my garden ain't that lovely upsetting my friend like that. I still remain on amiable terms with her though cause I can see it from her point of view too.

A graveyard no thanks, I only frequent the ones with roundtowers in them i.e. they have to be well dead. ;)


13th Feb 2004, 21:23
One word. FIRE....:E


13th Feb 2004, 21:33
Nice approach, newswatcher. :ok:

I like the idea of trying to talk about it with them, particularly if they will be involved in joint problem solving. Perhaps if you tell them you need ideas because at present the best you can think of is nice shiny metal attached all over that side to protect the surface, they might be prepared to start thinking creatively. I'm particularly using that idea because of the glare factor, which would be objectionable if the wall gets much direct sunlight.

Kaptin M
13th Feb 2004, 21:38
From what you have said, AC, the problem appears to be caused by reason of insufficient catchment and drainage of the water flowing from your neighbour's deck.
It is obviously in the interests of BOTH of you to solve this drainage problem, as it would appear that not only could the prolonged presence of that amount of water cause possible structural problems, but it is a potential health hazard as well.

By the sound of things, the wall you have built prevents the escape of the water.

Soooo, how about you get together with your neighbour to discuss jointly forking out some dosh to have some drainage pipes installed - if necessary, you may have to consider a installing a pump to assist, if there is insufficient fall available.

Or.........knock a hole in your wall, and run a bloody great pipe through your house!!

13th Feb 2004, 22:07
It can also depend on who your neighbours are and what to say to them for example if it's a family with kids, you could talk about the health risks involved and the danger an unsafe structure can pose to their brats, that way they'll be more willing to listen and take action. If it's a young couple then talk money, tell them how expensive it will be if you have to get lawyers envolved and it would benefit them more financially if you could both come to an agreement.

Of course if it's a 7ft tall, 300lbs heavyweight champion boxer then the only action is to get a possie together and go round and kick 'es feckin teeth in and tell him he's paying or else fluffy his poodle gets it next time :=

Anthony Carn
14th Feb 2004, 04:24
Thanks to all for the (without exception) useful comments. :ok:

Whilst it's very tempting to pursue the retaliation route I certainly want to avoid it for as long as possible. It does work on some people......but probably not these......and not just yet.

The neighbours in question are universally unpopular in the neighbourhood. They've managed to upset every surrounding household in their two years or so in the area.

My approach has been to say, look, I'm having problems, this is what's needed to solve them, I'll pay to have the work done, how's about it. (I'd guess a few hundred quid to alter the slope of the deck). I get a blanket refusal to consider any proposal I come up with. They've stated that there's no incentive for them to go through the inconvenience of me, or workmen, on their property....upheaval, mess etc. "Why should we?" sort of response. Ignorant and selfish, basically. They are'nt suffering smells, vermine, any problems. I can insist upon access to work on my outbuilding, but the problem can't be solved by simply working upon my building....trust me.

Enforcing duty of care involves solicitors, but is absolutely the correct path, except for the cost problem.

I saw the solicitor for the first time yesterday and the instruction to her is to write to the neighbours in an effort to suggest a legal battle looming, but it's a bluff....I won't be lining the pockets of the solicitors, that's certain.

I've also, today, reported the structure to the Borough Council Planning Enforcement Officer. They should look at what's been built and may decide that Planning or Building regulations have been violated and demand the removal of the structure.

All of your ideas have been carefully noted and I'll keep reviewing them.

Thanks again ! :)

Now then, Ozzy.....FIRE you say. :E

Balaclava -- check
Petrol -- check
Matches -- check
Milk bottles -- check
Strips of rag -- check

14th Feb 2004, 04:51
Might sound odd but it could be because they are unpopular that they are being such ******s. Nothing to lose afterall when you're already seen as unhelpful.

Maybe a bit of social carroting could save the rather expensive stick?

14th Feb 2004, 05:22
Don't forget that you will have a legal obligation to declare any neighbour disputes when you come to sell the house. Failure to do so can be very expensive. Doing so can knock thousands off the value of the house

Forget retaliation, once and for all. It will only make things worse and harden attitudes.

Cool heads are needed here.

And above all avoid lawyers. You can't afford them, and they just drive the parties into their corners.

14th Feb 2004, 06:10
Mini has it right

Talk to your neighbour and ask to apply this (http://www.diy.com/bq/product/product.jhtml?PRODID=83392) to their side of the wall.


Kaptin M
14th Feb 2004, 06:22
"And above all avoid lawyers. You can't afford them, and they just drive the parties into their corners."
I'm not so sure that I totally agree with you there, Crook_Chook, as last year I had the need to use the services of a solicitor to pull a building contractor into line. The letter from the lawyer was obviously the "shock treatment" the builder needed, to let him know that I meant business and wasn't going to tolerate his b.s.
Additionally, the lawyer suggested to me that to save any further legal expenses, I should proceed through the Government body that keeps builders in check (by way of making sure they comply with laws wrt contractual obligations, building standards, compulsory insurance of their work/workmanship, etc).

As you've now decided to take positive action, AC, you might consider "attacking" on more than one front - you've got the lawyer sending her letter, did you submit a written complaint to the Borough Council Planning Enforcement Officer, complete with photographs?
Perhaps a written complaint (again with photographs of the stagnant water) to the Health Department, outlining the potential risks will have their inspectors visiting your neighbours as well.

Your offer to financially assist them was rejected before, and so I'd suggest that you make it clear that that offer has now been withdrawn, as any directive from local government will be a "must do" for your neighbours.

Keep us all updated.

14th Feb 2004, 06:26
Retaliation escalates and exacerbates the situation.

1st solution is to move, and that is not tongue in cheek. If the neigbours are intransigent and unpleasant they will not change and you either live with the problem or get away from the problem.

2nd solution is to 'tank' your extension. It is a long time since I was in the building industry but on several projects, mainly cellars, we would paint the walls with a product called Synthaprufe (http://www.rbp-integra.com/Techlit/398116_Synthaprufe.pdf) and then render over the top. In simple terms the structure is made into a waterproof tank but to keep water out rather than in!

Nowadays there are many products on the market and with a little professional advice you may be able to solve the problem without having to deal with your neigbours at all. A Google search for 'cellar tanking' returns many results.

Edited to add:

Kaptin M, in your case you were dealing with a contractor not a neighbour. I would suggest that your situation was entirely different and that you also had an element of luck in that it had the desired effect!

West Coast
14th Feb 2004, 13:52
Indirect fire, its harder to trace.

14th Feb 2004, 16:30
"They are'nt suffering smells, vermine, any problems".

Now there's a thought. Nip round every night and crap under the deck. After a few months they might start to wonder about the funny smell every time it rains and rip up the decking :E

14th Feb 2004, 16:31
I'm kinda with West Coast - but - think the proper word should be direct ! As in a 12 ga. shotgun "discussion".

Baring that 'approach" to civility, then ya might want to wait for the dry season and just burn the damn deck to the ground. A couple of litres of petrol should do the trick nicely ... :p

In Texas we don't take half measures, when a direct "full measure" course will end the problem .... :suspect:

14th Feb 2004, 18:03
Anthony, could you not simply(!) run a sheet of damp course type material between your wall (the outer face) and the decking? Something made of PVC or a bituminous material , for example.

Have to agree with the postings suggesting avoiding confrontation given that you've tried to approach the situation politely already. Its clear that its not somehow just going to get better...

Are you able to post a photo of the wall so we can see the problem first hand?


14th Feb 2004, 18:34

Having just read your first post it occurred to me that providing the ground next door is BELOW your damp course then your damp-proof floor membrane must have failed in some way.

My suggestion would still work though.

Anthony Carn
14th Feb 2004, 18:48
Well, what can I say ! Many thanks for the continuing ideas -- all great stuff ! :ok:

Some very tempting violence being suggested. :E

|<-- my wall's outer face
|________________<-- deck top surface (draining towards my wall)
|<-- damp course level (6" above ground)
|________________________<-- ground level
<<<<<water "lake" collecting here

To clarify -- the main problem is collection of water at the foundation of my building. The base is, I reckon, sitting in a big lake of water when it rains. The concrete base is thereby becoming saturated, since the damp-proofing membrane only protects against rising damp from below, as is normal practice. The water and damp is obviously getting in via the end and sides of the base and through the wall below the damp course. I'd have to remove the decking planks to have any chance of sealing the end of the base and lower wall.

Water running down the wall, which is the lesser of the problems, can be sealed out using the products mentioned, but I'd still need access to below decks (arrr, me hearties) by removing the decking.

I've considered "tanking" before, but the problem is I'd need to lay new base concrete screeding over the base membrane, plus block facing to the wall to sandwich the wall membrane and the cost becomes a bit too steep. I may as well rebuild the end of the building for similar cost.

Shy Torque has me thinking -- drill hole through wall from inside below deck level, but above ground level. One part poo to four parts water (or something similar to water), big funnel..................jees, you're a bad influence ! :E ;)

14th Feb 2004, 18:54
Indirect fire, its harder to trace.
A yes I'm an expert at this, tie a burning rag to a rat's tail and throw said rat on petrol soaked decking, that way they can't isolate the spot where the fire started and can't proove you did it :E

Oh no the voices, what's that you say? burn down the house next door....but but but the nice man in the big place said I've to stop listening to you

14th Feb 2004, 19:06

When you had the planning permission and building regs granted, was there also a "right of eavesdrop". This should have been added to the deeds and occurs when the wall of your property directly abuts your neighbours land. If your then neighbours wanted your the wall of your brick ****house as their boundary, did they put this in writing?

You could consider going to the small claims court, if you feel confident to present your own legal argument. The limit for a small claim is, I think, £5,000.

Would your current neighbours not have a claim against your previous neighbours for not disclosing potential problems with the decking?

However, from what you say, it sounds as if reasoned argument is not on their agenda so perhaps G-ALANs suggestion of molotov rat cocktail might be answer :E



14th Feb 2004, 21:20
I've considered "tanking" before, but the problem is I'd need to lay new base concrete screeding over the base membrane, plus block facing to the wall to sandwich the wall membrane and the cost becomes a bit too steep.

You would indeed have to lay another screed but you could quite satisfactorily just render over the membrane on the wall. In fact I believe synthaprufe, from memory, dries to a black rubbery finish. It might be possible to just paint over it when dry.

Cost you it will but unfortunately whatever course of action you take will cost money.

Without seeing the problem in person, is the decking of such a great area that the water collecting is that much more than would ordinarily collect on what is impervious ground beneath the topsoil?

Are you sure the problem would not be occurring anyway bearing in mind that we had a very long dry summer last year and that reservoirs are now up to normal levels due to the above average rainfall in recent months?

14th Feb 2004, 22:03
Have you spoken to the Citizen's Advice Bureau? My sister was having a problem a few years ago with one of her neighbours playing music very very loudly at all times of the day and night. The CAB were very helpful in organising the correct local council departments and police, which finally led to the neighbour being awarded an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and their hi-fi being confiscated. At that time it was a free service, and quite impressive as well.

Another alternative is to find out about legal insurance. I am not sure how common it is in the UK, but here in Holland it is often part of the house insurance. I have had cause to use it in an employment dipute and another instance involving our neighbours as well. We have cover upto €250,000, which is normally enough to cover most "normal" situations.

Don't start to aggrevate the situation by antagonising the neighbours, if you get caught you will end up catching hell from the cops. Despite the impression being given here that lawyers will bleed you dry, normally they will assess the situation and give you an estimate of what it is likley to cost and your chances of winning. It is up to you to decide then what the cost/benefit ratio is.

If all else fails a small balloon filled with petrol and a lit piece of string thrown over the fence will help dry out the damp and remove the decking.

West Coast
15th Feb 2004, 05:30
I'd do that to the cat even if I liked my neighbors, kind of a general purpose thing. Still have not found anyother reason for cats than to improve my reaction time in the car. Haven't missed one this week.

15th Feb 2004, 09:01
I sincerely hope you're joking West Coast. :mad:

You're not all that you know because you so happen to be a member of the 'superior species'. Other species have the right to live in peace & safety without you getting your jollies out of torturing & tormenting them. If its your idea of a joke sorry for the humour failure, I never find advocating cruelty to animals funny even if said in jest.


West Coast
15th Feb 2004, 13:21
It is jet blast after all, time to re read the warning on the front door.....

No, really I like cats. They taste good.

15th Feb 2004, 14:57
If you are finally able to do any waterproofing work on the outside of that wall, don’t forget to finish it off with paint. Brick or not, that exterior needs a coat of off-white paint upon which you may pen a paragraph or two (in four-inch high letters), making clear the fact that nobody likes them and that they’re completely worthless and that they are incapable of maintaining their property in a reasonable fashion (arrows pointing at the offending end of the deck with verbose explanation) and that sooner or later the police will discover the meth lab in their spare bedroom (etc, etc). Perhaps you might finish it off with a nice portrait of yourself (or a rat with a burning rag tied to its tail)… This would certainly add to their enjoyment of the deck...

Hey, how about one of those mirrors that makes you look fat (got one in my bathroom if you can't find your own :{ )? Do-up the whole side of the building in it...

PS I don't like the taste of cats. I think WC is not being totally truthful...

15th Feb 2004, 18:04
Ah Westie's a former US Marine! THAT explains it!

A wind up merchant if ever I met one :p

Anthony Carn
15th Feb 2004, 18:43
I think I'll need the Marines, amphibious craft and all, for this problem ! :rolleyes:

All further ideas noted, thanks. :ok:

15th Feb 2004, 18:57
Hi Anthony. I've had my moments with scummy neighbours in previous houses, so I know how lucky I am to live where I do now. My neighbour on the left had a garage built at the end of the garden many years before I moved here. His very low foundation has turned his model workshop into a damp and I'm sure unhealthy place. I've tried various ways of preventing seepage into his garage but all eventually fail if the water has nowhere else to go. I have always planned to build a shed next to his garage. Now the time has come, after getting 'permission from all neighbours, I have the chance to solve Fred's problem now by digging a drainage ditch between his foundation and what will be mine. My foundation will be lowered to match his and all drainage designed to prevent any water buildup however bad it gets. It has taken a lot of digging, time and will cost a bit more, but I value my relationship that much.

I would love to be able to suggest a solution that does not involve contact or access to your neighbours' property, but from the diagram and description you have provided, the only solution seems to be;- a) directing the water away from the area, and/or b) digging out a drainage ditch that can cope with the amount of water and foundation levels.

Since leaving the airport, most of my work has been designing and building high quality decking. I spend as much time designing the foundations and water drainage underneath as I do building the structure. Mainly because once the top deck is on, nobody can see what horrors may occur underneath, especially when putting decking next to or against a building.

I am in a position to offer you some help, be it advice, consultations and/or the labour to put it right (free of charge). Tell your neighbour that if he allows a decking expert to put it right, he gets use of said garden designer/builder for a day (you get the beers) as compensation for his inconvenience. If you're interested and he can be tempted, send me a PM.

Anthony Carn
15th Feb 2004, 19:29
Many thanks indeed, Tony_EM !" :)

The solution is to remove the deck planks, re-pack the support (whatever it is, but cross-beams are definitely there) and re-lay or renew the deck planks. That way the drainage will be away from my building, instead of towards it as at present.

Wall sealant/repellant would be applied, plus an impervious sheet (aluminium etc) to protect the wall from splashing and trickling. With drainage correct, there'd be no need to do any work below the DPC and I think that part of the support masonary would prevent it anyway, without a complete rebuild.

The only stopper is the neighbour's refusal. :(

I'm handy with a tool (ladies note), so could do it myself, but your offer of advice is very welcome.

With this in mind, I have a question ---- do you think that water collecting under a concrete slab/hardcore base would possibly cause susidence. Bear in mind that the slab at the wet end is a 10ft extension to the original, much bigger slab, albeit tied in to the original with 1/2" steel bars. It's, therefore, a 10ft X 18ft slab, sort of "on it's own" in terms of resisting the effects of weak (well, very wet, anyway) ground below.

Thanks ! :ok:

15th Feb 2004, 20:15
The rods will keep the base together so there sould not be any sideways displacement, but it is unlikely to prevent the two sections of base from bending at the joint if there is any subsidence to one particular section.

The ground will swell and contract depending on the supply of water and the material it is made of. Sandy or gritty soil can cope with very dry and very wet conditions with minimal subsidence. Clay and peat-type soils can be a problem, especially with long periods of dry weather where the soil can shrink quite a bit. The problem really starts when you have a significant water flow, like a mini stream where material can be washed away. This can cause considerable cavities which will grow until the earth that supports your foundation gives way. Your local survey maps should highlight any underground streams while a decent surveyor should be able to give you some details of the local water table levels. If your immediate area does not suffer from floods, chances are all good. (I live on Spring Rd. It never really clicked until I dug out my footings for a sunken BBQ area and it kept filling with water. Luckily, the gritty soil {mostly shingle after 2m depth} keeps the whole show above ground at constant level). To summerise; check the local survey maps, t4est your soil composition and contact a surveyor if you have any doubts.

I built my garage right next to a tree, knowing it will take some special techniques (lintels across the big roots). I also built decking around the tree and up against the garage, plus a kids 2-storey playhouse on the decking structure. (the tree-house section will be finished this spring). So far, the tree gets the water it needs and the garae doesn't, mainly because the drainage ditch between the two keeps them from 'fighting'.

I would imagine that the wall of your garage is set about 2-3 inches in from the edge of the foundation 'slab'. It is this small lip that can collect water (even under ground level) from where it will then seep in. If we can get to this ledge and build up a slope of cement so that it drains off without collecting, the main work is done, as long as the water then has somewhere to go. All depends on getting access to the area in question. Changing the slope of the decking won't completely cure the problem, since a large deluge will just find its way despite the decking sloping away.

If the decking groves are perpendicular to your wall, then the support beam underneath must be parallel. The interesting question here is whether it has its' own support, or whether this beam has been placed on your foundation slab. If so, then it is this beam which may be helping to collect water against the wall. I've even seen people drill holes into their neighbours walls to attach their support beams, which is a big nono.

If your neighbours won't take the bait, which you can assure them is a good deal, then go for access to their garden so you can assess the problem and then go from there. From what I can see, there should be very good reason to have a compulsory work order issued. Tell him if it goes this far, then the deal with the free days labour is off and it will cost him money instead.

2nd Oct 2004, 15:31
Guys, I wonder if anyone there has any experience of resolving fence disputes. We live next door to an old guy and according to our deeds, the fence between our properties is his. A couple of years ago, he had to have a huge tree taken out because it had become unsafe - this has left about 15 feet of our boundary with no fence. We have asked his a number of times to get it fixed, but his attitude is that 'its a fence, anyone (meaning us) can mend it'. As I mentioned before, the deeds are very clear - its his fence . . so where do we go from here ?

Any advice welcomed (and being Jetblast and before it is suggested, I dont want to put his fence where the sun doesnt shine)

2nd Oct 2004, 15:55
I would be inclined to get it sorted before the miserable old git pops his clogs and you get new neighbours who aren't so relaxed about life. :eek:

Pay for a new section of fence with the posts on his side.

I'm not a lawyer: I will bow to better advice.


wink wink
2nd Oct 2004, 16:10
If he is not willing to repair his own fence, which he has the right to do or not to do, build your own fence on your property. I am sure that is legally possible.

Toxteth O'Grady
2nd Oct 2004, 22:32
Try posting your question here. (http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/index.php)

3rd Oct 2004, 01:56
This topic has been aired quite a few times. You can do a search on the topic to find some previous bright ideas from prooners.

I remember in particular Anthony Carn had a tricky one (see here) (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=118942&highlight=fence) . I wonder how he's going nowadays.

3rd Oct 2004, 03:14
Good fences make good neighbors.

R. Frost
Thus the American spelling

3rd Oct 2004, 03:17
Perhaps a well placed herd of sheep wouldst inspire him to want to mend the hole in the fence. Just a thought, mind you.

Paul Wilson
3rd Oct 2004, 12:57
Preety sure that it is his right to have a fence, but not his obligation to have one, although it should be maintained. you only have to remember back a few years when new developments generally had 4 foot high chainlink fences to see that.

Think the situation is a bit different if he has livestock, which should be kept on in property, but even then it only has to be functional not pretty.

3rd Oct 2004, 19:19
Preety sure that it is his right to have a fence, but not his obligation to have one, although it should be maintained. you only have to remember back a few years when new developments generally had 4 foot high chainlink fences to see that.

Surly that cant be right - it is in the deeds of the property that he is obliged to maintain the fence - If its not his obligation, then what value are the deeds of the house ?

izod tester
3rd Oct 2004, 20:44
Try looking at this web site


It helped me.

3rd Oct 2004, 21:08
And read, in particular, the text headed "General Disclaimer".

Loosely translated, it means that if the question is important to you, and you need advice on it, go to someone who is qualified to give that advice (and who with a bit of luck carries professional liability insurance), ask the question of him or her, and pay his or her fee.

3rd Oct 2004, 22:23
Had a similar problem a few years back.

We had a panelled fence in our garden for privacy next to the neighbours fence - which they were responsible for. During a storm our fence was blown over. I had a***hole of neighbour knocking on door DEMANDING that I repair the (my) fence or cover up my pond in case one of his children came into my garden and fell in my pond!

Politely suggested he either control his children or repair his fence, but that if I was in I would happily rescusitate his child(ren) free of charge and not pursue them for damages incurred when they trespassed! Their fence was repaired next day!


3rd Oct 2004, 22:31
If I understand correctly, the fence (or what's left of it!) belongs to your neighbour, but he's not accepting any legal obligation to keep it in good repair. You, understandably, wish to see the missing panels and posts replaced, but to your neighbour, it's a matter of indifference. Have you suggested a compromise - sharing the cost? Three fence panels, a couple of posts and labour - say £100. Split 50/50, perhaps £50 each is not too high a price for peace and satisfaction? Good luck.

3rd Oct 2004, 23:04
Did the situation get resolved Mr. Carn?

3rd Oct 2004, 23:07
M. Mouse, you have very little chance of a response from the much missed Mr. Carn.

3rd Oct 2004, 23:14

You don't say where you live.

For what it's worth, in New South Wales, the law about the position of, and payment for, dividing fences is contained in the Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW) (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/dfa1991137/)

Essentially, adjoining owners are jointly responsible for the cost of construction and repair of a 'sufficient dividing fence', except in some circumstances set out in the Act.

I would suggest you take Davaar's advice and consult a solicitor in your local area.

3rd Oct 2004, 23:41
Well, its near London so . . .

Actually Davaar is right,we need to go to see a solicitor or what ever, but it is interesting to know if there are aspects of the issue other people have had - it also helps set expectation. I will be honest, I am absolutely astonished that the t's&c's spealt out in deeds seem to be worth nothing - why the heck do we pay lawyers to go through them when we buy a property if they mean nothing. I really dont want to believe its just a job creation scheme for those who abhore punctuation but from where I stand at this second,, that seems to be a possibility

4th Oct 2004, 00:21
I have obviously missed something.

Did his neighbour shoot him and bury him under the waterlogged deck?

tony draper
4th Oct 2004, 00:30
Made lossa money out of warring neigbours,to date have installed eleven cameras round one chaps house, best not start, it becomes a obsession.
PS, Not cheap Home base jobs either the real I am, hi res DSP cams, colour during the day, switch to infra red at night,, not been there for a while,I understand he has had a large razor wire fence built round his property now,his war has cost him a packet over the years, I get the feeling that should his dispute with his neigbour be settled, he would have nowt to live for, you have been warned.

4th Oct 2004, 01:47
No, he terminated his association with PPRuNe months ago. Spat the dummy and left.

4th Oct 2004, 02:19

These days, lawyers, at least those in the Antipodes, are trained to use plain words. One of my assignments in Law School was to redraft a Bank Deed of Guarantee into language that the proverbial person in the street could understand. From memory, Clause 2 contained 1,186 words in one sentence!

The Deed in question had been the subject of litigation. The Bank Manager who had given it to the customer didn't understand it; the customer who signed it didn't understand it; neither the plaintiff or respondent barrister could offer an opinion on what it meant; and the Judge hearing the case didn't really understand it either.

The lesson is:never sign any legal document until you have had the contents thoroughly explained to you by your legal adviser in plain language; and you fully understand and accept the terms and conditions in said document.

4th Oct 2004, 03:07
And yet, Argus, you Antipodean chaps are just rediscovering old practices from parts North.

The Act 114 of the IXth Parliament of James I of Scotland, 1429, provides for "Doomes Falsing" (i.e., appeals from judgment). The entire statute runs to 13 lines. The advocate, duly called to the bar, for the appellant, must say: "THAT DOOM IS FALS, STINKAND, AND ROTTEN IN THE SELFE, AND THEIRTO A BORGH (i.e., put up security for costs).

The only words printed in the original in capital letters are those quoted above.

Such satisfaction, however much we may share the sentiment, is alas denied to us latter-day advocates. Change and decay in all around I see.

4th Oct 2004, 03:17

But at least we 'Antipodean chaps' can take comfort from good Scots precedent - something which is apparently denied to the clients of Sassenachs!

4th Oct 2004, 04:26
In Scottish legal drafting we use punctuation, but in English drafting they suck in a deep breath at the beginning and carry on without pause until the very end. I asked an English solicitor: Why? He told me the objective was to avoid any ambiguity that might be introduced by faulty punctuation. It seemed less than persuasive to me, but it could be true all the same. I do not know whether or not he was right. Perhaps one of our English friends can throw light, or deeper gloom, on the topic?

4th Oct 2004, 05:40

In post Federation Australia, there was 1912 High Court authority to the effect that no regard should be paid to should be paid to the punctuation of an Act, on the grounds that "stops, which may be due to a printer's or proof reader's error, ought not to control the sense if the meaning is otherwise tolerably clear".

This view seems to have persisted until 1978 when Gibbs ACJ in Ryde Municipal Council v Macquarie University (1978) 23 ALR 41 at 44 referred to the interposition of the commas in a section to support his interpretation of it.

In Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, the respective Interpretation Acts provide for punctuation to be considered in ascertaining the meaning of legislation.

Our English colleague seems to be expressing the previously held Antipodean view, which doubtless found its way here courtesy of Blackstone.

4th Oct 2004, 09:47
EEEK - I appear to have been merged - a painless process which happened while I was on the train. Still, it is nice in here . . . .

I was also told that the reason that there is no punctuation in English legal documents was to avoid any unintentional emphasis being placed on words/phrases due to punctuation. Oh well, as much as I want to avoid getting into legal battles, it may be the only way.

4th Oct 2004, 11:01
Legal fees and hassle, versus the shared cost of a few fencing panels? :confused:

4th Oct 2004, 15:39
I agree, speke.

There have been almost seventy postings on this thread.

How many of these from any lawyer known to infest these pages recommends lawsuits, arson, mayhem, physical attack, etc? And how many from the laypeople?

4th Oct 2004, 20:04
You say it's wooden decking. Send me your address and I will post off a few samples of floorboard with very active and lively WOODWORM. Should do the job, but I don't know how long it will take...


5th Oct 2004, 16:15
I am an adviser with the Citizens Advice bureau. My advice is contact your local CAB, as others have suggested.
There are many things you can do, even the right of access to your neighbours land for repairs..

PM me for further info if you are unable to contact local CAB:ok: