General chatter - Bad neighbors

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08-16-2007, 01:56 PM
Hey guys, I want your opinions!

We have a guy whose mother owns the house next door to us. He rents out the house (his mom is in a nursing home). Well before they rented it, they put up a fence inbetween the properties. First of all, it is BACKWARDS and the metal posts are on our side (he refused to turn it around). Secondly, we told them we DID NOT want a gate on our side (to go from the front yard to the back). So the fence went up when we were on vacation - along with metal posts for a gate. He insisted on finishing the gate even though we told him we didn't want it. So this was LAST SEPTEMBER. Last night was the first time we've seen him since. He brought us a bill for the materials for the gate! I couldn't believe this... DH already hates this guy because he really talks down to him just because he is older. I called him and told him we had no intention of paying for something we told him we didn't want. He told us just to "do what we think is right". I was willing to leave it at that, but my parents think we should take the gate down. A friend suggested sending a letter and saying that we had no intention of paying for the gate because we said we didn't want it, and that if he wanted us to take it down we will. I think something in writing is a good idea. More than likely, the guy won't ever say anything to us about it again, but my mom is afraid the guy has mental issues and might not consider this a "final solution", like he will still think he should get paid since he put it up.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I talked to his tenants (who hate him) and found out that the reason he's doing this is because his daughter is getting married and he needs money, because he's trying to get extra money out of them too. WTF?

So do you think a certified letter stating that we aren't going to pay for it and offering to take it down if that is what he wants is enough?

08-16-2007, 02:11 PM
Sorry, I just saw your post and then read it....

I really wouldn't offer to take it down. You should probably talk to a lawyer. If you offer to take it down, it could be misconstrued as your having some ownership of it, and thus set you up to get billed for it.

If anything, I would send him a registered letter indicating that you did not request that he put up the fence, and in fact informed him that you did NOT want the fence - or the gate - or anything whatsoever, and that you cannot and should not be held liable for any expenses incurred in putting it up, taking it down, or anything else.

Just my two cents...

08-16-2007, 02:15 PM
Well we don't want him on our property taking it down. What if he "slips" (and sues us) or his hammer "accidentally" falls into the side of our house, causing us damage?

I did call a friend who is a lawyer to ask her as well, and I'm waiting to hear back from her.

08-16-2007, 03:34 PM
He put up a gate on your property? How strange.

08-16-2007, 03:59 PM
are the posts on your side of the property line, or just on your side of the fence? Because it is standard practice for the posts to go on the outside of the owners fence so the owner gets the good side and the neighbors the bad side...always seemed backwards to me too. Unless you get the style called a "good neighbor fence"

If the fenceline is on your property you may want to look at taking it down because you will be responsible when you sell your house for fencing on your side of the line. I agree though, I would not have him do it.

Dont pay him. Unless you had an agreement ahead of time you are under absolutely no obligation to split costs for a fence. If he presses tell him that you wont sue him for trespassing but he better give it up. If he presses, counter sue for unlawful tresspass and property damage. Get an estimate from a professional for the cost of removing the fence and filling the holes.

08-16-2007, 04:13 PM
The guy sounds like he's a few bricks shy of a full load. I wouldn't offer to pay him a dime. I've had a neighbor dispute before and we ended up using a court appointed mediator. It was over a fence issue. (Neighbors fence wasn't tall enough to contain her Pit Bulls). We tried to settle it peacefully to begin with but she pointed a gun at my XH when he went to talk to her about it. We finally gave up and sold that house.

A registered letter sounds like a good idea. I'd spell it out that you specifically didn't want the fence or the gate and therefore you do not feel responsible for the cost of it. If he wants you to pay for it, I'd make him get something in writing (legally) to say what your obligation is. Even at that, I would fight it.

08-19-2007, 10:18 AM
Yeah, this guy is older (above 60, I'm sure) and I think he has some memory and mental issues.

Just wanted to state to the poster who said otherwise - there is actually a law or code or whatever that states that the fence MUST be facing the outside of the owner's yard. So the metal posts should be visible from HIS backyard, and not mine. The reasons for this are
(1) why should someone be forced to see the inside of a fence they didn't put up? the people on the other side should get the benefit of seeing the "nice" side of the fence
(2) in order to maintain the fence, the person needs access to the side with the posts. Well that side is in our yard, and he would need to come onto our property to do any maintenance. Again, if he slips or something while doing so, he could sue us because he is on our property.

We didn't care about the fence going up. They told us they were going to do it, and asked us to go half but we said no, we didn't have the money, and we had no plans to take down the fence that existed (even though it was very old and chain link) and replace it. So we took down the other fence and the trees all near it so they could put up their fence. They asked if we wanted a gate going into our backyard and we said yes at first, but then changed our minds and said no (and reminded him a million times because he kept forgetting that we changed out minds), we couldn't afford it. Eventually when we had the money, we would pick out one that we wanted and do it ourselves.

They put up the fence when we were on vacation. We came home, it was BACKWARDS (with the metal posts visible from our yard) and there were two metal posts in our yard for a gate. We told him not to do ANY more work on the gate, that we didn't want it and had told him that. But he said "oh no its fine, I have the materials" and we said "we don't want it!!!" and he came back another day and put it up when we weren't there. So that is why I refuse to pay. We never agreed to it and told him we didn't want it!

I think what is getting this guy is that at first, we did say YES we wanted a gate, and a week later changed our minds. We told him about 10 times that we changed our minds and didn't want a gate. But it seems like he just clung to that first "yes" that we told him and couldn't get it out of his head.

Seriously, I am not looking forward to having to live next to this guy. I mean, he actually rents out the house and the renters are AWESOME, but they are leaving in October (when their lease is up) because they can't take him as a landlord. I hope someone else nice moves in, and that after this whole fence/gate thing is taken care of I NEVER have to see this guy again. DH feels exactly the same way!

08-19-2007, 10:40 AM
You usually don't wanna burn bridges with neighbors...God I'm so glad we have WONDERFUL neighbors...but in this case, I'd say the bridge hasn't only burned, but it's floated down stream.

I'd send this guy notice...have a lawyer do it...that you are not paying for the gate you requested he NOT put up, that the fence is backwards as per law (and state the code), that you request he immediately rectify this matter, and that you will be removing the gate as he is not to enter your property or it will be considered tresspassing.

If you don't, you may be in for a long haul. This guy has somehow gotten the impression that he can walk all over you. A letter like that may shock him into the realization that you're not people he can mess with and he just may leave you alone in the future.

08-19-2007, 11:04 AM
Well the problem with that is that he never surveyed the property before he put the fence up, and never got permits. Once we go to the town, they will tell him to take it down and get a survey and permits and then he can put it back up.

That is too much of him being near our house than what my husband would care for, and me too actually. So we're willing to put up with it being backwards. We are going to buy trees to cover up the posts with. My husband suggested sending him the bill :lol: