If I remember right, the guy told you he did not want contact with you,
or for you to contact his kids? I may be thinking of another thread.
At this point, I would avoid contact (including eye contact :o).
A building permit here is for a certain period of time, I believe. Our
city just recently took action to force completion of a building started
about 5 years ago and then halted.
So, if the nails and unfinished fence are an issue, call the city code
enforcement dept and file a complaint. If not, plant some roses and
enjoy them :o) Enjoy those who are good neighbors and have them over
for a barbeque. I would not even think of going onto his property, and
he has every right to be offended if you touch anything on his property,
whether it is a dead bush or a pile of gold.
When the three year-old is outside playing, there is an adult in
attendance? Hope so.
If I were in your shoes, I'd take pictures of the fence and the
protruding nails. When you take the pictures, take them from an angle
that make the nails look as threatening as possible (i.e. long and
pointy). Then proceed to bend the nails, or (if there aren't too
many), cut them off with a Dremel tool. Note that cutting them off
will leave pointy nail heads all over the ground, so with young kids
you might not want to do that, or at least have a tarp on the ground to
"catch" them all. You'll probably want to do this when your neighbor
isn't around. (i.e. taking the pictures and bending or cutting them
Should any issue arise, you have the pictures as proof of a potential
hazard that your neighbor created. Should the neighbor come out and
yell at you while you're addressing the nails, tell him that you have
young kids and you don't want them getting injured on the nails, that
you've taken pictures, and that if he prefers you can go get a city
inspector to inspect the fence instead. Hopefully he'll realize that
you are going out of your way to save him the hassle and that will shut
Normally I'd talk to the neighbor before proceeding, but in this case
it sounds as though that might create an even bigger issue.
Now that I think about it, although I'm not a lawyer, I think that for
liability reasons (should there be any, although I doubt that there
would with young kids and safety at hand), should your neighbor take
you to court for "damaging his fence", you'd probably have to
demonstrate that you made at least one genuine attempt at notifying the
neighbor that there were 1/2" nail heads sticking out on your side of
the fence, and that the neighbor was negligent in addressing this
issue, before you went ahead and fixed the issue yourself.
So perhaps ring the doorbell, let him know, and tell him that you can
save him the trouble and fix the issue yourself. If he doesn't answer
the door, leave a note. If one month later the issue still hasn't been
fixed, go ahead and fix it.
Mind you, this might be a bit over-cautious.
Check to see if there is an expiration period for the permit, meaning
the job should be completed by a certain time frame inclusive of the
"Well, it doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens, it happens
Well, if there are codes that require the good side of the fence to face the
neighbors (ours does not), then I guess that is something else to check.
However, it would be irrelevant in this case because the "other side" of the
fence would simply be facing another fence (back-to-back).
It would depend on the circumstances whether it is irrelevant or not. Where
I am located, it would still be required to be installed good side out. The
logic is that if the original fence is ever taken down, the remaining fence,
still has the good side out.
Here, a permit and inspection is required to build a fence and there are
strict height restrictions also.
Did you need a permit to put up your fence, Mary?
Yes, I needed a permit. However, the permit basically required that the
fence be located a least 2 inches inside my property line. There wasn't
much more to it. There were some other requirements that did not pertain
to me because they applied only if the fence had been built within a certain
number of feet of the road. On the other hand, I also had a sunroom added
to my house last year. In that case, there were very specific requirements,
and the city inspector came to the house to "sign off" on the permit several
times as the building progressed.
Where I am located, I needed a permit, which was free, to build
my fence. I guess they wanted me to fill out the permit just to know if
I knew where the property lines are.
We have been having trouble with our neighbor for years over a
property line dispute. I finally went and had a survey done and found
out exactly where the line is and built the fence about an inch shy of
the line. That pissed him off. He was pissed because I built the fence
and he lost 4' of property that he thought was his. I even put the good
side out, which was not even mentioned or discussed when I went to get
The neighbors house was built in 1875 and ours in 1895. There was
a survey done in 1940 or '41, but I couldn't find the markers so had to
get a survey done to find them. They are clearly marked now, I can tell
We had some pretty flowers that came up every year on this
contested 4' strip and last year (2005) late spring he poisoned
everything in that area. After the fence was up, we reworked the soil
and have a flower garden growing again. Not as nice, but someday...
The fence is a white picket fence. We have an old, old, oak tree
out back that is 95% ours, (well, 95% of the base is on our side of the
line) and we found some granules poured on it earlier this summer. They
were poured on his side. I went over there and brushed them all away
from the base of the tree and washed them away from the base of the tree
with plenty of water. The tree is still thriving, but where I scattered
the granules all over his side, the grass and weeds died.
The neighbors house that I am writing about here is, and always
has been, an apartment building. He bought it 15 years ago as an
investment but since then the city has shut him down from renting it out
because of so many code violations. He finally moved out to leave the
building empty last Thanksgiving day. We had a Thanksgiving celebration.
He comes back about every 2-3 weeks to check on the place. He lives here
in town someplace.
Sorry for hijacking this thread.
It took my neighbor from hell five years, and several visits by
relatively ineffective cops, to finally leave me alone. Turf wars can
take an awful toll on people, even when they try not to "participate".
Sometimes breathing is highly irritating to the crazies :o)
I have had some awful slobs for neighbors, who also were pretty decent
people. I never thought of calling code enforcement on them .. it was
more fun to crack jokes about them when company came than to create
A fence with nails protruding is a safety issue, and one I wouldn't
hesitate to bring to the city's attention if my kids were at risk. Also
a good way for lawn care or utility folks to get a chunk of skin ripped
out. A game of ball might end with a child impaled in some unpleasant
way - I'm not into "tit for tat", but nobody has a right to create a hazard.
Take a hammer and bang them in flush.
I'd probably call the building inspector to see if he can have it rectified.
Either the idiot is unaware they are sticking out, or the SOB wants to cause
you harm and is having a good laugh about it. No matter what you do, it
will piss him off.
You might want to look into the concept of attractive nuisance. It's
the basis on which homeowners are held responsible for injuries and
deaths of kids who drown in their pools, even though they are
trespassing at the time.
'Attractive nuisance' is something building codes don't address, at
least in most cases. It's part of negligence law and in many states
may reside only in the court system. If not attractive nuisance, then
plain old nuisance, or plain old hazard. But I know the first one
applies even when the kid is on the other party's property. There
doesn't have to be a specific statute. It's just one more way of
being negligent. I'm not a lawyer, but you make a good case in your
paragraph about your kid that he or you should remedy this.
How long have the nails been sticking out? My projects tend to take a
long time to get finished, and you're probably hoping he will make the
fence look better before he nails it finally.
You have to compare the chance of your kid getting injured (perhaps
you could put up some temporary barrier to keep him away from the
fence, although other than snow fencing I can't think of one that
might not just make him fall into the nails.) versus the benefit of
his finishing the fence better.
Then maybe write him a letter saying that you are concerned about your
son, and that if he doesn't remedy the danger in so many days or
weeks, you will pound in the nails.
I wouldn't rely on some of the legal advice here. For example, there
certainly are times when you can force someone to do something. They
may retaliate in some other way, of course.
Yes, but it sounds to me that if one should personally start pounding
nails flush, that would be tampering with this neighbor's property,
regardless of which side.
I myself wouldn't take no crap from this neighbor. Apparently they have
no respect for you anyway, and what will be the best course I feel is to
show them that you are not going to take thier BS, or lack of
Don't wimp out, call out a city inspector, or code enforcement personel,
have them look at the fence.
They will take the appropriate measures needed, and work for you if they
find they are in violation of code. Mark.
hmmmmmmmm..................how about getting ready for halloween and
buying about 10 dozen eggs............have a good laugh
yourself.........probably think the neighborhood kids did
it.........just a thought. :-)
I just looked at the link you posted in which you described the origin of
your problem with the neighbor. He sounds frightening -- like an explosion
waiting to happen. Something is seriously wrong for anyone to act like
that, and I would want to take a *lot* of precautions to avoid confrontation
with him. This is not a commentary on your rights; I am now thinking about
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