I just would love to hear your opinion about this. There is a fence between
our house and neighbor. None of us build the fence. We bought the houses a
nd the fence was/is there. The neighbor are now doing waterproof the baseme
nt. So they are digging the area close to fence. They asked me if I will al
low them to move the dirt to my place (just easier than moving to the front
of their house). I said no (I do not want to get all the mess, they are hi
ring unprofessional workers and this has been going for 4 weeks. These work
ers do not have even the right tools to do the job). Anyway, yesterday we w
ere away when we came back we saw the fence boards are removed except the f
rame and the dirt moved to our backyard! (see pictures below please).
I expressed my disapproval strongly to the workers because the owner/neighb
or was not there. The workers said you are neighbor and you should help etc
and they promise to removed it today and said they put blue tar underneath
so my backyard will be clean after. I was angry with them because they did
not take my permission but then I said OK fine because I want to keep good
term between us. Today they said they can not remove the dirt and need ano
ther day. They asked kindly so I said that is ok but I want it to be remove
I have the back of the fence (if you can see from the picture). It seems th
e person who lived before my current neighbor built the fence but not sure.
Who really own the fence now? can each of us do anything with the fence wi
thout telling the other if they can do this or that?
Thanks a lot.
http://tinypic.com/r/25t7wy8/5(my house is to the Left)
http://tinypic.com/r/25g9bol/5(my house is to the Right)
http://tinypic.com/r/2432smq/5(my house is to the Right)
The fence might be on your land, it might be on your neighbor's land, or
it might be on the property line.
Don't you know where the property line is? Didn't you hire a surveyor?
Don't you have boundry markers?
Your pictures are no help in this situation.
From the looks of your photos it doesn't appear that strip on your side
of the fence was very well landscaped before the work began, so it'll
probably be no worse when the dug up soil is removed.
Do whatever you can to stay on good terms with your neighbor if that's
at all possible.
It's no fun to have to go on living that close to someone your at odds with.
Wishing you good luck,
On Friday, August 9, 2013 5:17:02 PM UTC-4, jeff_wisnia wrote:
es and the fence was/is there. The neighbor are now doing waterproof the ba
sement. So they are digging the area close to fence. They asked me if I wil
l allow them to move the dirt to my place (just easier than moving to the f
ront of their house). I said no (I do not want to get all the mess, they ar
e hiring unprofessional workers and this has been going for 4 weeks. These
workers do not have even the right tools to do the job). Anyway, yesterday
we were away when we came back we saw the fence boards are removed except t
he frame and the dirt moved to our backyard! (see pictures below please).
etc and they promise to removed it today and said they put blue tar undern
eath so my backyard will be clean after. I was angry with them because they
did not take my permission but then I said OK fine because I want to keep
good term between us. Today they said they can not remove the dirt and need
another day. They asked kindly so I said that is ok but I want it to be re
ure. Who really own the fence now? can each of us do anything with the fenc
e without telling the other if they can do this or that?
How can you stay on good terms with a neighbor when the neighbor
asked if they could pile dirt on your property as part of their
renovation project, you clearly told them no, and they did it
anyway? THAT created bad terms. And I'm not of the opinion that
you should just roll over and let neighbors like this get away
with it. If I didn't put them in their place, ever time I saw
them I'd be thinking how they stuck it to me and I let them get
away with it. Me, I'd call the cops and have them inform the
neighbors of the trespass laws.
If the fence is the OPs, the first thing I would suggest is for her to
tear down the raggedy-ass fence, let them do what they have to, and then
the OP can put up a cleaner, better looking fence. As long as the crew
returns her property to the same looking shit hole that it is now,
what's the problem?
This is a project that takes only a few days if they work full-time, a
few weeks if they don't.
It certainly is a lot easier to keep it at the side.
Any chance you're going to want to waterproof your basemnt from the
outside? Won't you want to pile the dirty on your neibhbor's
property while you do this?
A friend got a price on waterproofing from a company that promises to
succeed, and iirc, it was 10 thousand, or maybe 20. Even though
much of the work is unskilled. I would certainly be tempted to hire
temp workers to do this.
They certainly shouldn't have done this. Where were they putting the
dirt for the previous 4 weeks? Or were they working on a different
side of the house?
AIUI, only the owner talked to you and you said no, Maybe he
misunderstood you or maybe he just didnt' answer when his employee
asked where to put the dirt and what to do about the fence, and the
head employee decided to open the fence and put it on your property.
Yes, in the long run, that was the right thing to do. In the short
One day to a subcontractor is like a week. This is true no matter
how much or how little they charge.
Its ownership doesn't change. What trader4 said in his first
paragraph. BUT I don't think you need to get into this.
Only if it belongs entirely to one or the other of you. But even
then, it usually pays to keep one's neighbor informed. For
example, I don't think the frame of the fence looks bad, with the
possible exception of the top foot (which I can't see very well) So
after he's done, and if you're sure you wont' need to pile dirt on his
side of the fence, I would nail some planks to side of the fence
facing you, and then paint them a nice color. He might want to do
the same on ihs side. That's if you want to have a fence. Maybe
you don't really want one like some of the later posters say.
I agree very strongly. And while you call it a mess, Lisa, it
wasn't very pretty before hand either, was it. Given the close
quarters, and the amount of extra work they had to do, I would have
let them put down the tarp and use your space from the start. (Was
there no other way to get to the back yard, not from the other side of
the house, not from the rear. At least you could go though the
Again, I agree very strongly.
I wouldn't do anything Trader4 suggests in this second paragraph.
There is no way the n'bor will be convicted of any criminal charge,
and he shouldn't even face a civil suit.
If they are working on it every day it is not raining and it's dry
enough to work, they'll be done soon,
When your husband does something that requires a lot of nerve, you can
forgive him and try to have a better life in the future, or you can
divorce him and live somewhere else. In this case, neither of you are
moving and you'll have to live next to an angry n'bor for who knows
how many years. I have a semi-angry n'bor and it's not pleasant.
Tom R is also right.
I agree. This could easily be a communications error. The only important
questions are: will the area be returned to its previous state (or better)
and is the imposition enough to "go to war" over?
Yes. If there's the possibility of long-term damage it's a different story,
but with the right documentation, if the neighbor won't return your land to
its prior state, you can hire someone to do that and then stick them or
their insurers with the bill - eventually. Going to court should be the
How sadly true! (-:
not sure. Who really own the fence now?
Only a survey (or perhaps a notation on the county land records) is going to
say for sure whose side the fence is on and even that may not be the final
word depending on local laws or previous agreements between land owners.
Nor would I. The many possible bad outcomes seem to strongly outweigh any
good things that can come of it.
Not in any jurisdiction I've ever lived in, anyway. If my current
experience is relevant, when either neighbor "calls in the county" the
authorities are going to look for other violations/problems and the result
could be expensive for *everyone.*
The recent parking problems we had in my neighborhood have escalated into
open screaming matches in the middle of the street. The county's been out
and ticketed everyone for anything they could find, as if to say: "If *we*
have to come in to settle your neighbor disputes, everyone's going to be
Yes. This is a situation requiring monitoring and patience, not escalation.
I have a good neighbor now and it's a much better way to live. You never
know when you're going to fall off a ladder and your life will depend on
your neighbor calling 911 promptly instead of walking away and deciding to
let your litigious ass rot in the grass. (-:
On Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:37:59 PM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
The problem is there is already a bad outcome. She has a neighbor
that doesn't give a damn about her or her property rights. The
neighbor has trespassed and piled debris on her property after
specifically being told not to do so. They even threw it right against
the house. They lied about putting a tarp down to keep it neat. No way I would ignore that and let some skunk walk all over me.
Yeah, I suppose if you have a toxic waste dump on your property.
Or you're parking your car on the neighbor's property without
permission. But if you call the police to get the skunk neighbor to stop
trespassing, they aren't going to search your house.
Sure, be a pussy and let a neighbor trespass and use your
property to store construction debris on, instead of their own.
Not in my world.
The problem of course is that she doesn't have a "good" neighbor.
A "good" neighbor would not have done what this one just did. So,
the problem already exists. The only remaining issue is whether you
want to be someone who lets someone walk all over you or if you are
going to stand up for your rights.
To me, it's still a *seemingly* bad outcome until it's all over and they
haven't restored my property to the pre-work state. My late mom, whom I
loved dearly, was of the same mind as you. She had the best-maintained
property in the neighborhood and didn't tolerate anyone even letting leaves
blow onto the lawn. Life was hell, culminating in the great "Dead Squirrel
in the Road" incident.
I agree that someone blew her off and dissed her. Was it deliberate or a
communications error or even a worker being told what to do precisely and
doing something else? My experience is that until you're absolutely sure,
you should assume error and not malice.
No toxic waste dump but it turns out nearly everyone around me got cited for
something. Trash cans not properly secured, parking violations and a number
of things no one really cared about until the "Great Parking War" began.
Now cars are getting keyed and the animosity rate is through the roof. This
stuff only feeds on itself which is why I tend to make damn sure I am the
victim of a malicious act before I go off and start making serious trouble.
As I believe Wes noted, don't attribute to malice what can be explained by
stupidity or alcohol.
I've seen the pictures of Leza's home - there's not much room to store
anything. I think you said it a while back about tree removal. This is not
quite - but almost - a case of exigent circumstances. Not enough room to
maneuver. Besides, I grew up watching the 50's westerns where the guys in
the white hats always made sure the bad guys deserved what they got. Maybe
it means turning the other cheek while you're unlocking the safety on your
Glock, but if I have to lower the hammer on someone, I want to be absolutely
sure they deserve it. *especially* a family member or a neighbor. This
case doesn't rise to what I would consider "deserving of a dropped
ammer" - yet.
I submit that you can't tell that from a single incident. You can lean
strongly in that direction based on what's been reported here. As a former
reporter I can assure you that the other side will probably present a very
logical, non-malicious reason why they did what they did. Even if this
intrusion went to a *real* court, and not Judge Joe Brown, you would *have*
to have given them a reasonable chance to restore your property before you
could collect on the cost of having it done yourself. When the judge asks
Leza "What did it say in your written agreement about the work?" where will
she be? She'll be in the capital city of the land of "very reasonable
doubt." It's already a case of "he said/she said" and we only have the "she
said" said as no one wrote anything down, with a "writing" being the gold
standard of deciding who breached the agreement.
This is only a burned potato, not a tragedy, and the workers and the
neighbor still have an opportunity to set things right. More importantly,
Leza's learned it might not be a bad idea to hammer out some sort of written
memorandum any time "cross-border" work needs to be done even though I think
that's a bit much.
While I wouldn't escalate, nor call the cops (they *really* don't like being
the heavies in neighbor fights) I would make sure to bake that cake Vic
suggested and deliver it along with a conversation about how concerned I was
that they didn't do what they told me. I would find out why what happened,
happened as it did. If the neighbor wasn't malicious, he'll apologize, if
not, well revenge is a dish best served cold and if you know me, I've said
repeatedly "If you want real justice, don't call the cops, just take care of
No one has ever "walked all over me" but I learned from some pretty smart
people to "pick my battles." I also learned that like family fights, spats
with neighbors have a much greater downside at almost every turn than they
have an upside. I get the feeling a lot of other posters here have made
that same discovery.
This was a screw-up that needs resolution, I will agree to that much, but I
think the investigation's incomplete and if this guy's an ass, there will be
no shortage of opportunities to draw down on him for *something* because it
will happen again. I always like to reconnoiter before striking at an
enemy. Unless it's a drunken neighbor babbling incoherently and pointing a
high-powered rifle around in a threatening manner. That's a scenario I hope
never to have to face but if I have a clean shot and he's already fired off
a round, he's getting all 14 from me.
She has a questionable neighbor at this point. If he's really a bad one he
will not clean up satisfactorily. *That's* when I would start the hard line
approach because I've lived with angry neighbors and happy neighbors and I
prefer the latter. I believe that's particularly important when your
neighbors are so close you can spit on them.
I want a neighbor that can phone me if the van interior light's stuck on,
who will share their generator with me during outages, who occasionally
borrows my Sawzall but always returns it with a package of new blades, who
keeps an eye on my house when I am away and whom I can trust to pick up my
mail or even hold a spare key. I'll agree, this neighbor doesn't sound like
one of those, but one incident does not a profile make. He could be a good
guy with a bad crew.
I am guessing that unbeknownst to Leza, she was communicating in sign
language and even if she said "should we attack Mexico with nuclear
weapons?" they would have said "Yes, yes!"
Part of any binding contract is a "meeting of the minds" and I am just not
certain that's occurred here.
On Monday, August 12, 2013 10:29:43 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
Even if they do restore it, they still disregarded your refusal
to allow them to use your property. That is already a bad outcome
because it will effect the relationship for years, possibly forever.
My late mom, whom I
I never said that I would not have allowed the neighbor to
use my property to pile their dirt on. None of us know the
full situation here. We do know that Leza said that if they
didn't pile it on her property they would have to move it
farther, to the front of their own property. We can't see
exactly how far that is or what it entails, but it doesn't
sound like it's difficult or that it's going to add some
huge expense to the project. It's probably 25 ft.
To decide, I would have to
know all that, plus what my relationship with the neighbor
has been like. If it's really necessary and I have no
reason to dislike the neighbor, etc, then I would have
allowed it. But I would have insisted on a signed release
from both the neighbor and the contractor making me not
responsible for any injuries that may occur, stating that
everything must be put back to original condition, etc.
The problem, as I see it, is that isn't the situation.
They asked, Leza clearly said no, and they went ahead and
did it anyway. That's already a bad outcome.
Here is what I would have done. Upon finding this, I would
have gone and talked to the neighbor and asked them to explain
themselves. What they said, how they acted, would determine
what I would then do. If they were contrite, apologetic, and
had a decent story, even if it was a lie, I'd probably tell them they
could continue, provided they signed the release outlined above.
But if they ignored me, or gave me any attitude, then I'd tell
them that until they show me proof of insurance, no one is to
set foot on my property again or it's trespass. And with the
proof of insurance, they have
24 hours to get the dirt out and put everything back as it was.
IF not, I'm having it removed and sending them the bill.
It's 100X more likely this is caused by a neighbor who just
doesn't give a damn, as it is by one that's stupid or drunk.
And being drunk or stupid isn't an excuse.
That isn't what she said. She said they could have put the dirt
on their own property, it just required moving it a little farther.
Besides, I grew up watching the 50's westerns where the guys in
That is simply not true. There is no reason you have to let
someone who damaged your property have a chance to fix it.
Someone hits your car. Are you going to let them try to get
the dent out? Or pick the body shop to do the work? You're
confusing that with cases where you hire a contractor and the
job doesn't come out to your satisfaction. Then you usually
are expected to give them a chance to correct it, but even
that isn't absolute. If, for example, what they have done
is so sub-standard that it shows they are totally incompetent, then
you can refuse to allow them to try to correct it. But when
someone trespasses and dumps material on your property,
you're under no obligation to let them correct it.
When the judge asks
What written agreement? It's highly unlikely any contract she
has with the contractor says anything about where the dirt is
going to be piled. And even if it does, that's between her
and the contractor, not LEza.
She'll be in the capital city of the land of "very reasonable
There was no agreement with the neighbor.
OMG. They shit in your hat and you bake them a cake?
This is actually kind of funny, because I've asked you
before what you would do with some of the world's bad
guys, like the Taliban after 911. I asked if instead of
bombing them, you'd send them a cake. Well, here it is!
BTW, how's that cake approach working for Obama with Putin?
I would find out why what happened,
I prefer to deal with the here and now where Leza is 100%
in the right, rather than make up some half baked thing
I always like to reconnoiter before striking at an
You can already see that the contractor threw dirt right
against her house. No tarp, which they lied about. And also,
besides the neighbor, if you were the contractor, wouldn't
you have talked to the neighbor before piling dirt on their
property, regardless of what the other homeowner told you?
*That's* when I would start the hard line
Yeah, but it's a bit odd that this has apparently been going
on now for awhile. Leza has talked to the contractor. The
neighbor has eyes and ears. You would think the neighbor would
be over there apologizing with that cake. That's how it works
in my world.
Of course it didn't occur here. There was no agreement. She
explicitly told them NO.
Frankly, I don't think you have any real problem here. It looks like they
are just digging down next to their house to probably parge and/or replace
their basement wall on that side, and maybe do some other things there to
try to waterproof their basement. They probably had to do the digging by
hand (meaning shovels) because there is so little room there. And, they are
right that it would have been much more difficult to try to move the dirt
out front as they dig. And, it looks like when they are done, they are
going to have to put the dirt back in the hole anyway. So, why make them
dig the dirt, move it out front, then move it back again to put it back in
the whole. And, as someone else wrote, it doesn't appear that you had any
real landscaping going on there anyway.
If it were me in your situation, I would have just let them do what they are
doing and put the dirt on my property, and then move the dirt back off of my
property afterward when they re-fill the hole. And, I'm sure their plan is
to put the fence back together.
They probably covered the dirt with the blue tarp so if it rains the dirt
doesn't wash all over the place and maybe even back into the hole that they
My vote is to just let them do what they and leave them alone about it.
OMG, you are going to let the neighbor WALK ALL OVER YOU. CALL THE
COPS, Get an injunction. Run up a bunch of legal bills. Get a
survey, stop all work till it's surveyed. Call in the Marines. Make
life as difficult for the neighbor as possible, it's the only way to
prove what a man you are.
Sure, spend your days and nights calling out the Marines (do they have them
in Canada) and escalating the whole situation. Make it an ego issue --
"they can't do that to ME!", etc.
I think not. My vote still is to just lighten, let it go, and move on.
It's no big deal and it will work out in the end. They just need some time
to finish what they started.
Agreed. I can certainly tell which posters here would make the kind of
neighbors that most people seriously hope to avoid.
My neighbor just recently came onto my property, cut down at least 20
branches from a mulberry tree stump that's come back to life, neatly stacked
the branches in MY driveway (unused area) and then took them to the curb on
yard waste collection day. To some people here, that would be grounds
enough to call in Seal Team Six to assassinate her. (-: The reality is she
did a lot of work I would have had to do eventually.
On Fri, 9 Aug 2013 12:42:55 -0700 (PDT), leza wang
After the workers remove the dirt, bake you neighbors a cake and thank
them for having that fence torn down.
It was an eyesore and served no purpose. It's totally stupid and was
probably put up by one of the previous owners when he was feuding with
his neighbor. Scrap wood and time on his hands.
When houses are close to one another like that, all such a fence does
is make maintenance difficult on that side of the houses.
Hard enough getting the right footing for a ladder in such a narrow
space without a useless fence in the way.
You should offer to go half and half on fences from house to house at
the ends, with a gate in back.
Keeps it from being a pathway for kids.
While you're it, make it level and top it with gravel.
Even weeds won't grow there.
You should really restrain your inclination to be a bitch about this,
and work with your neighbor.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.