fence issue with neighbor

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Hi 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 d tomorrow.
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)
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Leza,
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.
Dave M.
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leza wang wrote:

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,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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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 moved tomorrow.

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.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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?
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On Fri, 9 Aug 2013 15:25:02 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

You need to get a gun and go shoot them.
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On Fri, 09 Aug 2013 17:17:02 -0400, jeff_wisnia

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?

That's good.

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 run too.

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 house.)

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.
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<stuff snipped>

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 last option.

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.
<stuff snipped>

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 sorry."

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. (-:
--
Bobby G.




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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.
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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.
<stuff snipped>

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.
<stuff snipped>

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 business."

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.
--
Bobby G.



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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 later.
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.
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leza wang wrote:

Hi Leza,
Welcome back.
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 are digging.
My vote is to just let them do what they and leave them alone about it.
Good luck.
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TomR wrote:

<snip>

A voice of reason among the cries of the lynch mob, good response and Leza should listen.
--
PV

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too
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PV wrote:

I concur for the sake of good will between neighbors. If you start a war between neighbors no one wins.
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wrote:

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.
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Ashton Crusher wrote:

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.
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On Friday, August 9, 2013 8:54:44 PM UTC-4, Tony Hwang wrote:

The war has already been started and it was clearly started by the neighbor. Maybe you will let people walk all over you and treat you like some bitch, but it's not my way.
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<stuff snipped>

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.
--
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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.
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On Fri, 09 Aug 2013 16:48:03 -0500, Vic Smith

if both you and the neighbour want a fence, split the cost. If you want a fence and the neighbour does not, you pay for the new fence..
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