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Please Help Us Deal With A Nasty Neighbor
April 24, 2009 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Please help us figure out what to do about our nasty neighbor. We have a chain link fence between our yards. Because we were on great terms with the people who used to live there before her, their detached garage forms part of the fence that keep our two Labrador dogs in our yard. Two short sections of fence on her property connect their garage to the rest of OUR fence. She just told us that she is going to take those sections down tomorrow, which means our dogs will be able get out of our yard. That is what I need advice about ASAP.

Here is some background. Today we came home from work to find that she had all the branches of our two maple trees that over hang her yard trimmed at the property line (although some were trimmed well back on our property). It looks like crap. She also did the same thing to all her other neighbors last year. I've heard that she is blaming the poor condition of her black top driveway on our trees, even though she has never sealed it or done any maintenance on it in the ten years she has lived there.

For years she has blown most of her leaves into our front yard. She stopped when I finally called the police about it. But now she leaves them on the edge our property line, knowing that they will eventually blow into my yard and I will clean them up. Apparently she thinks that since some of them came from my trees, those leaves, along with the leaves from her trees, and any leaves that blow into her yard from other neighbors should all be my problem.

She has been feuding with all her other neighbors for years. We have had many other issues with her but we have gone out of our way to avoid starting a feud. We are not very friendly with her but we are not hostile either.

We have gotten to know her well enough to believe that talking with her is probably not going to work. I am also not in the mood to talk nice anymore.

What can we do to keep the fence intact or at least delay her until we can get a twenty-five foot section put up? I am willing to spend money on a lawyer or legal solution.

We live in upstate NY if that matters. When she bought the house we signed an agreement saying that we would not try to usurp the small piece of property next to her garage that we were using.
posted by 14580 to Human Relations (43 answers total)
 
If asking her to hold off for a week or so is actually out of the question, or if she responds negatively to it, how about just getting chains to put your dogs on, until you're able to fence them in again?
posted by Flunkie at 2:55 PM on April 24, 2009


If it's her fence, I doubt there's anything you can do short of asking her to give you a couple of days. Some fencing companies (especially in this economy) may respond very quickly with a bid for the work, but if you're in a more rural area there may not be many choices. Even still, you're probably looking at a few days, at least. Can you get some temporary fencing from a Home Depot?
posted by Pantengliopoli at 2:59 PM on April 24, 2009


Previously on AskMeFi for temporary fencing. And keep in mind that, if she's been embroiled in disputes with her other neighbors for years, she probably has her lawyer on speed dial.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:59 PM on April 24, 2009


She's a difficult neighbor, and reasoning with her is out of the question. However, she's within her rights to take down her sections. That means you're going to have to put up something in a hurry. Lawsuits, lawyers, forget about it. Not worth it, and likely can't get done in less than 24 hours anyway. Besides, if the dogs get out, what good is a lawyer except as a tool of revenge?

I recommend contacting a fence rental company to come out ASAP and put up a 25' section of chain link fence. All the history with her is irrelevant, except that it establishes a precedent that talking to her is pointless, so a fence rental company is the fastest solution to keep your dogs in until a more permanent fence section can be built.

Keep in mind that you should be around tomorrow, in case the workers elect to start before the temporary fence is up; you don't want them getting bitten or otherwise hurting themselves if the dogs surprise them, and (of course) you don't want them running away.
posted by davejay at 3:00 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Call a lawyer. You might have an easement. Since she's allowed you to use her property for so long, it's possible it has become something that she just can't take away on a whim. IANAL.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:03 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for anyone viewing this thread, and for you in the future: if someone says "hey, sign this saying you won't ursurp my land", and their land has something on it that you rely on, make them sign something saying "hey, you will maintain [thing] and won't dismantle [thing] without X days/weeks notice."
posted by davejay at 3:03 PM on April 24, 2009


If you've got money to spend on a lawyer, I'd save it and spend it on a privacy fence instead. For now, you could do one of the temp fences or rentals as already recommended, but in the long run, I would think that a solid wood fence between your properties would be money well spent from your perspective.
posted by peep at 3:05 PM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Easement or she has to show why not.
posted by Freedomboy at 3:06 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Since the fence is on her property, it sounds to me like there's not a whole lot you can do. It's not a "shared fence," legally. Consulting a lawyer is obviously the best course of action, but since it's after 5 on a Friday, that's not an immediate fix, eh?

She doesn't sound all that rational, so I think YOU need to be rational for everyone, at least in the beginning. Explain to her that if she removes those sections of fencing tomorrow, your dog will have access to her yard. And since you had no warning with which to provide a sturdy alternative, there's not a lot you can do to prevent him from digging up her plants and whatnot. Explain that if she would wait until there was a more workable alternative, it would be better for her, you, and the dog.

And if she refuses, well, put up the ugliest barrier you can. Score some wooden pallets or some orange construction fencing for a temporary dog barrier on YOUR side of the property. Don't worry it about being pretty. (In fact, go all out to make it ugly.)

And when she complains, very sweetly remind her that you asked her to hold off, and that this will have to do until you come up with a more permanent solution.

If it were a shared fence, you could call the cops when she started dismantling it. I don't think that'll work in this case, though.

You could call the police department's non-emergency number, though, and get some advice from an officer. Present it like this: You had no warning, you've just learned that your neighbor will be removing the fence over the weekend, and you're concerned about violating local leash laws. See if they have any advice, or even if they'll talk to her.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:08 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


If she's as nasty as you say, and she's making some moves to reclaim the strip of property behind her garage (immediately facing your property), you may want to see if you can figure out what she's planning on doing.

If she's going to start storing her piles of trash there, for instance, that might affect the type of fence you'd want put up on your property line.

Best of luck. Sucks about the trees. Some people are just nuts.
posted by Aquaman at 3:08 PM on April 24, 2009


I have orange construction fence that I could put up temporarily. It is just that I've had it with her.

I guess what I really want to know is if there is some kind of legal solution I can pursue by either calling the police or suing her. If that isn't an option, then I am wondering if I should just go to war with her. I think she is a bully and sometimes you have to stand up to bullies. But if she doesn't back down, then it could get very nasty, and neither one of us is planning on moving anytime soon.
posted by 14580 at 3:11 PM on April 24, 2009


I guess what I really want to know is if there is some kind of legal solution I can pursue by either calling the police or suing her. If that isn't an option, then I am wondering if I should just go to war with her. I think she is a bully and sometimes you have to stand up to bullies. But if she doesn't back down, then it could get very nasty, and neither one of us is planning on moving anytime soon.
So, I didn't understand this "stand up to a bully", "go to war", and "get very nasty" aspect of the question when I originally answered. I thought you were asking how to deal with the fact that the fence is coming down tomorrow.

So, given that, frankly, I think your best bet is to solve the actual, immediate, pressing problem by putting up the fence, and solve the "I hate my jerk neighbor" problem by ignoring her.
posted by Flunkie at 3:19 PM on April 24, 2009


I guess what I really want to know is if there is some kind of legal solution I can pursue by either calling the police or suing her.

If it's on her property and you signed that piece of paper, no.

I am wondering if I should just go to war with her.

If the alternative is to put up a really tall privacy fence and pretend she doesn't exist, no.

I think she is a bully and sometimes you have to stand up to bullies.

She's not a bully; she's simply a person that's working within the constraints of the law to maintain her property as she sees fit, without concern for how it impacts her neighbors. That's not a bully, that's an inconsiderate neighbor. That makes her unlikely to listen to reason, and the alternative -- forcing her to be considerate -- would require you to be the bully.

if she doesn't back down, then it could get very nasty, and neither one of us is planning on moving anytime soon.

Which is why escalating this is the last thing you want to do. After all, as inconsiderate as she is, she hasn't broken the law at this point, and she isn't doing anything to your property directly -- just not taking your needs into account when dealing with her own property.

Bottom line: make sure the rest of the fence is on your property, and make sure it's tall and blocks your view of each other, then pretend she doesn't exist.

Later, if she complains that she doesn't like how it looks or whatnot, simply (and calmly) state that if she wanted you to take her needs into account when you built the fence, she should have done the same when she pulled down her fence pieces. Then you get to walk away feeling smug, which is always nice.
posted by davejay at 3:25 PM on April 24, 2009 [15 favorites]


The police aren't going to get involved beyond making sure it doesn't escalate to violence. If she has left the fence on her property for years it is possible she has lost the right to remove it. Only a property lawyer can tell you that for sure though.

When I had neighbor issues at a previous residence I installed a motion sensitive camera system that recorded to a VCR anytime motion was detected along the perimeter my property. I never really caught anybody anything, but it was nice for peace of mind. If you are somewhat obvious about the installation just the knowledge that she is being watched can do wonders for her behavior. Or she could postal. You never know.

Also the cameras had a super sensitive microphone and I did pick up a lot on interesting conversations!
posted by COD at 3:26 PM on April 24, 2009


To those suggesting an easement has resulted, the part where the OP says When she bought the house we signed an agreement saying that we would not try to usurp the small piece of property next to her garage that we were using probably negates that.

If I were you, I'd get a new fence ASAP that didn't rely upon her property to be effective and do my best to ignore her.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:29 PM on April 24, 2009


Sounds like she thrives on antagonizing her neighbors--it's one thing to be kind of thoughtless or a little prickly as a neighbor, but her behavior shouts "See what I did? Did you see? What I did? See? Whatcha gonna do about it?" If I were you, I'd look into a tall, solid fence to put up between your property and hers, then ignore her. She wants a reaction. I'd try my very best not to give her one.
posted by Meg_Murry at 3:36 PM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by 14580 I am wondering if I should just go to war with her. I think she is a bully and sometimes you have to stand up to bullies. But if she doesn't back down, then it could get very nasty, and neither one of us is planning on moving anytime soon.

Invite her over for coffee and cookies and explain you'd really appreciate it if she'd wait a few days before she removes her fence. If she's unwilling to wait, you can rent temporary chainlink fencing or set up some bright orange construction fencing until you can build your own fence.

Before you "go to war" with her, you should ask yourself exactly what outcome you want, and the price you're willing to pay to achieve that outcome. Explaining your situation nicely and maybe buying a roll of construction fencing will be easier, cheaper, and less stressful than fighting her in court. If she's a bully, fighting you in court is probably exactly what she wants. You'll lose money, time, and peace-of mind, and ultimately she'll win the dispute because it's her fence.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:37 PM on April 24, 2009


I think you are better off taking the high road, and getting a tall privacy fence installed on your property, the full length of the back and front yards. Getting embroiled in a dispute with her will cost just as much as a privacy fence, and undoubtedly bring you more stress. She sounds like the sort of person who probably takes some secret glee in disputes of these kind, knows exactly what her rights are, and is careful to stick to what is within her rights even if its mean and petty behavior. Just not worth it. The privacy fence means you see less of her, and as a result will be less troubled by her. Put a call into a contractor today to find out about getting estimates for the fence, and in the meantime use your orange temporary fencing.
posted by Joh at 3:41 PM on April 24, 2009


If she's planning on taking the fence down tomorrow, you have to talk to her. You're not going to have a lawyer draft a letter and mail it to her before she gets started.

You could talk to her and tell her that you plan on seeking an easement. Or you could tell her that you considered seeking an easement, but instead you've decided to ask her to hold off removing the fence until you can put up something on your side of the property line and oh, it would be so unfortunate if you had to usurp the small piece of property next to her garage that we were using--which it actually sounds like you might need to do in order to put up a fence entirely on your side anyhow.

Then put up an 8' stockade fence, regardless of what she says. Ugly side out.
posted by adamrice at 3:50 PM on April 24, 2009


Don't go to war with someone when you have dogs. I always have this horrible thought in the back of my mind that if you screw with your neighbors, they could really make life hell. They could let your dogs out or (god forbid) even poison them. Just keep that in mind. Good luck.
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:00 PM on April 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I agree with CwgrlUp. Don't risk her doing something that will harm your dogs. Put up a fence on your property and ignore her. It's not nearly as satisfying, but I think that the outcome will be the best.
posted by crankylex at 4:08 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


IAAL, IANYL, TINLA.

I don't practice in New York, but you should know that real estate and property law are more antiquated than most other areas of the law, and in disputes like these it may very well be worth it to consult a lawyer. The concepts can be confusing and overly technical, and the terminology doesn't always mean what it seems to. (See: confusion upthread over easement vs. adverse possession. I haven't dealt with these much since law school, but if I recall correctly an easement is a non-possessory interest. Adverse possession - which it sounds like is what you agreed not to do - is when actual ownership of the land is claimed. It may be that a prescriptive easement has resulted even though you have agreed not to claim adverse possession, but that will probably depend on the wording of the agreement and the details of the circumstances, which a lawyer can help you interpret.)

Beware though: this could become a very expensive and bitter dispute, and it sounds like your neighbor has a lot of time on her hands to fan the flames.

How sure are you of where the property line is? Is there a recent survey showing the fence and other improvements to the land relative to the property line? That could give you an idea of whether legal entanglements would be worth it.

If it were me, I think I'd just put up a nice, high, sturdy fence (after having confirmed it's on my property) and be done with it.
posted by AV at 4:11 PM on April 24, 2009


"What can we do to keep the fence intact or at least delay her until we can get a twenty-five foot section put up? I am willing to spend money on a lawyer or legal solution."

Divert that money into renting a fence; you aren't going to be able to stop her. Most rental places offer same day service. At worse you take your dogs to the park for the morning.

14580 writes "I guess what I really want to know is if there is some kind of legal solution I can pursue by either calling the police or suing her. If that isn't an option, then I am wondering if I should just go to war with her. I think she is a bully and sometimes you have to stand up to bullies. But if she doesn't back down, then it could get very nasty, and neither one of us is planning on moving anytime soon."

My advice, don't escalate. It'll just cost you time, money and stress. Contain your dogs in the short term and in the long term put up the tallest fence you can afford/is legal. And then try to ignore her. Especially since past history shows she has nothing better to do than pursue the other side of this vendetta.
posted by Mitheral at 4:13 PM on April 24, 2009


Forget about the neighbor and the fence and your peaceful enjoyment of her yard. They're all effectively gone. Get a couple of tie out spikes & chains for your dogs until you can put up a fence. Be the bigger person, put your neighbor on ignore & continue on with life. You might even volunteer to take down her fence and repurpose it as partial solution toward your new fencing needs.
posted by torquemaniac at 4:19 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bottom line: make sure the rest of the fence is on your property, and make sure it's tall and blocks your view of each other, then pretend she doesn't exist.

Also, if possible, make it one with very narrow spaces that won't let very many leaves blow through.
posted by CKmtl at 4:41 PM on April 24, 2009


I know that I am angry and not thinking completely rationally and I am not going to make any decisions or take any actions until I have cooled down. I feel like like we have gotten into this mess because we have been taking the high road for so long. I also feel like getting stubborn here, even though maybe I shouldn't, because she has been trying for awhile to get us to put up a privacy fence. That's what she wants. We've had a lot more problems than I have mentioned and putting up taller fence is only going to solve some of them.

I don't really want to spend money on a lawyer but we can afford it. On the other hand, she doesn't have any money. That's why I am thinking that might be the least risky and most effective method to deal with her. My other idea is to hang about a dozen bird feeders in the tree next to her cars :-)
posted by 14580 at 4:44 PM on April 24, 2009


feel like like we have gotten into this mess because we have been taking the high road for so long.
I don't understand that. Why do you think this is the case?

Note that I'm not asking "why do you think you've taken the high road", and I'm not asking "why do you think you're in a mess". I'm asking why you think your being in this mess is a result of you taking the high road.

What "low road" sort of thing could you have done in the past to avoid reliance upon her fence on her property?

I think you're conflating things in your mind. Yeah, she's a jerk. But her fence, on her property, that she's been allowing you to use all these years, is coming down tomorrow, and she's probably well within her right to make it so. You being a jerk back to her in some sort of revenge fantasy doesn't change the fact that it's not your fence and not your property.

Again, just put up the temporary fence, get started on a more permanent fence, and ignore her existence.
posted by Flunkie at 5:05 PM on April 24, 2009


IAAL, IANYL. But my advice really isn't "legal" anyway. No matter how strong a case you may have relating to this fence (I don't think a lawsuit on this in Texas would go very far), do not escalate and sue her. It won't be worth the time or money or emotional energy. You have to live next to this person for the foreseable future and the fence thing, while rude and inconsiderate and aggravating, is not worth it.

I once handled a neighbor dispute lawsuit and it was REALLY ugly--my client had issues with a bitchy neighbor like yours and reacted just like you are in this thread. At the end of the day, no one really wins and it is emotionally and financially draining--even if you get what you think you want. REALLY not worth it...sorry.

Nth-ing spending the money on a privacy fence and learning to ignore her "assholery" and re-read everything else Dayjay stated perfectly above.

BTW...sorry you have to deal with this unnecessary crap...I once had a neighbor like yours (who showed ZERO consideration for anyone else) and it really sucks. I just don't know why these jerks choose to live around other people when they have obviously have no use for civilized behavior.
posted by murrey at 5:14 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just curious -- was it legal for her to cut trees that are in your yard, just because the branches crossed into her property? I don't know the law, but this just seems wrong. I would think that if the tree is rooted in your yard, then it's your tree, and she can't touch it even if some limbs cross an invisible barrier above her property line.
posted by bengarland at 5:19 PM on April 24, 2009


Flunkie - I think we have taken the high road by not ever confronting her, and instead just filling in the huge ruts she has regularly put in our grass by parking in front of our house, by continuing picking up her trash that blows into our yard, by not pursuing the harassment complaint a police officer once suggested when she brazenly blew her leaves into our yard on a Saturday afternoon, by putting up with her dog that barked continuously every morning for years at 5 am, by not doing anything when they deliberately point their snowblower at our dogs - who are just watching and not bothering them, and by ignoring all the other inconsiderate things she has done.

I am not afraid of confronting people, but I have been afraid that by confronting her things could get much worse and she could harm our dogs. But now I'm wondering if that has been the wrong approach and she does this stuff because she thinks she can get away with it without consequences (which I think makes her a bully).

I've learned that confronting bullies usually works, but not always. It can make things worse. I'm probably going to end up fixing the fence and ignoring her like nearly everyone says, but I have been hoping that someone might suggest a better solution.
posted by 14580 at 5:55 PM on April 24, 2009


Flunkie - I think we have taken the high road by (...)
I didn't ask why you think you've taken the high road. In fact, I explicitly said that I wasn't asking why you think you've taken the high road.

Do you think that if you didn't pick up her trash that blows into your yard, you now wouldn't have to be facing the fact that she is removing her fence, which is on her property? Why?

Or if you didn't "put up" with her dog barking? If you didn't do that -- whatever that would entail -- then you wouldn't have to be dealing with the fact that she is removing her fence, which is on her property? Why?
I have been hoping that someone might suggest a better solution.
What do you want us to tell you? Would you like us to tell you to put a flaming bag of poop on her porch, ring the doorbell, and run away?

There is no "better solution". It's her fence. On her property. It's going away in a matter of hours. Deal with it. Put up your temporary fence. Get to work on a more permanent fence. Ignore her existence.
posted by Flunkie at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


14850: your neighbor sucks. Put up a fence that prevents her stuff from blowing into your yard and prevents your dogs from getting out. Then tell her, nicely, that any of this passive-aggressive stuff -- blowing leaves onto your lawn, leaving ruts in your property, etc -- will warrant a call to the police.

Then call the police whenever she does anything to your property.
posted by kdar at 6:15 PM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


OK, you confront her. She sputters a bit and denies all wrongdoing, like all bullies do. Then what? Now you have to worry that she's going to get sneaky. At least now she's [apparently, based on what you've mentioned] pretty obvious with her nastiness. Are you willing to risk her going underground, and plotting secret ways of getting back at you, including poisoning your dogs?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:18 PM on April 24, 2009


I'm just curious -- was it legal for her to cut trees that are in your yard, just because the branches crossed into her property?

I don't know for certain but I think in the US it general is legal to trim branches crossing over the property line.

posted by 6550 at 6:36 PM on April 24, 2009


Aha, she wants to get a free fencing job out of you by taking her sections down. Since you have dogs, you have no choice. She must feel very clever.

Unfortunately, she's probably well within her rights to do that, and being a shitty and overly-conflict-seeking neighbor isn't illegal.

Build a fence one foot inside your side of the property, then put a fake "security camera" on it, coincidentally pointed right at her house. Ok, the camera is a joke, but do make sure the fence is fully on your side, so if she so much as hangs a decoration on her side, you can make her remove it.
posted by ctmf at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2009


I have had neighbors poison my pets before, over lesser things than this. I wouldn't want to risk it.

The fence company near my house always has a sign out that says "FREE Used fence panels." Maybe you could call around and get some old, used panels that you could wire to some T-posts as a temporary solution.
posted by Ostara at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2009


Don't go to war with someone when you have dogs. I always have this horrible thought in the back of my mind that if you screw with your neighbors, they could really make life hell. They could let your dogs out or (god forbid) even poison them. Just keep that in mind. Good luck.

I was just thinking the other night about a friend of mine whose two dogs were poisoned by her neighbor putting meat + rat poison through her mailbox slot. Your neighbor sucks, but escalation is not a good response.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:25 PM on April 24, 2009


When my parents bought their house, there were no houses on any side of them, and my dad put up an 8 foot wooden fence all the way around the backyard. It was brown and orange. (It was 1970.) He deliberately put it well inside the property line so that he owned the entire fence. They eventually got neighbours, and each of their neighbours got one side of their fence in their yard..

One day, one of the neighbours decided he didn't like the orange fence and started to paint it. Obviously there was no question that he had absolutely no right to paint a fence that is not on his property. My dad let him do it anyway, but he made it very clear that the neighbour absolutely did not own the fence.

Put of the privacy fence. Chainlink is awful anyway. I'm tempted to say paint the outside of the fence BRIGHT ORANGE, but maybe that's too passive aggressive. But it would be a great tribute to my awesomely smart dad.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:28 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm having a hard time getting past that fact that you called the cops on your neighbor for blowing leaves into your yard. Yes, it's not nice to do that, but in my opinion, you have already escalated things. I'm guessing that your neighbor also spoke to you about the trees hanging over her yard and her belief that it was messing up her asphalt, I'm also guessing that you didn't do anything about it, so she got them cut herself (at her expense).

You say that she's been trying for years to get you to put up a privacy fence, and that you have been relying on her fence to keep your dogs in. Now she wants to take her fence down. Was years of warning not enough?

I really get the vibe that you resented your "nice" neighbor moving out, and have vilified this other neighbor to the point that they don't feel the need to be nice to you anymore. The things you mentioned that she "does" - blowing snow at your dogs or the fact that her garbage sometimes blows into your yard , or she left a rut at the edge of your yard where it meets the road, do not merit the reaction that you are having. If you hadn't had a bug up your butt about trimming the trees or getting your own fence, you wouldn't be here now. And, if you were nicer to this neighbor from the get-go, you also wouldn't be here now.

Calling the cops on someone isn't a reasonable reaction to their legal use of their property. Cops aren't there to keep your neighbor from taking their fence down. If you can't play nice with this person (and no, you have NOT been taking the high road), then get a mediator and get everything on paper, put up the privacy fence and continue hating her guts. It doesn't sound fun to me.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:36 PM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


It does not sound like either you or your neighbor have been behaving very neighborly, but I will add my 2 cents to try to help you diffuse the situation.

First, you most likely do have a solid easement claim, but this really has no benefit for you here. The easement allows your dogs to use the area between your fence and her building and she has acknowledged this right. She is doing nothing to keep your dogs from using that area, and even after you put your 25' fence section up you could still tie your dogs up in that area. Although, as others have stated, this is a really bad idea, so you should add this section and forget about it.

The grass in front of your house probably does not belong to you but to the city. If your city allows it you can spread some decorative gravel at the curb which should reduce the ruts, or plant shrubs if you do not want anyone parking there.

It seems you both want a privacy fence, although it sounds like she wants you to pay for it. Neither of you wants leaves blowing into your yard from the others yard. A 50/50 split would be ideal, but perhaps a 60/40 split with the nice side of the fence facing the higher contributor might get it done. One caveat would be that a high privacy fence in the front yard will be a major eyesore. I might suggest a privacy fence to the front of your house, then a nicer lower picket fence to the street. This should keep the leaves from blowing from yard to yard and still keep the visual appeal of the neighborhood.

I think your biggest bargaining chip are your maple trees. You want pretty Maple trees on your boundary and she doesn't. It doesn't seem to matter anyway since your trees are apparently not pretty anymore and may never be again. You don't say how lopsided they are, but chopping one side off may make them unstable. At any rate, I believe maples become a little unpredictable anyway once they reach a certain size. If you negotiate with her you may be able to take the approach of "What would you be willing to do if I allow these maple trees to be cut down?" She may even spit the cost with you. This may have been her main goal after all, and will probably cut down on the volume of leaves in both of your yards.

When dealing with her, try to stress the importance of keeping up the appearance and subsequent value of both of your properties. It probably wouldn't hurt to get some quotes beforehand so you have some solid numbers in your head.

Good luck.
posted by Yorrick at 1:03 AM on April 25, 2009


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spite_fence
posted by Slinga at 6:37 AM on April 25, 2009


I would build a fence out of whatever was mismatched the most. Old logs, traffic cones, old doors and windows, etc. Build this well inside your property line. Plant sweetgum trees along your property line...the spiky seed balls would be very annoying. If you go for a real privacy or spite fence, consider getting really bright floodlights that shine directly into windows in her house.
posted by schyler523 at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2009


IIAL, IANYL.

Listen to murrey. If someone called my office with a case like this, I'd probably tell them exactly the same thing. It's just not worth it to fight about.

As for the people advocating that you put up the ugliest fence possible, make sure you're in compliance with any local fence ordinance, many of which ban "ugly side out" fences.

Be a grown-up, and you won't make the problem any worse. Ever heard the saying "Good fences make good neighbors"?
posted by mikewas at 7:10 AM on April 26, 2009


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