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  • Can Anybody Help

    About 2 years ago, the boundary fence belonging to my neighbour mostly fell apart. After finding their dog in my garden many times and even taking it back home and asking if they could keep it out of my garden, I then found out it had dug a huge hole in the roots of my hedge (this hedge had been next to their fencing). I had a solicitors letter sent to my neighbours asking if they could put something up just to keep their dog in their garden.

    They replied to my solicitor stating that my hedge had pushed their fence over and that my hedge branches were overhanging into their garden.

    I in turn replied stating that there was no way my hedge could have damaged their fencing as most of their fencing was damaged and I only have two small hedges and that they were quite entitled to chop down any overhanging branches.

    Nothing happened for about 2 months and then my neighbour started putting up some fencing. Even though I had trimmed my hedge, the neighbour decided to hack more pieces off it.

    Then came the bonfire. It was left lit for about 10 hours and there was quite a bit of smoke but at the time I didn't really take much notice. However when I went outside the next morning, I found that the back of my two hedges had been badly burnt together with other plants belonging to me. I called the Police who confirmed that my hedges had been badly burnt but when they went next door they were told there was an on-going boundary dispute and that anyway my branches had been overhanging into their garden. The Police needless to say didn't want to get involved they just accepted my neighbours explanation. As far as I was concerned there was no boundary dispute!

    The other problem I have with my NFH is the fact that they continually let their children and their friends play football directly outside my house. Whilst I appreciate that children can play where they want to, it would be nice to come home from work and have a bit of peace now and then and also not to have a football kicked at my car (which is parked on my driveway), my house windows and my gates. The other night the mother NFH was playing football with her daughter right outside my place. As usual the football was continually hitting my front gates which also upsets my dogs. I opened the door and asked if they could stop hitting my gates to which I had a mouthful of abuse from the mother.

    Anybody got any ideas how to deal with my NFH?

  • #2
    Hi Mel,

    I am not up on boundary issues, but, it wouldn't surprise you to learn that this is one of the most common areas for neighbour disputes.

    However, it would appear that although your NFH are stating it is a boundary issue - it clearly is not.

    Firstly they have caused what I would see as malicious damage to your hedge by burning it. Has the hedge recovered it is it a total loss in that it is unlikely to grow back ?

    I would be inclined to go back to your police station, speak to someone there tell them that it has never been a boundary issue and that you believe that they have deliberately set out to cause damage to your hedge - Criminal Damage.

    In the meantime you get yourself back to your solicitor and arm yourself with some photos of the damage too. Regardless, your NFH are liable to replace your hedge and pay your legal costs too should it reach court (civil court).

    The children, I don't have any and I don't have any ideas as to what you can do on this score either although some of the others may help you out.

    Which just leaves me to say welcome to the forum - you will be in good company.


    • #3
      Hi Mel, big welcome to you

      Just a quickie reply as fleeting past

      We have a bonfire help sheet here at NFH (the smoke you had to put up with for 10 hours could be considered a statutory nuisance):

      It hopefully could be a good idea to read about anti-social behaviour etc here:


      • #4

        Hi and welcome to the forum. Hedges and boundaries are one of the biggest single issues of neighbourly dispute. I recently read an article in the Daily mail. This piece stated there are 170000 ongoing issues involving boundaries and hedges.

        You are correct in what you say. Your neighbour is entitled to cut back any over hanging branches or roots for that matter to the boundary line. As a matter of cause they should inform you before hand and all these off cuts have to be offered back to the owner of the trees, you. On the issue of cutting back over hanging branches or roots it is worth knowing that if your neighbour decided to be come over enthusiast and killed or damaged your hedge, they are liable.

        The bad news is that as the owner of trees, hedges you could be held liable for any damage that they cause to your neighbours property, sorry. The good news is that your neighbour is not entitled to damage your property. They cannot set fire to your hedge any more than they can take a chain saw to it. As Scooby rightly pointed out this is criminal damage. The police will not be too keen in getting involved in disputes like this. It is not because they are not interested, it is because there is always too sides to the story and it is very rare the two sides are the same. It is basically for them a no win situation.

        It strikes me that your neighbour was being very irresponsible lighting a fire so close to your hedge. In the news up here at the moment, some nut case is going round deliberately torching hedges; it’s not your neighbour is it?

        My advise to you is to try not to get drawn into long and lengthy civil action over your boundaries and hedges. From what I have seen they are expensive and time consuming.

        If your neighbour does light another bonfire, close to your property you might be as well to inform the police at the time.

        Sorry I can’t really offer you any further advise, only my support.

        Take care Kevin


        • #5
          Hi Mel and welcome

          Like Scooby I have no experience in boundary disputes but I've had lots of experience with yobs playing football outside my house

          You could call the police; get in touch with your local Neighbourhood Officer and ask him/her for help. If they are deliberately targetting your property with their ball then they are harrassing you. If this is happening often, keep a diary and log every incident.

          Good luck

          "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


          • #6
            Hi Mel and welcome to the Forum

            Sorry to hear that you're having to contend with quite a few different problems with your nfh: bonfires, hedge/ fence disputes, footballs and verbal abuse. For many members on this Forum, there's always more than one issue - giving you even more of a headache.

            Keep an eye out on the bonfire issue - Matthew's right, it could be a "statutory nuisance" , you may find reading the self-help article helpful as it tells you what to do in the event of nfh bonfires.

            Is it possible for you to discuss the hedge/fence boundary issue with your nfh? Or by perhaps putting something in writing to them? This has worked very effectively for one member.

            In terms of the football and the abusive nature of the nfh mother and kids, I don't know what advice I can give. Other than to try and ignore the verbal abuse, do you have fencing around your car or gates blocking your driveway? You could consider installing CCTV to watch your car (although make sure it's only viewing your property).

            NFH are always difficult to live with and can often make living in your home unbrearable, which is ludicrous. But, we all know what it's like.

            Just to be clear on your living situation, do you own your home or rent? What about the NFH? If renting, is it from the Coucil, a Housing Association or private landlord?

            You could consider giving Mediation a try, but that needs compromise, possibly on both sides.

            I would advise you to start recording on a blank sheet (see the Resources section on the Home Page) any incidents which you consider to be a nuisance. You never know when you may need some evidence.

            Please come back often to see what other members have said and to let us know how you are getting on.


            • #7

              Set yourself up with CCTV preferably with a date/timer attacthment to record the footballs hitting your property and to catch the verbal abuse.

              You don't say if the neighbours come onto your land to retrieve the balls - if they do - put a stop to it as you have the right to say who can enter your premises - barring a few legal authorities.

              If they take no notice, send a solicitors letter. Approx fifty quid.

              Hollygolightly suggests cctv should cover your land only - however - The frontage of our properties are in the public domain, visible to all passersby. My camera overlooks part of my neighbours frontage - this was intentional in order to prove where certain trouble came from. The neighbours don't like it - Tough! The police on the other hand made no comment and are even holding some tapes as evidence. Your neighbours back garden is a different matter as this is a private area, so any cctv at the rear of your home MUST only cover your own land.

              As others have said, keep a full record of everything. If the above fails then visit the police, explain all and request they enforce the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act. This could make things worse but at the end of the day most bullies, which your neighbours are, are cowards, so they should back off.

              There is something somewhere about playing ball on the public highway but I'll leave that to someone with more knowledge.