Nightmare neighbors

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We have the worst neighbors ever! They complain about everything! They hate dogs so they complain every time our dogs bark one time (not exaggerating) they have fabricated lies about us and our dogs to EVERYONE! What makes it even worse is he is an elected official and she just recently became a counselor at my sons school (lucky me! shes spread all her lies all over the school too)!!! Anywho, my question is about the fact that their fence has literally been falling down panel by panel since we moved in (which we share) so they blame the dogs every time something happens to it! If its just a couple of board coming off we just so ahead and fix it even though we know its not our dogs, especially since they have to be in a pin all the time and can't even explore their own yard!
Since its technically their fence we can't really attach anything to it, except maybe put up a whole new fence on our side but we don't have the money for that. That's not even the whole problem... their deck looks right over the fence into our yard and windows so they sit out on the deck and just stare at us like peeping toms! Do any of you extremely creative people have ANY ideas on how to make this situation a little more bearable??
q nightmare neighbors, fences, outdoor living
q nightmare neighbors, fences, outdoor living
  56 answers
  • Carole Carole on Feb 23, 2015
    Sympathise with your plight. We had similar problems until my husband talked to ours and told them it was time to put the past behind us and mover forward from where we stood and not bring up who said what to who or did what to who. It worked quite well. We were able to come to a compromise with our neighbours and all agreed to be civil to each other going forward. I hope the situation improves for you.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 23, 2015
    See no great solution for this problem that doesn't cost a few bucks. They're probably hoping you'll spring for a new fence. I'd bite the bullet and put up a chain link. Don't know what grows fast in your area as far as tall, skinny trees similar to our pyramindal cedars to block their view.
  • Deezie Deezie on Feb 23, 2015
    Can you ask them to fix the fence? if not, maybe you can go to home depot and see if they have something that is tall enough for vine plants to grow up and put it right in that spot. I can't imagine having a fence all fallen over like that in my yard. Maybe even on craigs list in the free section, someone is getting rid of some old doors that you can kind of put together and make a cool wall in that area. Your dogs should be able to walk around free in their own yard. Geez I feel so bad. Good luck with what you decide on.
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Feb 23, 2015
    We have a similar problem but the fence that is falling down like that is OURS! Our neighbors stacked wood against a portion of our fence and totally ruined it so I refuse to replace anything till they move. I have photos showing how their stacked wood made our fence bow and then disintegrate, but these neighbors are not the type to do much about it. I sympathize! And we are seeking a solution, too. I was thinking of planting fast growing bamboo, but I just think it will start to look even more unkempt if we do that. Sigh.....
  • Leslie Erfani Leslie Erfani on Feb 23, 2015
    Split the cost!? It's an old fence & "maybe" the dogs had "something" to do w/ it (even tho I'm sure they didn't). That way u both have to bite the cost.
  • Sharri Sharri on Feb 23, 2015
    I have a similar situation with my neighbor (watching every move we make in our yard) they are just rude and arrogant, however, I live in a townhouse and my yard is not very large. I had thought about planting bamboo but was told that their seeds fall from their leaves and that it (bamboo tree) could possibly take over my yard...so what I am thinking about doing this spring is planting two Crepe Myrtle's or something similar in a gallon drum that I cut in half last fall and arrange them strategically to block the neighbors from viewing into my yard...if that works then I'll move onto finding a way to prevent them from using my 2 and I mean only 2 reserved parking spaces in this limited parking community that only they abuse! Good luck! :-)
  • Lag535400 Lag535400 on Feb 23, 2015
    We had the exact problem. Our neighbors split rail fence was deteriorating and they had an aggressive dog that was attacking our dog through this bad fence. We tried offering to pay half but they refused. We ended up having a fence company attach chain link to this portion of fence. It was cheaper than replacing the split rail, was not noticable and gave us piece of mind that our dogs were safe. Good luck!
  • Stefania Ackerman Stefania Ackerman on Feb 23, 2015
    Call your city officials. Find out if their fence can be deemed a hazard, or unsightly or whatever. Some cities impose a fine if they don't care for their property. Yes, they are wanting you to pony up the dough for a new fence, probably why they are spreading the rumors, trying to intimadate, etc. I promise you that you are not the only people they are ignorant to, others know what they are. Be strong and plant a few trees to block their view. I hope the city fines them and they have to replace or repair the fence.
  • Sarah Jackson Sarah Jackson on Feb 23, 2015
    @sherrykurtz Assuming the photo was taken from your side of the fence, I notice the "pretty" side is facing your yard, whereas most people who pay for a fence to be put up face the best side towards their own house. Makes me wonder if they bullied the last owners of your house into originally putting up the fence to save them money and now are trying to bully you into the same.
    • See 1 previous
    • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 25, 2015
      @Sarah Jackson Not necessarily..... My mother installed a new fence a couple of years ago, & what most people consider the "pretty" side faces out. It's a safety issue no stringers on the outside to help someone climb over.
  • Jodi Jodi on Feb 23, 2015
    Small town living....gotta love it! From the photos it looks like it's falling down from their side not yours so your dog didn't push the fence into your yard! If the fence is on a zero property line you have the right to repair it even if it is theirs. If it's not on a zero property line then the cost is your neighbors. Problem is they are your neighbors and assuming no one is renting then you need to learn to be civil with each other. You don't want your kids involved and becoming friends will make life easier for all. Good luck. If it were me I'd just fix the fence and be done with it. A few boards and maybe a metal stake on your side which you could cover with a bush.
  • Linda T Linda T on Feb 23, 2015
    I would definitely plant bamboo! It grows a few inches a day, you can almost watch it! Yes, it does spread like crazy, but the way you talk, I imagine you are a neat person, so you will diligently keep it trimmed on your side, and they being rotten slobs, will ignore it, 'til it covers their lawn and grows through the planks of their deck. HA! (Sharri, it's not a tree, it's a grass!) Good luck.
  • Bmlinn37 Bmlinn37 on Feb 23, 2015
    Put in posts and run wire or heavy twine between them , then plant some kind of vine to run on the wire. Could plant different climbing veggies, although that only hides it in summer. Maybe there is a climbing evergreen vine? Or make a waddle fence, [on your side] most people will let you have their broken limbs just to keep their yard clean.
  • Suzanne Kennerly Suzanne Kennerly on Feb 23, 2015
    I would go with a simple trellis with vines to block their deck view or a small, fast growing tree. I thought about bamboo, but it can be invasive.
  • Pammy Pammy on Feb 23, 2015
    A shop keeper had a dilemma having to remind the same customers of paying their tab on time so he set a friendly list in the window to thank his valued customers with a friendly reminder of those yet to square up and marked them off as they paid, every one could see the names and no one wanted their name on it. Have a back yard pot luck Invite your neighbors to come see their fence from your side.
  • Sherry Kurtz Sherry Kurtz on Feb 23, 2015
    Thanks for all the comments! The sad part is that we just moved into this community and they have been telling so many lies we cant even make friends! we are to the point we would just like to move! Heck the first day we moved in the neighbors on both sides were driving four wheelers through our yard! Keep in mind he is an alderman and she is a school counselor. My son comes home from school and ask "why does the counselor teach us not to smoke or drink and then does it on her back deck everyday?"
    • See 1 previous
    • Sherry Kurtz Sherry Kurtz on Feb 23, 2015
      @Pammy I did tell her about it when she came to my door drunk at 3am one morning and all she had to say was "well, I don't live next to all my students" We have bent over backwards to please them partially to just keep the peace and partially because they know so many people fooled. Its certainly not their first rodeo. We have thought about talking to the superintendent of the school and lately we were talking about serving them with cease and desist papers, but then you know it will just go back and forth..
  • Christina Christina on Feb 23, 2015
    You might want to check the plat or survey. Who knows, maybe the fence is encroaching on your property line and you can bring that to their attention. Or put up a fence in front of theirs on your side so you dogs can play and you don't have to look at the eyesore. I like the ideas above about natural options for fences, such as trees and bushes. Otherwise if talk and letters won't work, take them to small claims court. http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/fences/fence-etiquette/?eo_sm_sa_ch
  • Carole Carole on Feb 23, 2015
    If the fence borders both properties you will probably find if you look into it that both parties are responsible for the installation of a fence, the repairs to the fence should it need it. Only if one party is responsible for damage to the fence would that party be expected to foot the bill for all repairs. You are probably needing to look online and Google or use some search engine or other on boundary fences. Look up all the legalities and if necessary, if your neighbours won't co-operate and continue to blame you then seek legal advice either from a free source - some legal advice up to a certain amount of dollars or for stuff like this may be free or else you may need to see a solicitor. You don't want to resort to a solicitor unless things really are beyond repair with your neighbours (the relationship between the two of you). You might be able to get a unbiased third party to get you together to sort the situation out fairly and both parties sign something legal to ensure you both stick to what was decided in that meeting. If you can get the fence fixed and both parties agree to pay for it then your next step is to erect some sort of privacy screening which will protect you from prying eyes of the feeling of prying eyes. A lot of times when we feel uncomfortable it is because they can see us, not because they are going out of their way to do so. Just the lay of the land so to speak. Some posts on your side with some trellis or some screening at the top would go a long way to giving you the privacy you seek. Grow climbing plants up the trellis to form a dense screen. Or, use shade cloth. If you double the thickness it becomes opaque rather than transparent. We agreed to do this with our neighbours. We have black shade cloth on both sides of the fence and my husband put it up. Now neither party can see each other through the chain link fence. We are now going to plant some hedging plants along that fence so that when they are full grown, we can remove the shade cloth. I hope this advice helps. First find out the legal sides to it all. Knowing what you can and cannot do and knowing your rights and what help is available to you in reaching a compromise with your neighbours is the first step. Abusing each other over the fence or ignoring each other will not see a way out of this awkward situation. Believe me I know. Agreeing to let go of the past and find a way forward in an adult way is the best way to resolve this. To achieve this you need to let go of your anger towards your neighbours. Holding grudges is not healthy for you or them.
  • Deirdre Sullivan Deirdre Sullivan on Feb 23, 2015
    I feel your pain. I sold my apartment just to get away from my dog disliking neighbor. You can try to build an inexpensive dog / privacy fence using cattle wire fencing. A 50-foot roll, depending on height starts at around $40. For privacy, you can cover it with bamboo reed fencing that usually costs $20 a roll. You can see an example of a DIY cattle wire dog fence here: http://goo.gl/QN0YGB I bet you'll find more cattle wire fence ideas if you Google.
    • Sherry Kurtz Sherry Kurtz on Feb 23, 2015
      @Deirdre Sullivan they have some good ideas- thank you! That's kind of what we did for them only not near as pretty or big. I just grew morning glory's along it to camouflage. We have planted so many trees, roses, bushes, crepe myrtles.... it will be heart breaking to have to leave it now. Of course everything I plant on their side seems to mysteriously die...
  • Lisa Kaplan Gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon on Feb 23, 2015
    Plant a living wall of fast-growing evergreens like Leyland Cypress.
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Feb 23, 2015
    Are you leasing the home or purchasing it?
  • Theresa Theresa on Feb 23, 2015
    Wow. That is so hateful of them. Something tells me that others are aware of their terrible behavior and that the town's people are not all fooled. Is she the only school counselor? As to the fence google, Google, Google. Find out what your rights are and proceed with caution. Try not to make them angry but don't lie down and be driven over in your own yard. I feel for you. Who knew you would be so mistreated? I hope you can find some resolution and peace.
  • Paul Hymes Paul Hymes on Feb 23, 2015
    I would have another question, that is, if this women is a school counselor does she not have to sign a confidentiality agreement? If so it would seem that some of her gossip may be in violation of such an agreement and grounds for discipline in her school job or even firing. You may have grounds to file a formal complaint. Also, if her husband is an elected official you may wish to file a formal complaint with the bylaw officer regarding the fence and maybe, even have it forwarded to the husbands office. As far as them watching from their porch several things may work, 1) smile and wave at them, 2) take family pictures with them in the back ground, 3) save you lawn cutting for a time when they are out enjoying the sun, 4) keep your home and property always looking nicer than theirs, 5) if they come up in a conversation find something nice to say about them, 6) reattach any boards on the fence (with screws, cause the fence doesn't look like it could stand much hammering, 7) invite them over for a backyard Bar-B-Q, etc. In other word "Heap Burning Coals on their heads" by being nice to them. Lastly, my father surrounded our property with (I think this is the right name) Multiflora bushes. He kept the neatly trimmed on our side and the neighbors side and never had a complaint. An additional benefit was that one night when I was in high school a car went out control and ran into the bushes outside my folks bedroom. Police said that the car was going between 90 and 100mph and if they had a regular fence they likes would have been killed or seriously injured. The way it was my dad went out the next morning and pushed the bush back up, about 10' high, with a rank and they continued to grow with no damage. Thus ends today's Epistle, Stump
  • Paul Hymes Paul Hymes on Feb 23, 2015
    Glad to be of assistance. Sorry, I'm a bit long winded I always had to work hard to keep my sermons short as well. stump
  • Debbie Kuhar Debbie Kuhar on Feb 24, 2015
    I live in the country, is that fence leaning on your property line? There are ordiances you know. Why dont you plant fortheyna (Know my spelling is wrong. They may start out small but they grow huge over a period of time.
  • Michele Brown Michele Brown on Feb 24, 2015
    use free pallet wood to build your own fence, And trust me I have the neighbors from Hell
  • Karen Karen on Feb 24, 2015
    Also have the same problem right down to the lies being told. I even took these people to court nothing works even though I won. It only was somewhat calmed down and only for a short time. ( that was a waste of $6000. I tried all the suggestions that Paul gave you. my suggestion would be to put up a fence a cheap fence plant Leyland cypress they grow very fast And they close off everything from site. But they need to be sprayed with a repellent to control bag worms.I hope this helps I feel your pain
    • @Karen My brother has the same problem as well .. too long a story to tell here, but I feel your pain. Short version: neighbours built a huge, unattractive fence right on the property line, with a GATE opening onto my brother's property. So, my brother planted some "emerald greens" (quick-growing evergreens) right along the fence, with TWO right in front of the gate.
  • Karen Karen on Feb 24, 2015
    PS. Let the dogs out. Dogs are dogs, they bark. As long as they are not violating a noise ordinance let them bark
  • Judith Costa Judith Costa on Feb 24, 2015
    All of the above suggestions are great, however, what you need to remember first and formost is that this is your home. You are not required to please anyone but you. As long as you are not breaking the law or any bylaws of a community with an association you are free to enjoy your home anyway you please. As long as you buck your neighbors you give them the power to ruin what should be your "happy place" and sanctuary. Put up a canapy, plant some trees and enjoy your home on your own terms. Be who you are and others will see you in the correct light. Fix the fence, let your dogs out and when they complain just smile and walk away.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 25, 2015
    These people are bullies. Stand your ground as suggested.
    • Linda T Linda T on Feb 27, 2015
      @Pigaloo Pwincess-o'Eberyfing I love the idea of the trumpet vine on this site. The honeysuckle too grows fast, and both attract humming birds like crazy.
  • Marie Cole Marie Cole on Feb 27, 2015
    Boy do I relate! On the back side of my property I have a neighbor who could see directly into my yard. I built trellises and put fast growing vines on them about three feet in from the property line. The trellises helped break her line of site while the vines grew and now a couple of years later, she can't see me at all, ha, ha! Unfortunately, her high pitched little schnauzer can hear every little move me and my dog make but I've learned to ignore him. On the west side I have two very nice neighbors who decided to be too nice and got too busy body to the point I couldn't (no really) could not walk into my yard without one of them coming out to talk to me about whatever! I planted leland cypress along that chain link fence which already had a Russian Smoke tree growing towards the center and filled in with smaller plants for variety and color. When all was growing they would try to look between the leaves and yell at me to get my attention, now things have grown in nicely there too. The man doesn't like dogs and he would inform me whenever mine barked...sort of like your neighbors only nicer and I was keeping mine in a lot until I finally decided that was stupid and let my dog be a dog in his own yard. He is never left out when I am gone and when he is out alone, which is rare, if I hear a bark, which I can easily, I bring him in. I also told my neighbor I was tired of hearing about him barking because he was quietest dog in neighborhood; he apologized. Like you I can't afford to build a privacy fence for my entire back yard which is large and had to give up some space for the green privacy but it does look nice. Winter is the only time I lose some of that privacy but since it is pretty cold where I live that isn't much of a problem. I did use decorative short wire fencing to bar the area along the west side so my dog wouldn't go close to the fence and growing plants, but now I don't need it as he knows his barriers and it's fairly filled in (not dog friendly) I still have a barrier up for the back however as her dog wants to fight through the fence and this prevents that problem. I really enjoy my yard now. Good luck with working this out.
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Feb 28, 2015
    @Sherry Kurtz There are a lot of inexpensive fencing ideas on this site, here are two of my favourites. http://www.hometalk.com/1263585/hiding-unsitely-fence-areas - you could create something similar just framing an area and filling in with lattice. Also privacy ideas here, this is my favourite that displays several ideas http://www.hometalk.com/1194729/privacy-screen-ideas-and-how-to-make-a-fence-taller You could also check the town bi-laws to see what their obligations are. In this area the home owner is responsible and if they do not comply, the city does the repairs and charges the home owner.
  • Judy Tapp Judy Tapp on Feb 28, 2015
    We don't have the neighbor problem but we planted Leland Cypress across the back of our lot. We love the look. They grow really fast and get very large. If you do this plant them at least 10 feet apart.
  • Wanda Arganbright Wanda Arganbright on Apr 02, 2015
    Well, I guess I'm really blessed to have such a wonderful neighbor on one side, and we won't discuss the one on the other side. The good neighbor started replacing the fence between us (his fence) and my teens helped by supplying free labor. Now my teens know how to build cemented in metal poll wood slat fence, and they know to help with the up keep. We have dogs and the neighbor does not. He is elderly and we will keep the fence in good repair. Good fences build good neighbors.