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boundary fence - neighbour's plants

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Hi,

The side of our (tiny!) garden backs on to the end of our 'neighbours' - ie. they are not our next door neighbours but live on the street at right angles to our street.

 

Before last year, there were two boundary fences that had been in situ when we moved in in 2012. 

 

Our fence needed replacing and we did this last year (their fence remained). At the time, we asked if they would like to share the cost and have one fence but they did not like our suggestions and in the end we could not wait for them and we proceeded with our new fence. They told us that they would be getting a new fence.

 

This summer, they removed their fence but they have not built a fence. I find it a little cheeky of them but it was their choice.

 

They would be v.lassez-faire when it comes to the plants near their boundary - I am always having to cut back wild vine etc that grew over their fence into our garden.

 

My question is really for next year ( and the following years!) while they have no fence in place.

 

If any of their plants start growing on our fence, am I entitled to tell them to remove them or, if they don't, reach over and remove them myself?

 

Sorry for the long-winded question but I would be really thankful to know exactly what I can and cannot do. I live in NRW.

 

Thanks :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you both own the properties? I guess you probably do as you say they removed the fence ... etc ... But if not then the communication needs to be between the owners not the renters.

It seems a little odd to me that there are two fences back to back, or is there some (even just a little) land between the two?

 

Maybe now is the time to make sure you have some legal insurance in case things get really messy in the future, which they could do as sometimes happens with neighbour disputes.

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I found out that gifting a bottle of nice wine or some sweets over christmas is a much better way than a legal insurance way...and you still remain on frendly terms 

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Thanks a lot for the replies - good advice. There were two fences back to back because originally there was a slope leading to a small hedge between the two properties. The previous owner of our house levelled the garden and this I suspect soured relations between both of them.

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Sorry, forgot to add that both us and our neighbours own our properties.

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5 minutes ago, pmd said:

Thanks a lot for the replies - good advice. There were two fences back to back because originally there was a slope leading to a small hedge between the two properties. The previous owner of our house levelled the garden and this I suspect soured relations between both of them.

 

Ahh, sounds like you may have inherited some bad blood between neighbour and previous owner of your property in which case is there any way you can rebuild some bridges?

A nice bottle of wine, or chocolates or similar might be a good idea. Perhaps try to approach them and ask if you can have an hour or so of their time to talk about possibilities and start to build some trust and possibly friendship, although I know this isn't always as easy as it sounds or somtimes not even possible.

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Rambo and the Teaser give the best advice. Go around with a mission of finding out what the problem (is) was. 

 

We have a similar situation, although some people do not respond to friendliness. 

 

For two years a new owner left her plot of land to natur and, of course, the whole thing overgrew.  She made the excuse to everyone (her plot is surrounded by other gardens) that she didn't have the time to maintain the garden, so we had to continue doing the work for her, cutting everything back.

 

I found out that the only thing we could do legally was to cut back anything that grew through the fence and into our garden, which included bramble, tree branches, nettle, ivy and anything else you can imagine of an overgrown garden. 

 

I suppose if you have the neighbour we have and you have some time and cash to spare then you could invoice the individual for the work done and lead them through the civil courts.  Although I suspect a good bottle of whatever they fancy would be a better bet.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, artrocks said:

I found out that the only thing we could do legally was to cut back anything that grew through the fence and into our garden, which included bramble, tree branches, nettle, ivy and anything else you can imagine of an overgrown garden. 

 

Thanks for the response.

 

In my case, our fence is completely on our property. I want to know if I can remove any ivy / vine etc that the neighbours allow to grow on the side facing them.

 

Extra information - there had been a gap of a couple of centimetres between the two fences.

 

Sorry if this all seems a bit petty to some of you but the fence cost an arm and a leg and I want to keep it in as good a state as possible.

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I'm no legally qualified person, just occasionally conversant in common sense but after reading what Rocksy wrote I suspect you can't interfere with what happens on their side, only when it comes through onto your side, sadly.

Maybe it would be worth spending a little on a one-off legal consultation with a local lawyer? At least then you'll get a definitive legal viewpoint for a cost of maybe €60-€100 and know your rights?

Malty

 

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Hi Malteaser,

 

My point is though that both sides of my fence are on my property. 

Presumably the legal boundary was the gap between the original two fences.

 

I will confirm the boundaries today and keep things cordial. However, I will make it clear that letting wild vine grow to the extent is was before  is now not an option as they made zero contribution to the cost of the fence.

 

Thanks for all the feedback.

 

 

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Good advice  Sadly, plants, shrubs etc. do not grow to human expectations!  We checked on this some time ago- and yes, cut whatever grows through your fence. You say the fence is totally on your property, but even if they have a fence on their property, this would not stop the advancing vines. So a neighbourly chat seems timely.

 Chocs, wine, and a  Kaffee Klatsch seem in order.

 

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One approach would be to mark the border in some way, perhaps by digging a small trench and filling it with concrete. That way your fence will not be treated as the demarcation between the two plots in the distant future, which seems to be how your neighbour is currently viewing it. It would also ease the maintenance issue.

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I don't know why one can't speak civilly to one's neighbor without wine, chocolates or whatever.

 

"We spent a lot of money on our fence and so could you please make sure that none of your plants, bushes, etc. encroach upon it? It would be greatly appreciated."

 

 

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If I were you... I would grow a pair... get over it and every year or two, dismantle it and treat it...

 

You seem to have an obsession with thing growing...

 

 

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I think the trench, but they seem a bit on the grumpy side, so a sodding big trench, filled with piranha, a watch tower every few feet, no-mans land marked with razor wire.  Think that will make the point nicely and you won't have to buy wine or chocolates, so a nice big saving there, and it's unlikely they will ever speak to you again, which is probably a saving in effort over the years in itself.

 

In reality, I dunno, I can only think of bear traps, painting something truly offensive on your fence, but their side (still your land, of course) none of which is really going to help. I fear you might have to have a conversation, be neighbourly about it and go with one of the eminently sensible suggestions above.

 

The moat would be more fun, though...

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On 14.9.2016, 20:47:07, pmd said:

They would be v.lassez-faire when it comes to the plants near their boundary - I am always having to cut back wild vine etc that grew over their fence into our garden.

 

My question is really for next year ( and the following years!) while they have no fence in place.

 

If any of their plants start growing on our fence, am I entitled to tell them to remove them or, if they don't, reach over and remove them myself?

 

Sorry for the long-winded question but I would be really thankful to know exactly what I can and cannot do. I live in NRW.

 

Thanks :-)

 

 

According to Nachbarschaftsrecht NRW you can't remove them, but you can ask your neighbour to cut off any overhanging branches and roots, but only if they negatively impair the usage of the premises. If the neighbours don't oblige within a reasonable time limit you have set, you can also do it yourself. Careful with cutting back trees, inquire at the local authorities first. Or maybe in your case it's best to get legal advice anyway.

Überhang

Die Eigentümerin oder der Eigentümer eines Grundstücks kann von den Eigentümern des benachbarten Grundstückes verlangen, dass diese Wurzeln und Zweige, die über die Grundstücksgrenze wachsen, beseitigen, wenn die Wurzeln oder Zweige die Benutzung des Grundstücks beeinträchtigen (§ 1004 BGB).

Eigentümerinnen und Eigentümer dürfen aber auch zur Selbsthilfe greifen und die Beseitigung selbst vornehmen, bei Wurzeln sofort und bei Zweigen, wenn sie der Besitzerin oder dem Besitzer des Nachbargrundstücks eine angemessene Frist zur Beseitigung gesetzt hat und die Beseitigung nicht innerhalb der Frist erfolgt (§ 910 BGB).

Ein Abschneiderecht besteht jedoch nicht, wenn der Überhang die Grundstücksnutzung nicht oder nur ganz unerheblich beeinträchtigt.

Weiter ist zu beachten, dass das Selbsthilferecht nach § 910 BGB durch landesrechtliche Bestimmungen zugunsten des Naturschutzes eingeschränkt werden kann.

Nordrhein-Westfalen hat in § 45 des Landschaftsgesetzes den Schutz des Baumbestandes den Gemeinden überlassen. Viele Gemeinden haben bereits Baumschutzsatzungen erlassen, nach denen bestimmte Bäume nicht gefällt, geschädigt oder in ihrem Aufbau wesentlich verändert werden dürfen.

Bevor man daher vom Nachbarn die Beseitigung von Ästen oder Wurzelwerk verlangt oder selbst Hand anlegt, sollte man sich bei der Gemeinde erkundigen, ob nicht eine Baumschutzsatzung den Eingriff verbietet. Früchte eines Baumes oder Strauches, die von selbst auf ein Nachbargrundstück fallen, gehören der Nachbarin oder dem Nachbarn. Bis zum Abfallen gehören sie der Eigentümerin oder dem Eigentümer des Grundstücks, auf dem der Baum oder Strauch steht.

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9 hours ago, kiplette said:

I think the trench, but they seem a bit on the grumpy side, so a sodding big trench, filled with piranha, a watch tower every few feet, no-mans land marked with razor wire.

 

You forgot the landmines! :lol:

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On 9/15/2016, 2:33:34, pmd said:

Hi Malteaser,

 

My point is though that both sides of my fence are on my property. 

Presumably the legal boundary was the gap between the original two fences.

 

I will confirm the boundaries today and keep things cordial. However, I will make it clear that letting wild vine grow to the extent is was before  is now not an option as they made zero contribution to the cost of the fence.

 

Thanks for all the feedback.

 

 

I though good fences made good neighbors? ) As you mentioned earlier though, the gap between the original fences was only a few cm's so that's unlikely to make much of a difference as far as your neighbors plants intruding into your garden. I'm guessing your neighbor simply decided your new fence was all that was needed between the properties and used the opportunity to get rid of their eyesore of a fence...whether that was premeditated is anyone's guess. Your instinct to determine where the actual property line is is good, since you don't want to be cede part of your land by allowing your neighbor normal access to it.  As far as seeking legal remedies to force your neighbor to tend their garden, you have to consider the long term ramifications. You're both home owners, you both will probably live side by side for many years...is a few vines invading your garden worth the grief?   

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Along the lines of trenches and moats, wouldn't it just be easier to occasionally clean your new fence with a spray vinegar solution and use some baking soda on the ground to keep the pests down / help any tomatoes?  Natural and the foliage coming across from their side will be gone.  Not so sure it's allowed in Germany though.

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