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What are my rights in this situation?
Neighbour issue


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#1 jill1972

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

I received a voicemail on my phone today.  It was from our old neighbour where we used to live but is now our investment property.  He's telling me that they're getting new fences put up on their property & the side which borders our side will be up by the end of next week & he wants us to split the cost  half each.  Ok, this is the first I've heard of this, we've not been shown any quotes, not discussed which type of fence or colours etc.  No discussion whatsoever.

I don't understand why they've gone ahead without our permission as we were very good friends.  I would never start something like that without the approval of my neighbour!  I phoned the wife of the couple with whom I'm very friendly with & she pretty much said she's not handling it & that she left it to her husband & she'd get him to call me back.  I asked her how much it was going to cost & what colour & she said she didn't know ......I don't really believe that.  So now I'm waiting for this phone call & feeling very anxious.  What if it's really expensive, what if we hate their  style & colour choice????  I'm feeling really sick about it, I hate confrontation.  What are my rights here?


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#2 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:27 PM

Check your council guidelines.  They cannot do this without agreement in advance.  They must discuss it with you.

Our council guidelines are clear that if you go ahead with the fencing you cannot claim--we also have the situation where the party who builds the fence without consent can be required to tear it down and build it within their own fenceline.

#3 Georgie01

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

If you're in Vic the rules are all here (I Googled "boundary fence") and, as the PP said, your Council can help. It's fairly black and white - I guess because this is a common issue between neighbours.

#4 Bwok~Bwok

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:31 PM

I think it's a bit rude they didn't advise you.

With the old picket fencing at our house, DP had to provide a quote (with colours) and the 'workings' on how much each share was (4 properties). From memory they had 6 weeks to pay, but i could be wrong on that. But he gave them about a 3 months heads up before doing it though.

ETA: and yes he needed their approval, which in our case wasn't hard as the picket fencing was falling apart

Edited by Bwok~Bwok, 29 November 2012 - 04:34 PM.


#5 FizzlingFireboxes

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:34 PM

They really should have consulted you and discusses what you each wanted in regards to material and colors. Not sure if they legally had to but it's nice to think they should have.

I'm pretty sure, if they have some ridiculous quote, you can obtain another one, and only pay half of the cheaper option. I know our neighbours when we had our fences replaced, wanted the lattice part on top of the colorbond, they paid for that.

If a wooden fence is cheaper than you only pay the price for that not the more expensive one. But better to get that checked.

#6 bakesgirls

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:34 PM

From what I have heard on this subject in the past, if the current fence is still in working order, not broken or falling to bits, you don't have to pay for anything. If the neighbour wants new better looking fences, that's their problem and it's up to them to pay for it.

If the fence is broken, you are not obligated to pay for a more expensive type of fence, just half the cost of repair or half the cost to get the fence replaced with like for like (if that makes sense). So you can't be expected to pay half if your fence was wooden, but the neighbor wants a colour schemed colour bond fence to match their roof and the roses growing in their yard. They would have to pay the difference in increased cost due to wanting something more expensive than is what is currently there.

They also can't just arrange a new fence without getting quotes and getting you to agree to it. They can't just hold out their hand and expect you to pay for their choice.



#7 niggles

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:35 PM

Go to the council website and look for the dividing fences act information.

In my council, you don't have to agree to replace a fence that doesn't need replacing. If someone else wants to do it then, unless they get you to agree to it, they pay for it themselves.

If they want you to pay half then you get input into what type of fence, what quotes to get and which one to accept. Assuming you agree.

Your neighbour is being heavy handed I think. Or didn't tell you about a damaged fence. If the fence was damaged you'll have to pay but they should have let you know so you can have input into quotes and fence type.

#8 opethmum

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:35 PM

We had that done by neighbours, if you do not live there any more I would honestly let it go re the colours, you do not have to put up with the condition of the fence and decor of the colours.
I would just pay the difference and you know get on with the rest of your life and just build that bridge and get over it. Stop making it bigger than it needs to be. Just be grateful they took care of the arrangements and that your privacy was not compromised in the building of the fence.


#9 YeahbutNah

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:40 PM

I second checking with your local council.

It's also my understanding that it should be agreed in advance for them to be able to charge you half.  However, they may still be able to take some civil action to recover costs, especially if the old fence wasn't fit - it will then be up to the legal body (i.e. magistrates' court or VCAT-type tribunal) to determine how much you will pay.

If you think a new fence was necessary, how about offering them what you think is about half of the cost of the type of fence you would have wanted? Then there's much less incentive for them to have the costs and inconvenience of taking legal action.

This is a good resource for Victoria http://www.fencingonline.com.au/disputes/victoria.htm.

Bit weird of your neighbours to do this when you have a good relationship.  Not very sensible.

#10 niggles

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

QUOTE (opethmum @ 29/11/2012, 02:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We had that done by neighbours, if you do not live there any more I would honestly let it go re the colours, you do not have to put up with the condition of the fence and decor of the colours.
I would just pay the difference and you know get on with the rest of your life and just build that bridge and get over it. Stop making it bigger than it needs to be. Just be grateful they took care of the arrangements and that your privacy was not compromised in the building of the fence.


Not everyone has a spare $1000 lying around to be spent at one weeks notice. Which is why people have rights in this situation. If that had happened to me I would not be parting with a cent and then getting on with my life. I certainly would not be grateful to my neighbours for replacing a perfectly useful fence just because they feel like it and expecting me to share the cost. I'd consider it a waste of resources.

#11 bakesgirls

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

QUOTE
We had that done by neighbours, if you do not live there any more I would honestly let it go re the colours, you do not have to put up with the condition of the fence and decor of the colours.
I would just pay the difference and you know get on with the rest of your life and just build that bridge and get over it. Stop making it bigger than it needs to be. Just be grateful they took care of the arrangements and that your privacy was not compromised in the building of the fence.

Even if there is nothing wrong with the current fence? Why should the OP have to pay if there's nothing wrong?

OP, I'm assuming you have tenants if it's your investment property? Can you speak to your REA (or tenants if it's a private rental) and ask if the fence is still OK, and check if it's damaged in any way?

Edited by bakesgirls, 29 November 2012 - 04:43 PM.


#12 Jacina

Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

yup you don't live there, the cost isn't going to be astronomical, unless he installs a purple and pink diamond encrusted fence I would let it go.

#13 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:02 PM

But why should she suck up any amount without consultation?  It doesn't work like that.

#14 Jacina

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:09 PM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 29/11/2012, 05:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But why should she suck up any amount without consultation?  It doesn't work like that.


It's an investment property. She's not going to live there. If she really wants to challenge him she can, she has a right to choose what fence goes in, but really why would you bother? Simply because it's your right to?

#15 *LucyE*

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:18 PM

If the current fence is in working order, I'd be taking photos now as proof.

I wouldn't pay for work that isn't necessary and I hadn't been consulted about.

And we have paid for fencing part of our property without asking our neighbours to contribute. They were satisfied with a dodgy wire fence. We wanted 6ft to contain our (friendly) dog. So we paid for it all.

#16 bakesgirls

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:21 PM

QUOTE (Jacina @ 29/11/2012, 05:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's an investment property. She's not going to live there. If she really wants to challenge him she can, she has a right to choose what fence goes in, but really why would you bother? Simply because it's your right to?


Just because she doesn't live there, that doesn't mean that she should just cough up funds that she may not neccesarily have. If there's nothing wrong with the fence, then she should have to pay anything.

It's not about choosing what type of fence as a replacement. It's that the current one may be fine, in perfect working order, but the neighbours just feel like a change. If that's the case, then that's their problem, not hers.

If your neighbour wanted a new fence to match their landscaping or whatever reason, and the fence you had was fine and was not broken or needing replacement, would you be happy to cough up for their choices?

#17 Madnesscraves

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:21 PM

IP or not she has a right to be consulted in a new fence going up. LL do like their place to look good. A fence that clashes horrible with house can devalue the rental
Income.

OP. you have rights and he should have consulted you. Both of you should have signed a quote. Not just him. I'd speak to council and find out what your rights are. I'm pretty sure he can't make you pay.

#18 Luci

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:23 PM

OP I agree with some of the other posts - you are only legally required to pay for a new fence or repairs to the existing fence if the fence is in poor repair and the work is essential.

Are you aware of the current condition of the fence - does it need to be replaced? Can you head over to the property and have a look & take photos?

When you speak to the neighhbour I personally would not say too much initially. I would just find out what he is proposing in terms of materials and cost and say you will talk to your DH / have a think about it etc and let him know. Then speak with the council and decide how you wish to proceed.

Good luck,

Luci

#19 Coffeegirl

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:25 PM

QUOTE (Jacina @ 29/11/2012, 06:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's an investment property. She's not going to live there. If she really wants to challenge him she can, she has a right to choose what fence goes in, but really why would you bother? Simply because it's your right to?


Exactly.  It is still HER property. Just because the OP doesn't live there doesn't mean the new fence won't affect the property value.   If they put in a dark green fence on one boundary and the rest of the fencing is tan, then it looks odd.  And if it's colour bond you can't just paint it on your internal side.

The OP should have been consulted before the neighbour organised it and he shouldn't be expecting them to pay any part of it if they haven't been included in the decision.

#20 cezanne

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:26 PM

An investment property doesn't mean a pot of gold is available.

She doesn't live there - so what?

The point being that she is expected to pay for something that she has had no input into and may not need (ie if the existing fence is in good condition) - regardless of what it looks like.

I would not be happy about it at all. They could knock themselves out with a new fence but I wouldn't be paying a cent. Especially with such short notice.


#21 qak

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:31 PM

QUOTE (Jacina @ 29/11/2012, 05:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
yup you don't live there, the cost isn't going to be astronomical, unless he installs a purple and pink diamond encrusted fence I would let it go.


Our colourbond fence was$9,000, ten years ago, so I would be checking the price! We paid for the whole lot so s could pick the colour.

#22 LJA_2012

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:32 PM

If there is nothing wrong with the fence you have I wouldn't pay a cent! How rude of them if there is something wrong with the fence that isn't fixable I would be saying that we will be looking at quotes ect and come to a compromise with the colours and only then would I Pay half.

But if they really want to put it up just because they want a new fence but there is nothing wrong the existing fence I would let them but I would also be saying I'm not paying.


Op let us know how it goes

#23 jill1972

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

QUOTE (Jacina @ 29/11/2012, 05:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's an investment property. She's not going to live there. If she really wants to challenge him she can, she has a right to choose what fence goes in, but really why would you bother? Simply because it's your right to?


I don't think it matters whether we live there or not, it's still our property & all they had to do was consult with us too.  I can guarantee they wouldn't like it if we did this, I'd never have the balls or impoliteness to do that anyway.  My  FIL is living there, I've not noticed any damage, but I haven't been there for a while now. Anyway, I'm still awaiting this phone call.  And no we don't actually have pots of money lying around at the moment especially with Christmas around the corner so the money side of it is a concern.


____________

#24 jill1972

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:37 PM

Just to add as well, they've only just notified us at this very late stage, so it's already been ordered & too late for anything to get changed.


___________

#25 Luci

Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:40 PM

Can you phone your FIL and ask him about the condition of the fence?

Luci




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