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Oh dear. This is not the best way to start a morning's serious research:



I did go to bed last night feeling really quite nervous about how windy it was - though my concerns centred mainly around the enormous trees on the road outside, which I am often scared will fall over in the night and crush me in my bed. Happily, as it turns out no lives or limbs have been lost, but there clearly is now going to be tedium involving insurance companies and fence constructors. :-(

I've started the ball rolling this morning by calling the people who manage the adjoining property in an attempt to find out who is actually responsible for that fence: them or me.It's never been clear - you can't work it out by looking at which side the posts are on because they're in the middle, and I've been told conflicting things by different people who live up and down the road, too. The lady on the phone didn't know and said she would ask the owners, but of course when someone phones you up and says, "A fence has blown over: do you think it's yours or your neighbours?", any normal human being would obviously reply, "Oh, well I always thought it was theirs", wouldn't they? So I think I can guess what their answer is going to be.

Damn, damn and triple-damn.

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Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
viscount_s
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:08 am (UTC)
Despite the fairly spectacular nature of the pictures, I'm sorry that this has happened. Here in the Netherlands, the storms are due to ramp up from now until about 5pm this evening, and at present, the office building I'm in is seriously swaying - almost as though it was afloat.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
Oh dear - I hope you don't get sea-sick! At least my house feels nice and solid.
biascut
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:12 am (UTC)
Oh crikey!

We woke up to a chair in the middle of the garden, a smashed mirror on the deck (which, obviously, shouldn't really have been there, but was) and tipped-over green house. Yours is a bit more spectacular, though!
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
A tipped-over greenhouse sounds pretty bad, though. :-( I hope the plants inside it haven't been too badly damaged.
biascut
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
It's not a glass one, just one of those plastic covers on a metal frame. And it mostly had gardening gloves, twine, secateurs and so on in it! There were few plants, but they were all very small so I'm hoping that they'll survive being picked back up and tucked up in some nice cosy compost!
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Ah, right - yes, I see how that would fall over very easily in the wind. I hope your plants will indeed survive the experience.
(Deleted comment)
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:22 am (UTC)
A local cat is just exploring the wreckage at the moment. He looks very bemused!
katsmeat
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
I always understood it was a general principal that everybody was responsible for the fence on one side - presumably if somebody was resopnsible for two fences, it'd lead to somebody else being responsible for none and be grossly unfair.

Perhaps you can establish who is responsible for you and your neighbour's respective intact fences.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:27 am (UTC)
Yes, that's supposed to be the normal system, but I think the original arrangement down our street has been lost in the mists of time, and I suspect that there are some unfair ambiguities of the kind you describe going on. I really wish there was some kind of clear legal statement of responsibilities available, but I've scoured the lease for my house very carefully and I can't see anything of the sort.
childeric
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
The normal principle is that you are responsible for the fences at the back and front of your house on the left as seen from your own windows, but I think that can differ with special arrangements or circumstances.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
Yes, but as I've said in my original post, I've asked neighbours about it and been given conflicting answers - some which agree with the principle you've outlined there, and some which don't. So I can't tell for sure what is meant to apply here.
foxy76
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, and it can depend how much the neighbours actually care about maintaining the fences! My mum has ended up maintaining and replacing fences that are technically her neighbour's responsibility as they can't be bothered and she doesn't want to live without neat and orderly boundaries...

Good luck Penny, what an awful thing to wake up to!
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
*nod* And in this case, since I am an owner-occupier but the house next door is inhabited by tenants, I suspect I'm going to bear the brunt of dealing with it, since of course the owners aren't going to care about it anything like as much as me. :-(
the_lady_lily
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
We've actually got through unscathed here at the parental manse, which is a bit of a surprise as the QEII bridge was closed off by yesterday afternoon. I hope you manage to get this all sorted out easily and quickly.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
Cheers! It could have been a lot worse, I guess. E.g. in the final picture, the window nearest to the fence is somebody's bedroom window, so I'm very glad that didn't get smashed in by a flying fence-panel while he was sleeping. I wonder if what did happen woke him up? I haven't seen anything of the house's actual occupants so far today.
ms_siobhan
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Oh no :-( I hope sorting it out is relatively painfree but if not I'm always on hand for cakeage and moanage if needed.

So looking nforward to Wednesday :-)
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yes, a good bit of genteel comedy will be just the ticket after this. :-)
huskyteer
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
Yowzer! Hope it all gets fixed with minimal hassle. I was rather expecting a scooter on its side this morning - it's happened before - but everything seems to be roughly where it was last night.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Glad to hear it!
kernowgirl
Nov. 12th, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, indeed! Is it just fences blown over? I understand they're quite tedious enough, but I hope nothing of greater sentiment (or integrity to the house) got damaged.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
No, it's just the fences. In the first photo, you can see a honeysuckle plant lying horizontally, when yesterday it was vertical and climbing up the fence. So I think that may not be quite the plant it was once everything has been fixed around it. But I'm hoping that even that will be salvageable, as it is still firmly rooted in the ground.
kernowgirl
Nov. 12th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
That's good to hear. Best of luck with the fence. I suppose that's our advantage of buying a fenceless property. We had to pay for our own fence to be put in, but at least we know its ours! And I'm comfortably sure that it will survive gales and floods too, although time will tell how well our money was spent.

My very best wishes to your honeysuckle as well. They do seem a pretty hardy flower, so I'm sure it'll be looking fantastic again next year.
kantti
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
My fence got blown over a few years ago and I had a similar dilemma about who was responsible, with a similarly rented neighbour. I eventually looked at the little homebuying form the previous occupiers had filled in at it did have a question about who owned the fence, but I suspect their answer was mostly guesswork. In the end I decided just repairing the fence would be the path of least resistance. And then I failed to actually repair it for many many months, much to the dismay of deeply_spurious. I'd tried to get a fence contractor, but none of the ones I called would answer their phones or return calls or come round when they said they would or produce quotes after visiting, and I eventually concluded the universe did not want me to have an upright fence. I hope the repair process is a bit more efficient for you - or rather that you're more efficient than me!
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I suspect that a lot of these things basically work on a) established local custom and practice and b) the question of who actually cares enough to arrange for repairs, rather than c) anything formal or legal. If it ends up being my responsibility, I think it'll probably take a while, as I am just way too busy during term-time to deal with this sort of stuff. But hopefully I should be able to get onto it in December, when my schedule becomes much more flexible, and I can actually be in when contractors come round and that sort of thing.
steer
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Could you replace the fence with limes manned by legionaries?

[Oooh... scifi/Romans crossover -- in Fallout New Vegas one of the chief villains models himself and his army on Caesar and his legions. They go about with banners crucifying people. He even calls himself Caesar and a plot point is a literal "decimation" (in the roman sense) of a legion which does badly.]

strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
I actually just took delivery of a plastic Roman legionary, based on the Autons in the last series of Doctor Who, just yesterday. So I suppose I could buy lots of them, and build them their own little trench and embankment to patrol - which would be really cute! Not sure the owners of the house next door would consider it a suitable replacement, though...
steer
Nov. 12th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Not sure the owners of the house next door would consider it a suitable replacement, though...

If it had a full complement of Roman soldiers they would not dare complain.

[Did you ever wonder if that decimation thing got into big arguments about rounding up or rounding down? Particularly if you were the last guy.]
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Heh - good question! I suspect that any such debates would quickly be resolved via a sword-thrust from the commanding officer, though... "What's that? There are 5001 soldiers in my legion and we're not sure how to deal with the 5001st? Not any more."
miss_next
Nov. 12th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Oh no! :-( I hope you can get the information you need quickly - that's half the battle in such a case.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
Still not heard anything yet... Mind you, my gardener popped round earlier today to collect some money I owed him, and when I showed him the damage immediately said that he could do the work to fix it. He's great and very reliable, so I'd entirely trust him to do it and charge fairly for the work. So at least getting that side of things arranged should be quite painless if I need to do it.
qatsi
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh no! At least you are OK. I did notice a variety of wheelie bins blown over on their sides yesterday on the way to work, but nothing more severe than that in these parts. I've been lucky in the past - a single panel did come loose once, but the neighbour fixed it himself (I didn't really get on with the neighbours at the time; they were real party animals and I was glad when they moved out, a few years ago now). Since then the new neighbours have replaced the entire length of that fence, so I can honestly say it's their's. As I live on a corner plot, I'm not entirely convinced about the "it's always the one on the left" rule. At least, if it comes down to it, it should be a farily unambiguous insurance claim.
strange_complex
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
As I live on a corner plot, I'm not entirely convinced about the "it's always the one on the left" rule.

No - quite. It clearly doesn't apply in all circumstances. I think part of the reason for the confusion round here is that some fences serve dual function as the backs of some people's gardens, but the left sides of others.

Anyway, I took the pictures partly for insurance purposes, and have also dug out my policy this afternoon - though failed to actually scrutinise it in detail so far.
hollyione
Nov. 13th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
Oh dear - and your garden is so big there is a lot of fence to replace!

In terms of liability, would your original deeds tell you?
strange_complex
Nov. 13th, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
Well, it's not the entire fence that needs replacing right now. Just six panels, I think. But yes - over time, this sort of thing is going to keep on happening along different parts of the boundary.

As for the deeds - no. I've looked, and there's nothing. I also asked my solicitor at the time when I bought the house, and they weren't able to find anything.
hollyione
Nov. 14th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
That's a real shame :( I wish we lived a bit nearer to each other, because Pete can put up fences and stuff, he likes it.... Hope you find a reasonably priced contractor soon.
strange_complex
Nov. 14th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Heh, thanks, but don't worry. My gardener has already announced that he can do it - he's pretty good at heavy work himself, and has various contacts whom he can call on to help. So I think I'll be able to sort it. It's just a bit tedious, that's all.
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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