New Renters Build Fence & Utilize Our Fence Without Permission
I've read quite a bit about neighbor fence disputes on this site and would like an opinion on our current situation.
We bought our home 5 years ago and built a shadow box fence for our pets at that time. One neighbor was interested in building as well and we built the fence on the property line after he paid half materials and labor costs. The other neighbor was not interested and because he wasn't, we built our fence 6" inside our property line.
The owner of the "no fence" home has moved and rented his home. The new renters built a fence for their dogs on 3 sides. They failed to build the fourth side and when asked said they had no plans to finish it. Essentially they planned on using our fence on our property without permission. To get around having to ask or compensate us, they left a 6" gap at each end that sits away from our fence rather than attaching to it. Technically the fence they built is not on our property. They are still enjoying the use of our fence without having to shell out a dime for the fourth side of theirs. They piled up firewood at each gap to keep their dogs from escaping.
We had the unfortunate occasion to meet these renters before they moved in. They brag constantly about how they get around paying bills (cell phone, cable, etc) and it's obvious to us they will do anything they can to avoid paying for anything they don't have to. They are friends with the owner of the home and he was not sympathetic.
What if any recourse do we have? Had they offered to compensate us or even asked permission, we wouldn't have denied them use but the mere fact that they blatantly "scammed" us, for lack of a better word doesn't sit well at all. I have no doubt they are playing the odds that we won't do anything about it which makes me even more angry. We feel swindled and a little helpless.
We've considered removing a few boards for "maintenance" and leaving space open for their dogs to get out until they pay. This isn't at all about the money. The fence is 5 years old and we wouldn't have asked for much (if anything) at all, but this has become about the principle and a need to teach them a lesson.
Any thoughts would be appreciated. We bought the Neighbor Law book and read the section on fences. It appears to be in our favor.