What would you do?
I couldn't find a "neighbor" forum...
I want to preface this with the fact that we are very considerate, friendly, go-out-of-our-way to help neighbors kind of people, and do our best to keep up the neighborly relations with those around us.
We have 6-month new neighbors behind us. They seem nice enough, but the guy seems a little anal retentive about property lines. Nothing wrong with establishing property lines, but he's trying to get all of his surrounding neighbors to go in on a "group" survey of all our properties so he can get a discount (I think it's more of a money issue with him). I don't particularly need a property survey because I have the blueprints that came with my house and a property marker in the back, so I know exactly where my property lines are. He has informed me that he was told he has X amount of time to establish his property lines with his surrounding neighbors before he loses right to that property (if another neighbor were encroaching on his property), though I truly believe that he's just being overly particular and this is his excuse for knit-picking with neighbors (if you don't like the closeness of small lots, then don't purchase a small lot!), and from a legal standpoint, when you purchase a home what's in the deed IS legally your property, and yes, I'm aware that from a legal standpoint there are many arguments and loopholes in the matter...I've read a lot of the stories. In short, I think he has too much time on his hands and is making a mountain out of a mole hill. Let me explain...
He was commenting to me about one of his neighbors who has hostas growing on or near his property line. We are on really small lots - less than 1/4 acre - basically on top of your neighbors, and he's complaining about a matter of a couple of inches. Not from a standpoint that he wanted to do something with those two inches or that those two inches were interfering in any way, it was just a simple matter of property lines. And, he also mentioned the fact that he doesn't have access to his neighbors side of the garage because the neighbors fence cuts in and attaches to his garage - obviously at the approval of a previous owner, one can only assume. Those neighbors were here long before he came along. My only comment that I want to add here is I don't understand why someone would make an issue out of these things 6 months after purchasing the property, and knowing exactly what neighbors fences may have encroached your property when you put an offer on the home, you knew what you were bidding on, and then make a stink about it 6 months after you've purchased the property. I certainly didn't make my other neighbor detach the portion of their fence from the back of my garage - it was there when I bought the place. It's still my property, and I'm sure my neighbors know that. I don't have to make them remove it for them to realize what is or isn't mine.
So, I showed him where the property marker was behind each of our garages, but he still seems intent on getting a survey done of his property. He has every right to do so - doesn't really concern me.
So, behind my garage, where his garage butts next to my own, I "own" a small portion of the property. I too have the fence along the back of my property cut in and attach to my garage. We had installed a gate back there so we could still have access to our property behind the garage for repairs, storage, etc. City ordinance states that he is not allowed to block my access to my property, though I may have to encroach on his in order to access my own. He has not blocked access to my property, so that's not the issue at hand - just trying to establish the facts here. Likewise, if he had to make repairs on the back of his garage, he would likely step on my property - garages are that close in proximity. No big deal.
When we installed the fence a couple of years ago, we had some problems with neighborhood kids climbing up the fence and on top of our garage roof. Keep in mind the neighbors property behind us is elevated, and our garage is at the bottom of the slope, so though our fence is only 4 1/2 feet in height, the top of the fence actually sits just below the roof line of our garage - the fence is situated on the higher portion of our property. This makes it easy enough for anyone to climb on top of the fence and scale the garage roof. So, the local police suggested that we plant a japanese barberry back there, along the back of my garage where the fence meets up with it, as a deterrent (they are very prickly shrubs).
When the new owners moved in, not knowing whether they are planning to have children or not, I offered to cut it down if they wanted me to - obviously people with kids are probably not going to want a prickly shrub next to their property, understandably. They declined my offer, and I agreed to keep it trimmed back - so it is level with my fenceline - i.e. so it doesn't protrude past our property line. I go out there regularly to prune it back, but of course I get the occasional comment about how when he uses his push mower he gets scratched by it (and in the same breath he will comment that his wife loves them). I actually gave them two more barberries from my property that they planted along the same fenceline, but the opposite end of the yard from my garage. They accepted those readily.
So today I was talking to him and mentioned that I cut the barberry back today again (it's the growing season) - I make sure it doesn't protrude from our property line, but I keep it growing vertically - so it reaches the top of my 4 1/2 foot fence and higher to deter trespassers. He then tells me, as he's pointing at my barberry and then his two (that I gave to them) that he wants to trim them all into a round shape.
Ok, so I offered, in the past, that if they needed to trim them BACK (to my fenceline), feel free to do so. What I did not offer is for them to "shape" them into a shape that they prefer to look at, or to adjust the height at all.
At this point, he's just plain getting on my nerves - I gave them every opportunity to tell me if they wanted it removed, and they declined, and yet now he's acting like this is his property to do what he wants with. My husband suggested that I just cut it down so we can avoid any conflict, while others have suggested that I leave it if it's just on my property, and that it's not his place to "round off" the shape of my shrub. I know that if he decides to cut it into a round shape I'm going to get really peeved because it will negate the whole reason for planting it there in the first place. My husband "argues" that they are the ones who have to look at it. My arguement is yeah, but just because I don't like the way a neighbor shapes their plants doesn't give me the right to shape it for them, and if he is so set on establishing property lines, well then what's wrong with us doing the same? It IS our shrub and it IS on our property, though it is on the other side of our fence, and it is in their plain view (though it is a pretty shrub).
I'm beginning to feel that he is doing this just for the simple fact that he is so anal about property lines, but I don't want him to get comfortable with trying to claim what is rightfully mine either. Nor do I want to feel like I'm being bullied into cutting it down. He has two other barberries there that I gave him, and they gladly accepted. What gives?
Just looking for the viewpoints of others in this matter - and venting in the process, of course.