From fence fiasco to social media spectacle: Inside the explosive neighbourhood dispute that’s gone viral

Apr 17, 2024
What started as a simple dispute over property lines has exploded into a social media spectacle. Source: Getty Images.

In the quiet streets of a US Suburb, a seemingly ordinary neighborhood dispute has ignited into a social media sensation as one frustrated resident took to Reddit seeking advice on how to handle their irate neighbor over a seemingly innocuous matter – a fence.

The feud began innocently enough, as the neighbors found themselves on opposite sides of a fence disagreement that escalated into a full-blown war of words and actions.

What started as a simple disagreement over property lines has spiraled into a social media spectacle that is captivating the attention of netizens far and wide.

Details of the incident were shared in a Reddit post titled, Neighbour threatening to cut down fence,  in which the original poster outlined how the ongoing dispute began.

“Previously, my next door neighbour was an elderly man, and with his permission and agreement, I erected (and paid for completely) a fence between our two properties in the backyard. My backyard is a concrete slab, and the neighbour’s is grass,” they wrote.

“The property line sits about 2 inches off my concrete and onto the neighbour’s grass. The fence posts are flush against the concrete, and so the posts are quite literally on the middle of the property line. I didn’t get a permit and am not sure if it is required?

“My neighbour died and a house flipper purchased the property and has been renovating it with his employees over the last few months. He often isn’t at the property and I’ve only spoken to him once, but he pointed out the issue of the fence. I was in a rush, said I’d look into it and have not seen him since.”

The poster then shared the letter they received from their disgruntled neighbour.

November 15th, 2023

Dear Sir,

Your fence is on the property of (his address). An official survey was conducted and you are aware of the fence line. You were addressed in person at the end of September 2023 after the survey certificate was completed. You had someone look at the fence without getting back to me. Winter has come.

I addressed you in person and you had ample time to rectify the situation. The police is aware of the situation, my lawyer confirms, and legally I can cut down the fence. And could have earlier.

Either you agree to renting the property on which the fence is on for $60 a month, or I cut it down. The rent is not to be seen as a right of yours but is an indication that I want the fence moved, and want my property back. Till then you pay rent. (Besides, the fence is not build according to bylaw, and is too high, among others.)

Rent is due for November, e transfer to (name and telephone number) and each month following.

Or checque to (guy’s name and address).

If I do not hear from you the fence is cut down and left on your side.

The poster then revealed that they contacted their neighbour to make it clear that they “would absolutely not be paying rent”.

“This is a bit excessive, but also that I had done some research previously and I think if he has title insurance on the property, this would cover an encroaching fence?” they added.

“I would happily pay a deductible to have the concrete cut and the posts moved entirely onto my property. He responded simply with ‘ok I cut down’.

“Do I have any rights here? I have dogs so the fence is essential, and have to go to work during the day so won’t be home to monitor the situation. How should I proceed? Anything is helpful here – thanks in advance!”

The post quickly gained traction on the platform, with users chiming in with a mix of humour, empathy, and practical advice.

“He can go to small claims and serve you with papers and prove that he did in fact have a surveyor visit and prove that you were served with the surveyor’s results, but he’s not within his rights to extort you with a rental ransom,” one person advised.

“Property flippers won’t spend money unless they have to. A few inches is just an extortion attempt to get some cash out of you. If I were you, I would listen to other posters about him not being able to remove your fence, BUT I would threaten to take him to small claims court if he dumps any “renovation garbage” (fence) on your property.” commented another.

“Get your own survey done as soon as possible. Maybe get a camera to watch the fence so you have a record if he does something crazy,” suggested one fellow user.

“I’m sorry this is happening to you. They’re an asshole,” another person more bluntly commented.

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