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First-Time Homeowner Builds a Fence After Neighbor Refuses to Pay, But When Unauthorized Decorations Appear, Community Tensions Soar!

The Original Poster (OP), a first-time homeowner, faces a contentious dispute with their neighbor over a newly erected fence and property rights. The tension reaches a fever pitch when the neighbor, after refusing to contribute to the fence’s cost, outrageously decorates it, and a heated confrontation ensues.

A New Homeowner

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OP buys their first house, a property with a massive yard and a deteriorating wooden fence separating it from the neighboring property. This shift from apartment living to owning a house is a huge change for OP, bringing along new responsibilities and relationships with neighbors.

The Neglected Yard

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The previous owner of the house was an elderly man who couldn’t maintain the yard, leaving it in a state of disrepair. Now, OP has to deal with the overgrown yard and the rotten fence. A month after moving in, OP finally finds time to address these issues.

The Fence Debate

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OP approaches the neighbor about replacing the decrepit fence, suggesting a cost-sharing approach. To OP’s surprise, the neighbor declines, saying he’s fine with no fence and won’t contribute financially. Despite the response, OP decides to finance and build the new fence independently.

Labor and Achievement

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After investing significant money and hard work, OP replaces the old fence with a tall, sturdy wooden one. The fence, located entirely on OP’s property, is a source of pride and a testament to their property renovation and improvements.

The Unexpected Transformation

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One day, OP comes home from work to find the neighbor’s side of the fence adorned with plant pots hanging in front of the fence and the border filled with a variety of plants. Not only that, but the neighbor has painted the side of the fence facing them. This unauthorized embellishment sparks a conflict between OP and the neighbor.

A Heated Confrontation

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OP confronts the neighbor, demanding the removal of the plant pots and the paint from their fence. The neighbor reacts with laughter and dismisses OP’s requests, escalating the situation.

Taking Action

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Driven by anger and a sense of violation, OP removes all the plant pots, uproots the plants from the border, which are technically on his property, and throws them into the neighbor’s yard. As a final act of defiance, OP paints the fence facing the neighbor’s yard a glaring bright yellow. This reactive step further intensifies the dispute.

A Family Affair

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The neighbor, livid at OP’s actions, confronts OP along with his children, who had invested hours into decorating the fence. They express their anger and disbelief at OP’s actions. This situation leads to a deeper discord among the parties involved.

Doubts and Regrets

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Despite being firm on their stand, OP starts questioning their actions, wondering if they went too far. His decision to remove the plants and repaint the fence may have been impulsive and aggressive.

An Unexpected Legal Threat

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In a new twist, the neighbor threatens to take legal action against OP for the destruction of the plants. He claims that despite the fence being on OP’s property, the border area was shared space. This threat adds a legal dimension to the ongoing feud.

The Community Takes Notice

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As the conflict escalates, other neighbors start to notice and take sides. Some sympathize with OP’s right to protect their property, while others argue for the neighbor’s right to decorate shared spaces. The dispute becomes a larger community talking point, adding to the complexity of the situation.

The Homeowners’ Association

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The neighbor, not backing down, brings the issue to the Homeowners’ Association (HOA). He makes a case for the shared nature of the property border and the harm done to his children’s work.

The HOA Ruling

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After much deliberation, the HOA sides in favor of OP, stating that the fence and border area belong to OP’s property and can be decorated or left as they please. This ruling validates OP’s actions and frustrates the neighbor, potentially straining their relationship further.

An Unlikely Resolution

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The OP is pleased with the decision but wonders if he went too far. His relationship with his neighbor appears to be tarnished forever.

Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?

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The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:

Forum Responded

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One reader said, “Show him the survey and ask if he wants to pay rent for the use of your property.”

Another Viewpoint

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Another responder wrote: “First, the fence is on your property. Second, you paid for it yourself. Third, he put all the things on the fence and refused to take them away. What else could be done?”

A Different Perspective

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A different person states, “It’s a pretty big deal to paint someone else’s fence because (not only is it technically vandalism?) with the wrong paint or care, moisture can get trapped and ruin the wood. That said, I don’t think trashing their work is the typical way of handling such disputes.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

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