How to best handle a neighbor who has damaged a second fence on my property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to best handle a neighbor who has damaged a second fence on my property?

I have a neighbor who has piled dirt and grass clippings for years against the back of a fence which is on my property bordering his backyard. I had to replace the fence a year ago because portions of the wood were broken by the weight of the compost. My new vinyl fence has been bulging for many months for the same reason and it is now also falling apart. He is the type of neighbor that is irrational

and unapproachable, so nicely talking with him about it is probably not an option. I am considering writing him a letter simply saying that unfortunately our fence is broken again and we will be replacing it I’m not even asking that he pay for the fence. I am trying to be as neighborly as possible, however, before replacing the fence I would like the compost pile moved completely away from my fence. I would like to mention to him that I dont really feel like reporting this to the city if he cooperates with us, however if the compost is not moved within a week city code enforcement will be contacted. Does that seem like a reasonable approach?

Asked on November 19, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Is piling it against the fence against city code? It apparently is if he was fined previously, but if it only results in a minor fine, reporting it will be as ineffective now as it was previously: if the prior fine did not stop him from doing this, why do you assume a new fine will?
Your neighbor has damaged your property while knowing (due to the fine) that what he did is improper: that makes him liable for all costs you have thereby incurred. You could sue him for the fence's repair/replacement cost, such as in small claims court, to minimize the time, cost, and complexity of the lawsuit. Perhaps if he as to pay to repair or replace your fence, he will learn his lesson--and in any event, why should you pay out of pocket?

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