My neighbour cleared up my garden without permission and is now demanding payment – what are my rights?

NOSEY neighbours are a common problem for homeowners – but what happens when they get too involved in your business?

It comes after one homeowner came home to discover their neighbour had tidied up their property without permission – and then billed them for doing so.

Seeking advice on their unusual scenario, one homeowner has written in to the Telegraph with their neighbourly dilemma.

Since moving in to the house with their partner in 2021, he has described having nothing but trouble with their neighbour.

He said a "passive aggressive war" has been waged against them from day one.

He said: "It started small, with notes through the door complaining about our Yorkshire Terrier barking, and comments about our children playing in the street in front of the house."

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With the hard-to-please neighbour planning to sell her house, the pair didn't think they would have to put up with the complaints for much longer.

But things escalated to new levels when the neighbour complained about the couple's messy garden, saying it was going to affect her chances of selling.

Things came to a head when the neighbour let herself in to tidy up the garden while there was nobody home.

The startled property owner said: "She had evidently mowed the grass, trimmed the hedges, and moved some of our children's toys that were on the lawn into a pile on our porch."

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While it might seem like a friendly gesture from a neighbour – the couple then got a £50 bill through the letterbox from the next-door for the clean-up job.

He said: "Since my wife and I stopped working from home, we have admittedly struggled to keep on top of things and the garden got into a bit of a state.

"I told our neighbour that we would sort it out as soon as possible."

But this wasn't good enough for their neighbour, who responded that she simply couldn't wait for the couple to do it themselves and insists she is paid for doing the cleaning up.

Should I pay my neighbour for doing work to my property?

Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, told The Sun: "The couple are under no legal obligation to pay as they did not agree in advance to the work.

"In fact, they may have a case against the neighbour for trespassing onto their property."

However, escalating the dispute may not be the best idea in this case, as the neighbour is planning to move, so it may only prolong issues.

Paula added: "The pair should also mention to their neighbour that she could very well be jeopardising her chances of a sale, as she is required to disclose any disputes with her neighbours.

"There is a specific section on this in the TA6 form which she will need to complete truthfully for the prospective buyer."

If after gently pointing this out, the neighbour continues to escalate matters and demands cash, the homeowners could reach out to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

RICS has a neighbourly dispute service that costs between £1,500 to £2,200 – and though this may seem like a lot, it is likely to be considerably less than legal fees should the matter go to court.

Elsewhere, one couple are trying to sell their house but found that the neighbour had built a shed on their land – we explain their rights.

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Another homeowner found themselves facing legal action after being accused of stealing their neighbour's garden.

And a legal expert reveals the most common property spats and what your rights are in relation to them.

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