Neighbour's children trespassing and climbing onto our roof

Part of this post is to vent and debrief, but also to gather ideas in how I should approach this situation.

We own a low set property. Our neighbours situated behind us have pretty free access to out property as there is no dividing fence. Their 3 kids (roughly 2, 4, 6 year olds?) are frequently entering our property without permission. We have to keep kindly asking them to leave on a regular basis. The eldest usually makes a few snide comments and leaves, but is soon back in our yard. No damage yet, but they play with our kids equipment and I often have power tools around the area that I sometimes forget to put away. One of the kids is ALWAYS stark naked so it's an unpleasant sight. We've spoken to the parents who seem OK and have apologised, but there is no visible change in these kids behaviours. They are still outside largely unsupervised.

The biggest concern is that while we were out, our other neighbour found the older kids running around on our roof and pulling on the antennae cords. When he asked if they're supposed to be up there the 6 year old apparently said "yes we are". Again no damage done, but I'm very concerned for the safety of these kids. I spoke to the father about the roof incident and he apologized, but then proceeded to talk about his long working hours and how his was had been sick which the kids "took advantage of". A week later, they were out in the back largely unsupervised again.

Now the obvious response is to build a fence. The neighbours promised this >6 months ago and offered to pay for it all, but nothing has been done. I've been telling him that we should pay for half. I've been trying to send him messages about this since, but have been getting very empty replies such as "Hello, thank you for the information" and nothing else. I'm thinking of trying to issue a 'notice to fence' and just get on with getting the fence built. Anything can be done about the trespassing in the meantime? Especially with the risk to their kids, the indecent exposure (naked kid).

Comments

  • +36 votes

    get a quote for a fence and ask them for half. tell them you will organise it.

    If you cant get half the money off them do you think they would ever get around to putting one up?

    • +2 votes

      that's what I'm thinking of doing as plan B. I wanted to give him some time and space since he offered to pay for it all, but 6 months is ridiculous
      get a quote, issue a notice to fence, wait a month, then go QCAT if they don't respond.

      • +12 votes

        I doubt if a fence will stop them.

        Without the feral's parents actually disciplining them, and it sounds like they aren't too interested, they'll either climb the fence or they'll rip off a few palings off to get through.

        A neighbouring family had the same issue a while back with feral kids climbing onto their roof, ripping off roof tiles, and throwing rubbish into the roof space.

        I believe they eventually got DOHS involved - which may be your only option.

        •  

          yikes, that sounds like a nightmare. I was hoping th 6 year old can't jump over a 1.8m tall colourbond fence. May hold them back for a few years at least. But good point because they're already climbing up their own cyclone fence.

          • +5 votes

            @uedamasaki: Make sure the fence is smooth on their side so that the kids have nothing to climb up on. You might also want to consider putting something like the cat roller things on the top to prevent them getting over. You should be concerned about them being there because you will, probably, be liable if they fall off the roof. However, your insurance should have public liability. I wonder why no fence was built when the houses were built? I would get the fence done as a priority. However, this will probably just result in them throwing rubbish over the fence but that is better than having the kids there. Just imagine what this lot will be like once they get to teenagers.

            • -13 votes

              @try2bhelpful: Yep, the issue is not really the annoyance (OP, do you really think a naked infant is "indecent exposure"? That says more about you than about them).

              The issue is the risk of injury to the kids in a property not set up for small kids to run amuck in. And that's how the OP should be framing it to the neighbour.

              • +7 votes

                @derrida derider: I admit 'indecent exposure' is probably a poor choice of words. I guess Im just tired of looking out my window and seeing a naked child running around my property. I think it just adds to the 'feralness' of the situation.

            •  

              @try2bhelpful: Not sure OP would be liable when he has no duty to these children. Parents still have the duty of care.

          • +6 votes

            @uedamasaki: Spend a bit extra on a 2.4m high fence.

        • +46 votes

          Electric fences are pretty cheap. And would prevent the climbing problem.

      • -8 votes

        I think you are taking advantage of your neighbour in getting them to pay for the whole fence but then again this is Ozbargain

        In QLD - Unless it is agreed otherwise, neighbouring property owners normally must contribute equally to the cost of building and maintaining a sufficient dividing fence.

        https://queenslandlawhandbook.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/di...

        •  

          "Unless it is agreed otherwise" like in the OPs case where he stated the neighbour OFFERED to pay for it all, but never actually did.

          •  

            @shtgnjns: According to the op this is being going on for more than 6 months - when it come to fencing both he and the neighbour are equally responsible and the cost should be shared - OP clearly knows his legal obligation and what he should be doing - so what are they waiting for? He is trying to find a way to get the neighbor to pay for the fence in its entirety and as a result letting this whole thing escalate unnecessarily particularly going into the summer months

            •  

              @Austechguy: I've offered to pay half several times in the interest of speeding up the process, but wasn't getting much feedback from the neighbor. I've reached the point that I'm going to pay for it all and get the neighbor to pay be back when he's ready.

              • +3 votes

                @uedamasaki: Long con from the neighbour to get you to pay for the whole fence.
                Once you pay for it, you will never see any repayment…

                • +1 vote

                  @forkus: That's always at the back of my mind. If he didn't pay we'd be annoyed, but we'd still survive and we'd still be better off than without the fence. So we've come to terms with that possibility.

                  I figured that if we do it formally through a notice to fence and a signed agreement, atleast I have a legal avenue of collecting that debt. Would be annoying to have to go through QCAT to get an order for them to pay though.

                  •  

                    @uedamasaki: He's known about this for such a long time and he hasn't saved the acorns so to speak. I'm guessing that you're off to qcat very very soon.

                    •  

                      @ankor: gotta wait a month before going for medition and then QCAT. If he signs off on the notice, then we can built straight away. I'd only need to go to QCAT if he won't pay the owed 50%

                •  

                  @forkus: Fencing Issues are a very common theme and you should not be afraid to take your neigbour to QCAT which is not expensive or time consuming as you think -

                  the law is on your side so just use it to your advantage

                  summon them to QCAT when you know they are going on holiday or if they are a FIFO on a swing - this will show a certain level of legal aggression

                  As long as you have followed correct procedure particularly if the fence is installed by a licensed contractor and therefore sufficient - QCAT will rule in your favour (its incredibly black and white to them)- you can request interest - call in the debt collectors who will hassle the C**P out of him, take their caravan, car, furniture , smash their credit rating - sell the debt or put a caveat on their house. - your neighbour probably knows all of this and you probably do - you just have to show him that you mean business and then he might actually begin to respect you

      •  

        Sounds to me like they are just saying anything to get rid of you each time and hoping you just give up.

    •  

      Anything can be done about the trespassing in the meantime? Especially with the risk to their kids, the indecent exposure (naked kid).

      Trespassing - leave more power tools on ground then call police and explain and say you often have power tools around and kid are at risk. Police would do something if thats the case

      Risk to kids - as above, short term risk for long term gain. Also more importantly your antenna nd kids toys isnt going to get damaged

      Indecent exposure - film then take it to police.

  • +13 votes

    I feel sorry for you OP.

    Have you ever thought of a moat?

    Don't fence it off either. Just make it deep enough for the naked one to feel uncomfortable (but not drown in).

    (Being serious, just have a chat with the parents again. They're just being complacent. Probably too buggered to deal with their kids after dealing with their own problems)

    • +1 vote

      lol, Ive heard of automatic sprinklers, but was afraid they'd enjoy it. or thorny bushes which would keep them out, but I still don't want to see the naked boy
      I do think the kids are difficult though. very destructive and defiant. Im a bit put off with how the father essentially blamed the kids for the roof incident.

    •  

      Snakes and alligators, surely (or crocs caus were in oz)

    •  

      Tbh they sound like typical bogan barefoot kids at the supermarket that roll on the ground eating and licking worms. Think a moat will stop that? :p

  •  

    https://www.bunnings.com.au/sandleford-300-x-225mm-trespasse...

    id stick one up on the roof

    might scare the kids

  • +22 votes

    A 2, 4 and 6 year olds are left unsupervised and playing with power tools; one is running around naked, another one was found on top of your roof?! How come no one has called DHHS yet? I would.

    If you're happy to turn a blind eye to what his kids get up to while not on your property, send your neighbour an urgent fence notice.

    • +2 votes

      In case you do decide to report to RIS, here's the number to call.Your details will be confidential and your identity, if provided, will be protected by law.

    • +1 vote

      they didn't play with the power tools, but I'm worried of that risk. They haven't climbed on the roof again, so I'm hoping there is no ongoing risk of that. Of course if they climbed again, I would definitely be reporting to child safety.

      • +14 votes

        Of course if they climbed again, I would definitely be reporting to child safety.

        The next person who comes across this vulnerable, stark naked child could be a child abuser.Why not just call child services and have an informal chat with them?

      • +5 votes

        Call DOCS report them naked kids play with power tool play on your roof. sound like need foster carer system

        • +1 vote

          I'd rather report the kids sitting inside glued to screen all day them those outside causing minor mischief. Patents are apologetic at least.

      •  

        You have a duty of care towards the kids too. If their parent's dont look like they care for the child's safety - it is time Child services intervene ! Forget about getting your ass sued, would you be able to live with yourself if something happened to one of the kids on your property ?

    • +1 vote

      I agree to report them to DHHS. It is unsafe to leave 3 kids unsupervised in an open area.

      Perhaps if child services pays them a visit the parents would supervise them more.

  • +5 votes

    You have to decide how far you want to take it.

    I would probably just cut my losses and pay for the fence

  • +2 votes

    How long would the fence be? Can't you just put one up yourself and in a couple of weekends your problem would be solved. Just make sure it's one that kids can't easily climb.

  • +1 vote

    First better put up camera and monitor what they have done in your property.
    Then hire and put up temp fence (use around construction site).
    Talk to your neighbour for the permanent fence.

      • +9 votes

        Surely it is not illegal to record on your own property. Do you mean recordings from all the security cams/dash cams are illegal?

              • +17 votes

                @Jar Jar binks: (profanity) me. the kid is stark naked of his own volition. the images are not sexualised. it's a photo/video of a trespassing kid who just happens to be naked out in the open and is being held for incriminating evidence for the sake of insurance. can a real lawyer weigh in on this? can holding a nude photo of a child that can be proven its nonsexual intent be a criminal offense?

                • +3 votes

                  @kyoba: I was about to say the same.

                  The image of a naked body doesn't necessarily means it's sexualised. If that's true, criminals should just rob a bank naked and the CCTV footage would need to be wiped. Same goes for naked kids breaking into someone else's home and stealing things.

                  Can't see why OP can't video their own home for security purpose and keep the resultant footage for that purpose.

                  In fact, I seriously think that's what OP should do so that. With video evidence, child services would take the report more seriously rather than letting it be trivialised by the parents (who are obviously too soft on the kids). Just imagine what the kids would do to OP's property if they find out/ suspect that OP reported them and child services isn't able to remove the kids.

                •  

                  @kyoba: In these situations i would use the "Herald Sun" or "Courier Mail' Criteria - if you had to defend this position in court how would these newspapers portray it?
                  The average Jury member is your tabloid paper reader

                  I would not in any situation put up camera after what the OP has stated - I strongly suggest that the OP puts up a fence instead - the various State Dividing Fences act have mechanisms for the OP to share the cost with the neighbour

                  • +2 votes

                    @Austechguy: You have a sick mind to even come to the conclusion than the OP could some how be held accountable for possessing child sexual material by recording trespassers into this own damn property - doesn't matter if it's a child or naked or what. Children and sex isn't something that comes up on most people's mind the first go.

      • +1 vote

        If it is your property and things that not in your control shouldn't be illegal

      • +5 votes

        It's the OPs property. He can record trespassers.

  •  

    Stash/lock your kids' equipment when they're not in use?

    •  

      the small stuff we can, but the sandpit and trampoline we can't. We did but an outdoor storage box though

  • +33 votes

    Report to child services. Have video evidence ready.

    Parents are obviously negligent.

    (Contemplate just how guilty you'd feel if the kid fell to his death or worse, ends up a vegetable for the rest of his life. It won't be your fault but you'd feel terrible.)

    • -4 votes

      Why would they feel terrible? I wouldn't.

      The kids were uninvited and told to not enter the property. The only people that would feel bad are the parents.

      I'd be hopeful that the terrible consequences would be lesson learnt.

      I agree though, report the parents.

      • +2 votes

        The death of the innocent kid/s wouldn't bother your conscience while knowing you had plenty of reason to intervene and get the authorities involved?

        • +7 votes

          The OP has intervened.

          The children are not their responsibility.

          In answer to your question: No, I'd sleep fine. Not my problem, nor my fault.

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