Neighbour performed repairs on our shared driveways gate and sent me a bill without asking me, do I have to pay?

I'm renting out my house while I work elsewhere and my neighbour has sent an invoice under his sole trader to my real estate agent wanting $700 for repairs he did himself on the gate without talking to me first. If he had reached out I would have absolutely been willing to negotiate if repairs had to happen but the fact that he just went ahead and now wants me to pay for it has left me a bit annoyed. Honestly I want it gone as it's very poorly designed (he put it in which I paid half for) and just put a gate at the entrance to my lot.

I feel like the obvious answer is I don't have to pay because it'd be crazy if you could just force your neighbours to pay for non essential works on shared property without even talking to them first. Couldn't imagine getting a brand new shiny fence and getting my neighbour to pay for half without even them agreeing. I checked our management statement for the shared property which states "No arrangement exist for the provision of or payment for, any additional internal fencing" I'm guessing fencing also includes gates.

Comments

  • +17

    Option 1: Tell him you were not aware of the works or informed also see receipt. Next time inform me before you go ahead and do this as sob story "lost my job etc"

    Option 2: Tell him you wont be paying and to refund the door/gate

  • +1

    The gate is entirely within your property? That sounds a bit odd. If so, then absolutely you are not obligated to pay. Did your tenant ask him to repair the gate? My guess is there may have been some communication between them and perhaps he thought it was done with your knowledge, especially if tenant misinformed him? If this is the case I'd find out what the market rate for repairing it is. If it's something you would have had to do for the tenant ie. essential work, then I'd pay him that just to keep the peace. Legally I doubt he has much recourse but you don't want to burn bridges when there is only a few hundred dollars at stake

    • +20

      It's on shared property so I guess technically my property. Should also mention the bridges have been burned and are at the bottom of the canyon as this isn't the first time he's done stuff like this. Last time it acting as a surveyor and claiming I'm on his land and that he's going to take my shed (spoiler: the boundaries were correct)

      • +3

        edited after clarification in comments below. if it's shared property then refer to the agreement. from what you've posted i don't see any reason why you have to pay if he didn't consult you prior to beginning work

      • +9

        I was going to say if it was required work and costs about market value, maybe pay with the caveat that in future you won't be paying unless he has come to you first and gotten written approval,
        But from this comment your neighbour sounds like an absolute dick so I'm changing my advice to screw him, he can't force you to pay for work you didn't agree to. Plus you don't live there anyway so neighbourly harmony is not really a concern

        Update:
        1 - If he pushes it ask the reason for the work. If emergency work then MAYBE he can argue that it was required and get away with that
        2 - If he is a licensed trade-person, and the bill has come to you as an official receipt from his business, then check with fair trading if trying to charge you for unapproved work is a breach of his license.

      • +2

        Lol, so he's picked a fight and lost, then done work on a gate himself without discussing it with you, and is now trying to charge you for it (based on his valuation of his own work??)? I'd tell him to piss right off and if he wants to take it further he can come back with a lawyer.

        • +1

          Plus if the work isnt very good (from OPs post it sounds not to be) it could actually have damaged property

      • +2

        Has has to ask you first, it really is that simple. You can't commence non essential work on an owners property without consent from the owner.
        Now it comes down to whether you just want to pay it to keep the peace and perhaps have a gate that needed fixing either way or argue it.

  • +88

    unauthorized work. dont pay.

  • +1

    Battle axe block?

    • +10

      I think a MS paint diagram is needed here

      • +8

        https://i.imgur.com/TkilquS.png here you go, i'm lot 3 and he's lot 2, we share lot 1 which is where the gate is

        • +1

          Is #1 actually a separate lot?
          Or is it owned by him and you have a "right of carriageway/access" easement?

          Edit: Sorry, seen you've addressed below.

      • +1

        plus before & after pics of the gate

    • Correct sorry i should've mentioned that in the main post

      • np - friends live on one & regale us often with their neighbour issues

        repairs he did himself on the gate

        getting a brand new shiny fence

        Did he install a new gate (replacing the old one) or repair the gate?

        • I'm not sure honestly as I'm not nearby, I'm fairly confident based off the invoice that he repaired/replaced the electric motor that opens it

          • @Lith123: So the invoice is definitely payment for the work undertaken or could it be a quote? This happened to us once!

            Also, check with the property manager as to what, if any, discussions they had with your neighbour in relation to the gate. May also be worth confirming with your tenants as to whether he spoke to them re: the gate.

          • @Lith123: If its 240V it should have an electrician do the work, surely?

          • +2

            @Lith123:

            he repaired/replaced the electric motor that opens it

            Is the motor hard wired?

            If it is and he did electrical work ask him for the CoC

            The certificate shows that all electrical work has been carried out, installed, or tested to the relevant industry safety standards, Australia/New Zealand wiring rules, and the NSW Service and Installation Rules. You should keep the Certificate of Compliance for at least 5 years to show any work was done correctly.
            https://www.captaincookelectrical.com.au/help/what-is-a-cert...

            If he did work on the motor you might need to pay as

            The Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW) provides for the cost of a dividing fence to be shared equally between adjoining land owners. If you construct the fence without agreement or without a court order, however, you cannot later recover a contribution from the adjoining land owner, unless it is for urgent or emergency repairs to a damaged fence. If there is a dispute over payment for urgent repairs, the owner must apply to the Local Court or Land Board within a month for a review.
            https://www.lachlan.nsw.gov.au/f.ashx/FACT-SHEET-Dividing-Fe...

            • +1

              @spaceflight: Slow reply but thanks for this, excellent response. I think judging by the invoice he got an actual electrician to do the work on the motor but he's also put himself down as doing 4 hours of work so there's something there. Given it's a gate that can be manually opened my guess would be there's no argument for it being an emergency repair?

              Also for anyone in the thread looking for an update, I sent him an email basically telling him to (profanity) off (politely) and haven't heard back since. Knowing him I'm worried he's going to do something to intentionally (profanity) up my property while i'm not there but nothing I can do to about that so probably not worth worrying about.

    • +1

      Or is it a hatchet block?

      • Well, TIL!

  • Can you put a map up of where the gate sits on the block?

  • +17

    If the bridges are burned already, tell him to stick it.

    Even if they weren’t, conducting work without asking or even informing you and then expecting you to pay for it is dodgy at best, no obligation to pay.

    If you’re feeling petty and it’s on your land, get it taken down for the inconvenience him and the gate are causing you, I would.

    • +6

      And get him to pay

      • +1

        Reverse trump

      • +1

        DRAW FOUR! SUFFER!

  • +42

    How did he spend $700 when he did the repairs himself? Sounds like he book his time as tradie rates and included the call out fee. I think he took advantage of you.

    You did not authorize or want the work done so tell him that you want invoices for the stuff he bought to fix the gate and you are only going to pay for the stuff he bought to fix it and you want photos before and after.

    • If he is asking the neighbor for $700, sounds like he spent $1400 doing it.

      • +1

        Unless he's sending an invoice for 700 worth of work but only expects to be paid half.

        It's mentioned somewhere he's replaced a motor, so maybe someone can weigh in on how much a motor would be? I can't imagine its more than $350 though

        • You'd be surprised, especially with the shortages. OP what's the make and model of the motor/components on the invoice?

  • +14

    What was wrong with the original gate?
    Do you even need a gate in this situation?

    Pretty sure there's a conflict of interest if you're billing out your own work as a sole trader without getting competitive quotes.
    You didn't even sign up for the works anyway

  • +23

    Invoice him back $700 for wasted time the STOOGE

    Seriously I know there are bad neighbours but come on seriously the world has gone to sh** as it is - can we just have some common decency ffs

    • +4

      Some people are just born c#$ts and think people and the world are theirs to abuse. Happens at all levels of society. Sadly it's usually those people who get ahead in life.

      • Some people are just born c#$ts and think people and the world are theirs to abuse

        I just have to shake my head at 'people' like that and have to trust the universe will give them their just desserts.

        Narrator: the universe did not

        • +1

          I have been on the other end where I have done jobs for my strata for materials only and then people want to question why they should pay my bunnings receipt for bolts and screws. There's just ignorant a holes everywhere, I can't use any other term because if someone is doing a free job for you you would think you would pay for the materials happily.

          However in this case I can't see the materials costing 700 bucks so this guy should take a hike, but I would like to know more about the detail of the job he did, until then OP could be taking us for a ride

          • @Jackson: Well that’s different as I’m sure you would have actually consulted with the others before doing work? Or at least you literally have the itemised breakdown in way of Bunnings receipt. Not like op’s neighbour who sounds to be charging at $100/hr for smoko

            • @Jimothy Wongingtons: Yeah I did, they didn't like the fact I used stainless steel bolts that were expensive as it was in a highly visible area that was in the weather's till only 60 bucks all up which was way cheaper than paying someone to do them with shitty zinc ones).

              We really don't know enough about the bill, OP hasn't shared enough and it's because he doesn't even know. Someone below has already said the motor for their gate was a thousand. OP needs to do his homework and get back to us

      • Trying to squeeze $700 from your neighbour doesn't exactly scream 'getting ahead in life' to me.

  • +11

    Just ignore the bill. If he persists tell me to pursue it the the consumer tribunal

    • +4

      This is probably the approach I would take. And whenever it's brought up just say "what?" Look confused say you don't remember approving it and then exit.

  • +20

    Get your ducks in a row, keep any correspondence and make notes of anything he says to you and then tell him you’ll see him at NCAT.

    You can’t do work on shared property without consulting the owner and you certainly can’t hire yourself at some exorbitant rate to do the work.

    Even if it did need some repair, they still need to consult you about the repairs and you still only have to pay what it would reasonably cost to repair it (ie: they can’t just replace a gate with a huge wrought iron custom gold inlaid industrial set up if all it needed was a hinge.)

  • +4

    Nup he's taking the piss and playing games.

    Who is the legal owner of the easement? I would have thought if it were yourself, then your neighbour is simply benefited the use of the land (driveway) as a carriageway and would have no authority to complete any works. If it's the reverse I would think he can do what he likes as he owns but also the one who bares the financial burden of those works. In this instance you would be benefited the right to utilise the land that he owns as a carriageway.

    Just my thoughts.

    • +1

      Technically it's not an easement and is a completely separately lot that we both own jointly, so it's a little more confusing

        • +58

          I think we found the other guy.

      • +11

        Tell him to justify the $1400 bill, since he had to pay half, that's $700 each.

      • +1

        shared property then shared cost….however, they still need your permission to go ahead and should get at least one other quote for you to see, even if he did it himself, that he is not ripping you off.

        my neighbour removed the boundary fence (which was perfectly fine) had it replaced with a higher one, then sent me the bill. I told him to F#k off you didn't consult me, didn't get my permission or even show me comparative quotes for the job. I didn't pay, he dropped it.

        you also said you paid for half for the gate in the first place when it was installed, how much did that cost?

  • +16

    Maybe tell him you repaired it again and send him an invoice of $700, then call it even? :P

    I would not be paying anything unless i knew it was broken, seen the quote, and agreed with the repair. In any other case, its not my problem. Who knows if it was even broken and if it was repaired.

    • exactly, show me any sign of my own approval before charge me a single cent.

  • +2

    Have your RE agent let him know the cheque is in the mail.

  • -2

    Send him a cheque for $700 Russian Rubles

    • +5

      $700 Russian Rubles?

      • +1

        That's only ₽10 Australian Dollars though, that probably won't satisfy the neighbour.

    • Well he better cash it quick lmao

  • +16

    Is he taking the piss? Send him a bill for $800 cleaning fee for Lot 1 for your new floor sweeping business.

  • +1

    Pull the gate out and charge him half for the rendering.

  • +1

    send him a copy of the ,management statement with a comment I never authorised or agreed to this, Its a piece of junk and I dont want it here.

  • +3

    Can we get some more details on what he repaired what is invoiced? My electric gate motor just gave up and the replacement cost for the unit alone was ~$1000. Coming from a sole trader sounds like he's done it under a business though which seems a bit dodgy but can certainly see those costs being reasonable if you included labour.

    Definitely should have spoken to you first though.

    • +3

      This is what I am afraid of. People don't know the whole story some times and jump to conclusions, and it's not helped by advice from people who think they know the whole story and then tell the OP to. "tell him to shove it', or 'ignore him and pretend you don't know what he's talking about" and other bad and abrasive advice.

      The guy might be a total dick, but in life it pays to get all the facts you can from all parties, be polite, explain your position and only then tell someone to take it to NCAT. It's clear OP hasn't really done step one properly yet. Not to mention he's had 17 hours to respond to this comment and nothing

      • you make too much sense. you have no place on the internet.

      • -1

        Would you not think it reasonable and respectful for him to make contact prior to initiating any works that were not "emergency works".

        Based on past behaviour relating to his abrasiveness to boundaries etc I would have no problem telling him to shove it up his arse. Good advice I'd say.

  • +2

    $1400 for a new gate? Is it good plated?

    • +7

      Must be bad plated

      • +1

        Or ugly plated

  • +1

    Not approved so don't have to pay.
    You mentioned he installed the gate so why isn't his cost anyway?
    Does his bill itemise parts and labour. What was actually wrong with the gate.

    Don't pay.

  • +1

    I agree with most of the comments stating not to pay.
    The only things that would change my mind is if there was no way to manually open the gate with a blown motor, and was preventing your tenant from exiting with their vehicle.
    If this is the case I’d be splitting the part costs with him, not including his labour.
    If he just wanted a fancy new motor, and the gate could open manually, sorry mate not paying.

  • Ambit claim, he is trying to get one over you. You need to confront him in person and ask for evidence of costs and why he did it without consultation, in a nice/impassinate way. This will put him on the back foot.

    Outline the fact if it goes to mediation/court he will lose and it will cost him more than $1400 (the assumed inflated total cost).

    Then if you like the gate pay him $200 and agree in the future consultation on joint property issues is needed. A new gate is still a good thing he just went about it the wrong way and is profiting off you.

    • A new gate is still a good thing

      Especially and automated/remote control one that allows his tenant to drive in without getting out of the car e.g. When it's raining.

  • +1

    'Some' people with common property are a PIA in corresponding & approving spending for necessary repairs. Whilst other people are keen to keep their/common property in good condition. It is possible that he was sick and tired of a history of trying to get approval from you for repairs. 2 sides to every story.

    • Especially the case with people who don't live at the premises and rent out via an agency

  • +5

    Tell you real estate to respond asking for 3 quotes. Then get them to ask for a tax invoice with abn, workmens liability insurance and warranty info. Then ignore.

    • This. And if it breaks within the next decade, pursue him to fix it for free. Even outside of the warranty, claim it. It was made to last longer, your silly warranty means nothing.

  • +2

    Free gate.

    • +4

      Gate Gate.

  • +1

    I don't mean to be rude but what kind of a dumbass does this without letting the other party know?

    • OP has an agent, for all we know the agent ignored the bloke and doesn't want to own up about it. OP has done zero research and just come here first? Yeah maybe he doesn't like the neighbour but does t mean he doesn't need to deal with issues that come up

  • "I seem to have misplaced my copy of our contract. Any chance I can see your copy?"

  • Make sure you provide us an update OP. We want all the juicy details. Also definitely DON'T pay.

  • What audacity…. and tell him so. NO… don't pay. Ask why you were not consulted. Where are the three quotes…. and to leave your property alone

  • Install a hidden security system for $700 to protect against future damages he may cause to your property when you tell him you're not paying a cent. When damages are incurred you'll have evidence and can charge him exhoborant repair fees!

  • technically no.
    i would pay it just to be a good neighbour and maintain peace, you are both benefiting from it.

  • it should be a tax deduction

  • Tell him you dont want a gate, never did. Dont pay.

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