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  #21  
Old 12.07.2017, 11:37
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

This is one of those 'choose your battles' moments.

There is a good argument to be made for both sides. Paying could prevent escalation. On the other hand, standing up to him could prevent escalation. The trick is to determine how your neighbor ticks.

But first, let's look at the what type of neighbor you might have and the costs of both options, including the ultimate cost. Which direction you decide to go, how you decide to handle this, should take into account what you think might actually be going on, above and beyond the cost of the fence.

To start, a few extreme examples:

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There are people here who are so unhinged with hatred that they feel justified in harming animals. (And no, it's not just the Swiss. Reading some of the posts on this forum can be a window into this mindset. The difference here is that these types know they rarely face consequences.) Poisoning is not unknown. Do you think your neighbor falls into this category?

If so, nothing will stop him. Move. Seriously. And while you are planning the move, keep the emergency vet on speed dial, never ever let your dogs out of sight, even in your own private garden.

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Then there is the garden variety 'Hasser' who simply resorts to mobbing. This type is a bully, ready to use your love for your dogs as a weapon in the national sport, Nachbarkreig. If the mobbing were not directed at your dog it would be something else. This kind of person looks for weaknesses to exploit.

My first instinct is to stand up to this kind of person... but with the caveat, what is the threat level to your dogs? This kind of person might not resort to actual harm, but usually goes the complaint route with the goal of hurting you by trying to get your dogs taken from you, or getting you kicked out. Do you know enough about to go about dealing with this type 'The Swiss Way' to you protect your dogs?

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Then there is the non-confrontational type. This person will never have a discussion as to what is bothering him, you might never have a chance to hash this out and find a mutually agreeable solution. Installing the fence and then later asking you to pay is characteristic of this type. But do you think that acquiescing will stop the demands? If so, pay up. It's just easier. But if not...

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Which leads us to another type; the 'wheeler-dealer'. This type habitually uses a weakness, in this case love for your dogs, to get others to share costs for his pet projects. Every time a joint project is proposed the implication is: If you pay half, I won't complain about your dogs. The question is, will this type stick to his side of the bargain once you've funded his project? Or will you be funding projects ad infinitum?

You see this kind of thing in many housing situations where there is common ownership, it's not only directed at dog owners, you see it in many situations where there is a potential for conflict. Paying for things you really don't want is sometimes the price of neighborhood harmony. Only you can assess whether the price is worth it.

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OK, those are some typical difficult neighbor situations. Let's hope that this isn't one of them, that your neighbor is simply someone who does not want to be disturbed but has gone about a solution in an less than ideal way.

Let's face it - he has a degree of moral right on his side, because dogs rushing the fence barking is a disturbance that should not happen. If you decide to take a stand, it is important, here especially, that you don't give your neighbor further reason for complaint. Don't add fuel to the fire.


If you think this is a case of a one-off (perhaps OTT) reaction to a problem - talk to him!

I cannot stress this enough. Many of the difficult situations develop because no one talks to one another until things escalate to the point of a blow-up.

---

First thing I would do is to make sure you understand Swiss dog ownership etiquette. Because we live in such crowded communal spaces with little or no privacy we have to be aware of how our behavior affects others at all times.

Towards that end, dogs may not do many of the things that are accepted as natural behavior back home. Barking is one of those things. Understand the extremely high value placed on quiet here.

Also understand that many people are afraid of dogs and the trend is growing. Rushing the fence is truly frightening to many who are afraid of dogs. Understand that it is absolutely incumbent on the dog owner to make sure that your dog never bothers another person. You have to train a dog to behave 'The Swiss Way'.

Once you accept the standard required of you here, it all gets easier. Really.

So - explain to your neighbor that you are actively training your dogs not to rush the fence or bark. And then train, train, train. And be sure to be seen training. This last is important. If your neighbors see you working with your dogs they are more likely to cut you some slack.

While you are working on the barking/rushing behavior - never allow the dogs out in the garden if you are not there to supervise. You cannot allow them to 'practice' the behavior you wish to extinguish. If you need to be right there to stop the behavior.

And of course, you need to train this individually, and again with the group.

---

I'll toss in my usual comment: Get thee to a good Hundeschule! I cannot stress enough how important this is for newcomers to Switzerland. No matter how good a dog trainer you are on your own, learning Swiss expectations, understanding Swiss law, Swiss etiquette, Swiss 'normal' is so much easier in a training class, dog club, etc. We have to throw out some of our ideas from home, and learn to be good responsible respectful owners 'The Swiss Way'.

A bonus of formal training - when there is neighborhood conflict, having the support of a good Hundeschule, Verein, or trainer can be invaluable help in finding a solution.

---

So... as long as you think this is not just the first shot in a mobbing campaign, I would probably go for a compromise approach. Don't underestimate the importance of keeping the peace for your own sanity and your dogs' safety.

I'd ask the Mieterverband exactly what they think the law says about this kind of situation, just so you know the legal footing.

If you are not legally obliged to pay, tell the neighbor that, in no uncertain terms. Then if you decide to split the costs, make sure he knows that you are doing so despite not being obligated to do so, you are helping foot the bill only because you are a good neighbor. If you decide not to pay, tell him that you would have been willing to split costs had he come to you first to discuss this, but after the fact you are under no obligation.

In either case, it might be a good idea to tell him that you will go an extra step by planting a border that will keep the dogs even further back. (Assuming the landlord allows this.)

And once again, tell him that you are actively working to train this behavior out of the dogs.

---

I've been in this situation. I buckled under the blackmail. I can't say I'd recommend my approach to other situations, but I did what I felt was necessary to keep the neighborhood peace and keep my dogs safe.


---

I wish you all the best, truly.

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.07.2017 at 12:51. Reason: sloppy typos...
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  #22  
Old 12.07.2017, 11:39
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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We just moved into a rented house at the end of May with our three dogs. The landlady was absolutely fine with the dogs, had had dogs herself and the whole garden is completly fenced in. Perfect, until ....... the neighbour was in his garden. His garden is higher than ours and there is a wall 1.5 mts high and then a diagonal see through wire fence on top, in all about 3 mts high. Our dogs are not really used to seeing people so close to their territory so ran to the wall and barked up at him. I immediatly called them all in, no problem. This happened maybe three or four times in total, but each time only a few seconds of barking.

He has now installed a grey fabric 'sichtschutz' the full length of the fence to 'minimise the barking of the dogs' and sent us an invoice for half of the cost. This has been done without any discussion, agreement, complaint, nothing, no other contact whatsoever.

As this house is just a temporary solution for us until we can buy a house, we only have a 1 year contract, and as there has been no other verbal or written contact with him, we do not feel obliged to pay it. Thoughts anyone?
does such a "sichtschutz" require a permission or can you put it up just like that?

of course, I wouldn't pay but you need to find a solution for the dogs.
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  #23  
Old 12.07.2017, 11:42
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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This is one of those 'choose your battles' moments. Blabla
---

I wish you all the best, truly.
So much thinking...
The only way to know is to communicate with the guy (= fair chance).
If he's a dick about it, then (=fair logic) screw him as much as you can (=fair response), whether it's reporting to landlord (=fair tenancy) or the police (=more or less fair citizen), or screw him no matter how (=fair war, he wanted a war, let's give him one).

Much more simple.

PS: yes I tried numerous times the diplomatic approach, I think it's waste of time, 85% of the time. My observations are someone decent would have never done such behavior in the first place anyway, so it's like attempting to conciliate with a bully.
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Old 12.07.2017, 11:48
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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So much thinking...
So much thinking because BTDT.

When there is a chance that someone may hurt your dogs you have to think this through carefully.

First and foremost, protect your pets.
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Old 12.07.2017, 11:50
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

Rich Pooch won't agree, but hey ho. It is a very small price to pay for peace for the next year or so- he has no right to request you to pay- but he can make your life a misery in the meantime. I'd apologise for the barking and the inconvenience- say you wish he had discussed it with you as you are very reasonable people, and pay half- and hope for the best.

Life is just too short to go into full frontal collsion with a neighbour- hope you find a house to buy soon- but honestly- it won't be easy in a town situation with 3 dogs. What kind of dogs are they? Did you not have similar issues with barking where you lived before?

I live in the blissful boonies- and newcomers here often site mutliple dogs and lots of space as one of the main reasons they move here. We are fostering 2 dogs at the moment that bark a lot at everything that passes by- but only have 2 neighbours, far enough and very tolerant (posts crossed Meloncollie).

It's all very nice to say ' don't pay he can to to hell' and then what - misery for owner and dogs for 1 year +
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Old 12.07.2017, 11:51
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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So much thinking because BTDT.

When there is a chance that someone may hurt your dogs you have to think this through carefully.

First and foremost, protect your pets.
True, pets could be collateral and he has leverage...In that case, the battle is going to be difficult, best not to engage war, if the stakes are too high.
"the art of war, 2017 Khore-tsé Bhou"
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:22
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

Inform the landlady, ask her opinion. It's a change on her property. She might not like it. Or she might even pay for the half. (And she knows the neighbour )
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:26
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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It's all very nice to say ' don't pay he can to to hell' and then what - misery for owner and dogs for 1 year +
The question is whether he sees paying half as make-good or as weakness and thus an invitation to inflict more pain.

Whether the Sichtschutz is legal is a good question. He may well be in violation of building regulations with that so paying half may be taken as accepting that, implicitly giving him the right to that change. I don't think OP, being "only" renter, is in a position to do so but still.

So it's probably a good idea to talk to the landlord, there may be a history already and OP should want to avoid creating a problem for LL and later renters.
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:38
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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Take the bottom half!
That's funny, I was thinking the same!
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:41
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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That's funny, I was thinking the same!
Well surely with THAT there would be no more neighboring conflicts...EVER!

Wait a minute, we might not be speaking about the same thing
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:43
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

maybe you could bring the dogs to meet the neighbours and familiarise them to avoid barking?
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:09
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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maybe you could bring the dogs to meet the neighbours and familiarise them to avoid barking?
I was going to say that too but taking drastic action like he has done suggests that he is not too keen on that. It's really odd behaviour to me, if I had been in the situation, I would have talked to the dogs and asked if you have a moment for me to come over and meet them. Maybe he is deathly allergic to dogs and the Sichtschutz is meant to keep away the Kryptonite? Talk to the man if possible and definitely inform the landlady. And unless you have expressly ordered something, I don't see how you can be made to pay.

As for "Swiss Dog Behaviour" - I see many (Swiss) dog owners who clearly need to be informed of this memo. Not putting leads on dogs in areas where one is explicitly required to do so ("Leinenpflicht") is one of my biggest bugbears in this regard. As is letting your dog poop in the middle of the path and not picking it up. I get that scrambling around in a wet field to retrieve poop is not fun, but on a dry path where it's so easy to do it - why would you not??? Oh and a heads up - if your pooches are in the forest, I recommend keeping them on a lead. This is obligatory during spring time in most cantons and if a gamekeeper ("Wildhüter") thinks your dog is busy hunting wild animals, he can technically shoot your dog. Before you panic, I have never heard of this actually happening and from my understanding the dog would have to do this repeatedly for such drastic action to be taken, but just keep it in mind.
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:43
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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As for "Swiss Dog Behaviour" - I see many (Swiss) dog owners who clearly need to be informed of this memo.
Cue my oft-repeated chagrin that 'the memo', that is, the SKN, was abolished. Now we have no official way to get the message out.

The SKN, flawed as it was, at least kept us aware that there was a hymn sheet even if some were struggling to sing from it. The SKN's greatest win, IMO, was that it got many owners thinking about responsibility and so into regular training beyond the mandatory classes, owners who otherwise would not have done so.

And now we've lost that. I fear our dogs will suffer.

I've already seen an uptick in poor behavior since the abolition, a good portion of it from new dog owners who are not so much consciously irresponsible as simply uninformed.

/soapbox.
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:53
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

Thanks for all the replies folks.

I think I will go round and politely tell him to stuff it. He might just be trying it on thinking we are new and foreign! We aren't, have been here 15 years and I am actually a Swiss registered dog sitter, have done a million and one courses, so I am well aware of my responsibilities, but the business is on hold whilst we are renting.

Another funny thing, he is VP of the local SVP party!! Oh how we chuckled when we found that out! Right wingers putting up fences and expecting someone else to pay ......

Thanks all for the advice. Will update!
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:56
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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Well surely with THAT there would be no more neighboring conflicts...EVER!

Wait a minute, we might not be speaking about the same thing
Rude!!!!!
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  #36  
Old 12.07.2017, 13:58
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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..... Right wingers putting up fences and expecting someone else to pay ......
He's on twitter cut his internet connection!
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Old 12.07.2017, 14:10
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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Sorry but that is weak-minded claptrap. You can't just install something and then bill someone for it without any prior discussion or agreement.

210chf is not an insignificant amount of money, and if it is not right in principle that you should pay it, and you have zero moral or legal obligation to pay it, then guess what... you shouldn't pay it.

Some of you seem more than willing to let yourselves be made a mug of rather than show a little backbone, and I find that sad.
Agree. Too often we're given the 'TIS' (This Is Switzerland) answer when it comes to dealing with encounters like these. And for the most part, I agree we move on and ignore the voice in our heads.

But on principle alone, I don't see anything wrong with refusing to pay, or escalating even if the amount if petty. It could just be the start.

Your neighbour had the sheer audacity to send a bill without conversation, you can display what he sees as sensible audacity by refusing to pay.
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Old 12.07.2017, 14:54
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

A rented property must be fit to be used for the purpose for which it was rented. Keeping it so is the landlady's responsibility. For example, if the neighbour had opened a late-night disco or an odourous chemical laborartory next door, and that prevented you from having a good night's sleep, the landlady has the duty to find out what the problem is and have it fixed, in order that she may restore unto you your proper use of the property as agreed in the rental contract.

Similarly when there is a building site in an adjacent property: this can be a reason to receive a rent reduction from one's own landlord (who may have nothing to do with the building site, but could, at least in theory, have tried to prevent it, to keep your usage intact).

Therefore, I think you should ask your landlady what she thinks you should do. And more importantly, what she could do. She must be informed.

If your landlady is away (e.g. for a month's summer vacation), then I recommend that you don't just ignore the bully next door. To de-escalate that part of it (help yourself by helping him not to be building up a storm on the other side of that fence), you could write to him (enclosing a copy of his letter, and of course by registered mail) saying:
"We confirm that we have received your letter of DATE, in which you included a bill for a service we did not order. We are, at this stage, unable to state how we will respond, and are taking advice."
Do not specify the kind of adivce you are seeking.
Do not specify any date by which you will respond.
If he replies, you can always say those same sentences over again.
And go and talk to your landlady. Good luck!
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Old 12.07.2017, 14:54
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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Cue my oft-repeated chagrin that 'the memo', that is, the SKN, was abolished. Now we have no official way to get the message out.

The SKN, flawed as it was, at least kept us aware that there was a hymn sheet even if some were struggling to sing from it. The SKN's greatest win, IMO, was that it got many owners thinking about responsibility and so into regular training beyond the mandatory classes, owners who otherwise would not have done so.

And now we've lost that. I fear our dogs will suffer.

I've already seen an uptick in poor behavior since the abolition, a good portion of it from new dog owners who are not so much consciously irresponsible as simply uninformed.

/soapbox.
/joins meloncollie on soapbox/
Instead of submitting dogs to character tests, we should make humans do them. There was recently an article about a young man who basically beat his boxer puppy to death over chewing a sofa. Made me so sad for the little dog but I was furious when I read that the owner had numerous criminal charges against his name. We know that your average dog is basically a furry toddler with very similar needs. You would never let someone like this guy adopt a child, why does he get to buy a dog?

Maybe if the animal shelters and all the breeders clubbed together to require certain qualities of future owners as well as making it outright illegal for private individuals to import dogs younger than 6 months, no matter how tragic the backstory, we would see less irresponsible ownership. In fact, all countries should make it illegal to import young puppies in the hope that this would curb the enthusiasm for running puppy mills. One can dream... /steps down from soapbox and back on topic/

And now for some legal stuff that I found, the civil law of canton of Fribourg states the following (with VERY rough translations):
Quote:
Art. 265 ZGB 697
1 Jedem Eigentümer eines Grundstücks steht es frei, dieses einzufriedigen, unter Vorbehalt des Notweges, erworbener Rechte und der im Gesetz vorgeschriebenen Beschränkungen.
Anyone owning a bit of land can put a boundary around it as long as they respect the legal provisions relating to boundaries.

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Art. 267 ZGB 697
1 Jede Einfriedigung, abgesehen vom Lebhag, darf auf der Grenzlinie angebracht werden, darf aber 120 cm Höhe nicht überschreiten. Übersteigt sie diese Höhe, so muss sie um ebenso viel, als sie die gesetzliche Höhe überschreitet, von der Grenze zurückgesetzt werden. Diese Beschränkungen beziehen sich nicht auf die Einfriedigung von Höfen, Gärten und Weiden, die nach Bedürfnis erhöht werden kann.
2 Der Nachbar erwirbt das Miteigentum an der ganzen oder an einem Teile der Einfriedigungsvorrichtung, wenn er die Hälfte des Wertes des betreffenden Teiles sowie des Bodens, auf dem sie sich befindet, bezahlt.
1. Any boundary installation (excuse the shoddy translation, I'm rushing) (except for hedges) can be put up on the exact boundary of the property, providing it does not exceed a height of 1.2 m. If it exceeds this height, it has to be set back from the boundary by as many centimetres as it exceeds the legal maximum height (e.g. a fence that is 1.5m needs to be set back from the boundary by 30 cm). These restrictions do not apply to farms, gardens and pastures, where the height can be adapted as required (linguists and legal folk, this is not clearly worded - does this mean that if you require a higher Einfriedung, you can just have it, OR does it relate to the type of Einfriedung, as in, if the height can be varied as needed, it's ok?)
2. The neighbour obtains part ownership of the boundary installation if they pay for half of the value of the installation and the ground that it is built upon.

If you are planning on "fighting back with greenery", you will have to keep in line with the rules of your Gemeinde.

Summing up - call the "Bauinspektor" of your Gemeinde and ask him what he has to say, because it not only varies from canton to canton, but even from Gemeinde to Gemeinde... This is Switzerland.
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Old 12.07.2017, 14:59
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Re: Neighbours vs dogs!

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2. The neighbour obtains part ownership of the boundary installation if they pay for half of the value of the installation and the ground that it is built upon.
In this case, though, the neighbour is the owner, not her tenant. The OP is a tenant, and as such has no business co-owning a boundary installation.
Similarly, any discussions with a building authority, etc. should be done by the landlady, who is the owner, or the owner's agent.
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