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Couple Refuses To Remove Well On Their Property So Neighbor Can Replace Her Septic Tank

PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Getty Images

The only thing that can be more frustrating than dealing with difficult neighbors, is dealing with difficult neighbor’s renovations.

For even though all the work is being done on their house, all the noise and debris which comes with construction will still have a way of affecting your own property and daily routine.

Things only become more complicated when where property officially divides becomes an issue.

Redditor ThunderDeserve9096 and their husband recently faced such an issue, when their neighbor told them that in order for their current renovation to continue, the original poster (OP) would also need to make a change on their own property.

Not only that, but the OP’s neighbors expected them to foot the bill for this work, something the OP and their husband refused to do.

But wondering if they handled the situation appropriately, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not paying to remove well on my property so neighbor can replace septic tank?”

The OP explained how they initially seemed to have a good relationship with their neighbors, and tended to admire all the work they did on their property, even if it sometimes caused a nuisance regarding their own property.

“My husband and I would like to get another point of view regarding an issue we are having with our next door neighbor.”

‘Little background…we are cordial but not friends.”

‘We bought our house 8 years ago, they maybe 14.”

“They own a construction landscaping company and have trucks/workers coming on our residential street daily, I assume to pick up work orders.”

“Over the years they have done extensive landscaping to their back yard, using our side yard to get there because they built a huge deck so close to property line.”

‘Absolutely gorgeous landscaping!”

“The last 2 years they started to work on adjacent side yard and we noticed they planted small palms in front of our sprinklers.’

“Long story short,  they thought they had approximately 6 to 8 more feet than they had.”

“This came to light when they moved our sprinklers over when we said something about them planting in front of them!”

However, when their neighbor’s told the OP and their husband that their most recent renovation would require them to make some contributions of their own, they were less than eager to oblige.

“Neighbor approached husband a few weeks ago that they needed a new septic tank and our ‘un-permitted’ well was within 50 feet and would need to be moved.”

“Hubby says we will move it if you pay for it.”

“She says, well it may be an issue since you don’t have a permit.”

“We make a few calls, our realtor makes a few calls for us to septic co. owner, it’s a small town, and she tells us they can apply for a variance, it had to have been permitted etc etc.”

“We aren’t worried.”

“Neighbor knocks on door and hubby and I speak to her.”

“She asks if there’s any way we can work with her and her husband because yes, they can apply for a variance but it costs $1800 and there is no guarantee that county will approve it.”

“She asks if we can just move our well.”

“Hubby says we will if you pay for it.”

“She says she shouldn’t have to since we don’t have a permit.”

“This is where I may have been an a**hole.”

‘I did raise my voice and told her we weren’t paying for anything, you are trying to make your problem our problem.”

“She said it was our problem because the county now knows we don’t have a permit so they may make us move it.”

“We said we had talked to some people and we weren’t worried.”

“And I again said, your problem, not ours, stop trying to make it our problem.”

“She said we may bring legal action.”

“We said do what you have to do and slammed door.”

“We found our copy of the permit that former owners left us btw.”

“Her passive aggressive threat of the permit pissed me off and I did raise my voice to her.”

“So am I the a**hole for raising my voice to Neighbor?”-

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community wholeheartedly agreed that the OP and her husband were not the a**holes for refusing to move their well, let alone pay for it.

Everyone agreed that not only was the OP’s well permitted, but since it was the neighbors who started the construction, they should pay for all of it, with a few wondering if they had all their permits in order.


“You should find out if they got permits for their renovations, cause it sounds like their deck is a little close.”- DarthGayAgenda


“Also don’t move the well even if they pay for it without considering how it could impact your home/property/water quality.”- SubieThrow


“You have a permitted well.”

“She can make whatever threats she wants.”

“At some point she can either put up the legal action or shut up.”

“Tell her she had threatened legal action so you will not talk to her through anyone but lawyers.”

“And be sure to get one.”- WineOrDeath

“They built a deck so close to what they thought the property line was that they had to use your yard to access it, and they weren’t even right about what that property line was?”

“I wonder what the local setback requirement is for that edge of their property.”

“And you do have a permit for that well, so that’s hilarious.”

“Let her waste her time.”

“Moving your sprinklers was ridiculous.”

“You should have gone nuclear on these AHs years ago.”

“Raising your voice was more than justified.”

“NTA.”- PinkNGreenFluoride


“I think they should consider themselves to be fortunate that you allowed them to walk through your land in order to get to theirs.”

“That was very neighborly of you.”

“The palm tree issue was pretty crappy of them.”

“As a general rule, I think we all know not to touch things that don’t belong to us.”

“They should have asked you before they did it and if you said no, respected that answer.”

“The well?”

“Absolutely not.”

“That is a lot of money to expect you to shell out so that they can get a new septic tank.”

“I doubt that’s the only work around.”

“If anything, they could move that deck.”

“From the outside looking in, it does seem like she is trying to make her problem your problem.”

“I would have snapped sooner.”- Educational-Ad4352


“Take a jug of water in and get the sample tested from your well.”

“There’s a place near me that does a simple breakdown for $35.”

“This will help establish your water quality and mineral levels, they fluctuate with season etc.”

“But if they contaminate you have a pre-established record.”- ObjectiveLocksmith4


“Now to protect yourself:”

“Get a survey done, and validate they are not encroaching.”

“Put them on notice to not use your property for access to their property.”

“They get to live with the consequences of their attempt at deceit regarding the well permit you do have.”- SublimeMudTime


“You don’t owe her anything, if anything sounds like she already owes you.”

“If she was a financially struggling, generous, polite neighbor I would have some sympathy.”

“But the new decking, dodgy sprinkler moving, and trying to strong arm you tells me she is none of those.”

“Hold your ground!”- coolpall33


“After her threats of legal action, I wouldn’t move it now regardless of who pays.”

“I’d take a page from Nancy Reagan’s book and Just Say No.”

“But I’m spiteful like that.”- empiricalprocesses

“NTA Sounds like it time to put up a fence on the property line.”

“Keep them from crossing any more boundaries.”- gastropodia42


“Your neighbors are trying to intimidate you so they can have their way.”

“It sounds like they were trying to gaslight you and hoped you didn’t research it.”

“If they try to sue you you should countersue and take their house lol.”- joshm0548


“Why does she think there wasn’t a permit?”

“Or was she just using that to try and strong arm y’all?”- Chelular07


“What were the chances neighbor was going to want to drive the heavy equipment through your yard to dig for the new septic tank?”

“NTA.”- YeeHawMiMaw


“And you should Sue them for moving your sprinklers.”

“Who the hell does something like that?!”- RainierCherree

One can sympathize with the OP’s neighbor, in that construction and renovation is a stressful process, which tends to only get more and more expensive with each passing day.

But it’s hard to imagine why she felt that the OP and their husband should have to pay for something which is part of her construction job.

One only hopes this can all be settled without legal action being taken, or without any further animosity.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.