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LegalGround >> Property Line Dispute


10/27/09 12:23 PM
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windycity
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I am contacting a local attorney but wanted to get some insight here as well - I bought a house in Dec of last year and had a property survey conducted as I plan on building a garage and a fence this spring. Turns out the neighbor's fence is over the property line (it is a rental property) and while I have tried to be civil and overall kind about the matter she is not grasping the concept that her fence is on my property.

Again, I will be contacting a local attorney but what should I be expecting going into this mess?
10/27/09 1:09 PM
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419
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When was the fence erected?
10/27/09 1:26 PM
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windycity
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Don't know when their fence was erected, it was prior to when I purchased the house.

I am also concerned regarding adverse possession, I have no idea whether this situation would qualify.
10/27/09 5:36 PM
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goku
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prolly does qualify so you should definitely get her off...perhaps the attorney simply writing a letter will do it
10/28/09 8:18 AM
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BarkLikeADog
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You saw the fence before you purchased the property & had no reason to assume that you were buying anything beyond that. I would expect you will be wasting a lot of time, money, & lost neighborly goodwill pursuing an endeavor that likely will be dismissed & ultimately doesn't benefit you a whit.

If I were you, I would just assume adverse possession without regard to the specifics of the date, & have your property tax reassessed if your attorney tells you to.
10/28/09 8:51 AM
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windycity
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Edited: 10/28/09 9:04 AM
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"If I were you, I would just assume adverse possession without regard to the specifics of the date, & have your property tax reassessed if your attorney tells you to."

Remind me not to hire you for any legal matters I may encounter. I am not about to give up land based on an assumption with no regard to facts.

I had a title survey prior to closing which indicated the land was mine which was confirmed by a boundry survey.

Ohio is 21 years duration for adverse possession.
10/28/09 8:51 AM
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windycity
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Edited: 10/28/09 8:54 AM
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double
10/28/09 9:17 AM
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BarkLikeADog
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I'm not giving you legal counsel. I'm giving you practical advice. You can win the battle & lose the war if you want.

*based on the assumption that this is your living space & not solely an investment property, & that the difference between fence & property line are relatively trivial.
11/1/09 12:39 AM
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KenTheWalrus
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Edited: 11/01/09 12:40 AM
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Take her to court. Your attorney will be able to give you the best advice.

Try to find out how long she lived there. If the title was recorded, which it probably was, you might be able to find this information online.

Some states allow adverse possessors to tack time between owners if they meet specific requirements, but if she has been there less than 21 years then you will most likely win. (if it was a family member that owned the house before her she will probably be able to tack on their ownership as well when calculating the length of adverse possession)

One thing to be aware of is that some states have agreed boundaries, which is like adverse possession but has other requirements. If your state is one of these, depending on what the previous owner did about the fence you might not have a winning claim.

Whoever said don't fight for your property must not have ever been a homeowner. As a homeowner, I don't care if it's 1' x 1' that land is mine and I'm fighting for it. -ken
11/1/09 12:46 PM
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Shaz
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Well I'm a homeowner and I agree with BarkLikeADog to a certain extent.  If the amount of land is de minimus, say 6 inches or something like that, you have to ask yourself from a practical standpoint what your cost vs. your benefit is.

The cost will be attorney's fees, putting up a new fence, the aggravation of having to live next door to this person now for possibly years (and after one of these disputes, you will HATE each other, trust me).

The benefit is an extra six inches of land?  So what?  If I found out today that my next door neighbor's fence was a little bit on my property I wouldn't do a damn thing until they moved.  Now, if it was several feet I would look at it differently of course.  

It really depends on you - I would recommend seeing exactly how much land we're talking about here.  I also agree that if you do nothing, you should at the very least have the property tax re-assessed so you can save a few bucks.

-Shaz! 
11/1/09 6:32 PM
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BarkLikeADog
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Edited: 11/01/09 6:33 PM
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Yeah, I went through this with my parents, but I'm not going to waste a lot of time with the details. We didn't even go the legal route - just in raising the issue we set off a decades-long Hatfields & McCoy; just wasn't worth it.

It's one thing if you're raising crops to feed your family & someone bulldozes their way through your property, but finding out you have a rightful claim to mow one extra strip of grass at the expense of neighborly harmony is another thing altogether. At some point you have to evaluate your own personal psychology & how it affects getting whatever it is that you really want in life.

That said, if you're dead set on getting what you feel is rightfully yours at the expense of your quality of life, I don't think anything I could possibly say would stop you.
11/2/09 8:59 AM
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windycity
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Well, I now have an attorney dealing with the situation. I tried to take the "neighborly" approach with the woman next door and resolve this in a civil manner between her and I but she just didn't want to go that route so now it is going to get messy and cost money. As far as the ongoing relationship with the neighbor - this property is a rental, not like I have to see the owner on a daily basis.

The reason I am making an issue out of this is because I live in a part of the city with small lots, every foot counts. I should have 2 feet of sideyard and her fence has a post literally next to my house. Yeah, I fucked up and didn't handle this pre-closing, that ship has sailed.

The fence I want taken down is also an old, ugly, rusted, shitty chain link fence where I want to put up a 6 foot wooden privacy fence. I would not make an issue out of a few inches, but this is a matter of giving up several feet of property which is rightfully mine on an already narrow lot.
11/2/09 1:03 PM
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KenTheWalrus
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Another consideration whether to fight for it or not is the value of property. Yeah, in suburban or rural areas land might not be worth as much so a few feet might not be worth it. But in the city or areas like Hawaii where property values are sky high, every foot counts.

Well, I wish you the best of luck. Let us know how it turns out. -ken
11/2/09 2:45 PM
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Fake Pie
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This is like a law school exam. Let us know more details as you get them. I am interested in the facts of the case.

It has been a while but depending on the state you may benefit from the "hostile" requirement. I think in a minority of states they take that to mean mistaken possession (i.e., your neighbor honestly thought it was theirs) cannot lead to adverse possession.
11/2/09 4:35 PM
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windycity
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More details:

Property located in Ohio

Last transfer of ownership on the neighbor's property was in 1993

Currently owned by a "Family Partnership"

Previous owner was apparently a family member but no further information on the transfer is available on the auditor's website

My attorney spoke with the owner today, apparently she was surprised to hear from a lawyer regarding this matter. A copy of the survey is being provided to her and she has 7 days to respond.
11/8/09 12:20 AM
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HaMMerHouseFAN
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Edited: 11/08/09 11:44 AM
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You said the house next door is a rental? Shouldn't you be speaking to the onwer of the home instead of the neighbor?
11/9/09 3:03 PM
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windycity
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"You said the house next door is a rental? Shouldn't you be speaking to the onwer of the home instead of the neighbor?
You have ignored this user"

Well yes, no shit. I have been dealing with the homeowner the whole time, not the tenant.

Anyhow, for those who are interested - I heard back from the owner today, upon receiving a copy of the survey she had her own surveyor validate what I had done. She has agreed to remove the fence and asked for 2 weeks notice from the time I intend to build. In retrospect I am glad I involved the attorney and gave her a deadline on responding as the matter is now (apparently) resolved.
11/10/09 2:35 AM
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KenTheWalrus
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Cool, sounds like everything worked out. At least this way she knows that she isn't being taken advantage of and you're getting your rightful property. Hopefully there won't be any ill will since she now has her own independant survey.

-ken

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