Do I have to move my fence!!

rschlackJanuary 15, 2014

11 years ago I put in a PVC fence and due to the trees I could not put my fence on the property line. I asked my neighbor if I could put my fence next to his fence, which was 4 feet into his property. He said he had no problem with it. Now 11 years later he is moving and I'm sure someone will complain about my fence being on his property. Can I just assume that I am going to have to hire someone to move the fence? I've already since then taken down all the trees. But the cost will still be pretty steep.

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Here in Ontario you will need to move the fence, unless it's been there for 7 years, maybe.

Go to your City Hall ask them.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:01PM
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The fence is not on your property, so therefore it is not your property. The new owner can take it down and build a new fence closer to the property line. If you really like the fence and do not wish to lose it, I would ask permission to move it onto your property.

If you do not care, let it be. They can't require you to do anything on their property.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 3:00PM
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I'd contact a lawyer to be sure.
Usually they'll give you free advice on such an issue.
Might your local town zoning board be able to answer this for you?

If I bought the property I know I would not want someone else's fence on it.
And in the USA it is necessary to state this in a letter of intent and mail it to the offender.....otherwise, after a number of years they can claim ownership of that piece of property thru adverse possession.

My son bought a huge parcel of land and discovered that one of his abuting neighbors had constructed a portion of his driveway quite a ways into his land.
He believed that the former owner of the land gave him permission.
My son wrote him a letter stating that his driveway would be allowed on the land at my son's pleasure....HOWEVER, it was understood that it in no way signified a situation of "adverse possession" now or in the future.

Don't assume anything.
Protect yourself.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:36AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil

Here's what I would do. First thing I would do is introduce yourself to the new neighbors and make friends. Then, perhaps not during the first visit, explain what happened with the previous owner and the fence. Tell them you realize your fence is on their side of the line. Most importantly, make it clear you understand that the strip of property is theirs and that you did not and do not have any intention of claiming it through adverse possession (squatter's rights). If they are not planning to change the fence anytime soon, they may be fine with it. If they say, Oh wow, OK we'd like to move it to the property line, then you can make arrangements accordingly. If they are OK with it the two of you might want to sign an agreement acknowledging that the strip of land is theirs and that they are allowing your fence to 'encroach'. This, in many places, will legally prevent you, the 'squatter', from claiming it as yours because they have given you permission to use it.

You could go the lawyer route at any point that you think it's appropriate, but I would go about it neighbor to neighbor first and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 3:35PM
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Hmmm. . . . . if I were the new property owner, and nothing was said about the fence or the property line during my purchase transaction, I would automatically assume the fence was mine. That is, if it is evident by the topography of the land and/or other indicators where the property line actually is. That fence would clearly appear to be on my land.

Therefore, I would be extremely surprised/dismayed to have my new neighbor (you) come to my door and claim ownership of the fence.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:30AM
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yoyobon is absolutely correct about "adverse possession". In most states, the statutory period is 15 years - after that, the 4' could be yours. This has to be 15 years of "open, notorious, hostile and continuous" use, like mowing the grass on that strip of land or maintaining the fence. However, at any time before the 15 years are up, if the owner tells you (typically, in a certified letter) that he gives permission for that fence - or driveway - to be there, the neighbor has demonstrated clear superiority of title. It's his land.... He can do whatever he wishes.

This often happens when old surveys are not considered first, or a new, more accurate survey is made. When surveys are flat-out wrong (it happens....) *lots* of lawyers get involved....

In the driveway case, the son can demand that the driveway be removed - or he could build a fence across it. He cannot legally "landlock" the neighbor, if no other access is possible. But if this driveway is merely a "convenience" and other access from a public right-of-way is possible - even if it has to be built anew - he has demonstrated superiority of title.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:53PM
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double post deleted

This post was edited by apg4 on Fri, Jan 31, 14 at 21:33

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:54PM
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