Notice of Trespassing

saucydogApril 28, 2002

Has anyone had the experience of sending a notice of trespassing to a neighbor?

Here's the history - neighbor put up fence about 2 years ago without consulting the town as to how they should go about constructing it.

We're interested in putting up a fence in our yard, so we consulted the town....they said we needed an instrument survey of our property, and gave us some other guidelines.

As you've probably guessed by now, the neighbors fence turned out to be on our property by as much as 4-5 feet in some areas. I do not wish to concede this land to my neighbor. I was told to send them a notice of trespassing and ask them to remove it.

I'm pretty sure that she's not going to move it. Do I have any rights in this situation?


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yep rights are yours in every way , they did not get permit, did not get notice and infringed on your property as a matter of fact you may even be able to take over the fence if it not removed and it becomes yours or tear it down but neighbors sometimes dont know this so see if they knew first off by talking to them , then write a letter so it is in writing and then if all else fails , rail them with it. lol

    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 4:15PM
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Consult a lawyer.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 7:01PM
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I did consult a lawyer, he said to send the Notice of Trespassing.

I am concerned that since I have sat quietly for 2 years and not known MY rights that I have let my rights go......

My husband wants to rent a chipper and chip the fence into her back yard. You have to know how obnoxious she is to appreciate our feelings, I guess, but I think his idea sounds like fun!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 8:10PM
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Send the notice as you lawyer said and wait for a responce. I would think you every right to remove the fence and leave it laying in her yard. But I am not a lawyer.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 8:58AM
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I am surprised no action other than a "letter of trespass" That was issued 2 years ago. What was her responce to the letter of trespass? You say that you wanted to put a fence up and found that your town said a survey was required, if you indeed get one done and you now know without a doubt where the property line there are many things that you can do without taking more legal action.
First however you must be absolutly certain where the property line is, get that survey to be sure. Apply to the town to erect a fence within code 2 inches onto your property, as to not infringe on hers. I would even put it 1 foot on your side as to not go onto her side in order to erect it, this can even be done when allowing 2 inches only but be carefull.
Put up your new fence, contract someone to remove YOUR 2 year old fence and send her the bill for the removal and desposal.
Get that survey asap if you already have not. That is a key. If you can find an original better yet, it's already paid for. If you don't, and I must say that all jurisdictions vary, after 7 years that 4 to 5 feet may be hers. A few issues apply here in Ontario Canada.
1) Squaters rights are 7 years here, improvement and maintenace to the claimed land for 7 years must be made i.e.: cutting the lawn or planting a flower will qualify it.
2) If after a reasonable period of time (not clearly defined here) any land marker, trees, shrubs, laneway, FENCES are deemed to be definite delinitation structures to determine the NEW property line.

Don't hesitate 1 more day, get this ball rolling again and let us know what happens.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 9:56AM
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We have NOT sent the notice yet. She put up the fence two years ago and I just assumed that she took the appropriate steps to do it right (ha, ha).

When I called the town about erecting a fence, they told me to get the survey....I'm in the process of having it marked, and that's when I found out her fence is on my property. When the surveyors approached her for permission to enter her yard to find my land markers, the response was that they had tried to contact the town and ended up just putting it where they thought it should go.

I hope that you all are right and I still have some rights left in this matter. I will keep you updated!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 10:53AM
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Dear Saucy:

In most states in the US, if your neighbor puts up a fence on your property, they can claim that property as theirs after a certain number of years. The number of years varies state by state, but is usually a long time--one state it's 20 years. The notice of trespassing that your lawyer advised will prevent this, because it shows that you know the fence is on your land, and you are not conceding the land to the neighbors. If you had already lost rights to the land, the lawyer would have told you.

You can show them the results of the survey, and suggest that they have their own survey done. Depending on how old the houses are, there may be some discrepancy in the results. On older lots, some of the landmarks may have disapeared.

My father just had a survey done because his neighbors asked if they could put up a fence on their land, but with the "inside" of the fence facing my father's land. The results were that they had been triming a hedge that they claimed was theirs, but was actually on my father's property by about 4 feet. Needless to say, the fence "inside" now faces them, and their house is on a lot several feet narrower than it was before. They are not speaking to my father anymore. He suspects they had discovered their mistake, and were trying to find a way to keep the land.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 2:56PM
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Cover Your A** (CYA): Always send a notice first. When you mail it, make sure you send it return receipt. In the notice place a date and time of which further action will be taken. When this date comes, then proceed with a notice of Action. This gives them fair warning, and shows good intentions on your part, and you have written documentation (proof) for your files in the event your neighbor gets ugly.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 4:07PM
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Thank you ChrisAK, the Notice of Action is a good thing to know.

I wanted to get out of this without spending MY money, but if she fights, I guess I will employ the attorney!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 6:39PM
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I like the Chipper idea! Its to far to travel or I would have shown up on Chipping day with my work gloves!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2002 at 12:45AM
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Don't assume the worst. Maybe the notice will do the trick. They must realize that since they didn't go thru due process, that some inaccurate areas could exist.

Maybe you could even offer to help dig the new postholes in the spirit of neighborliness (since you have to continue to live with these folks).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2002 at 7:37AM
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My husband and I recently moved to a small farm and we just finished putting up fencing down one side of our property to fence in horses. We used the rebar corner marker in the back of the property and the marker in the front corner, ran a straight line, put up the fencing, and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. The previous owner had pointed out the front marker to me.

Then the owner of the adjacent property (he lives further down the road and rents out the property next to ours) telephoned, very upset. Seems our fence was 10-12' over into his property. We got out the copy of the survey provided to us by the previous owners. Started measuring from the opposite side of our property, which was fenced in 20 years ago, and found out that the rebar markers we used had apparently been moved. We suspect the teens who live across the road. They used to come over and roam the property, drink beer, etc. and weren't happy when we started fencing off sections. Or it could have been the man renting the property next door moved the markers so he could mow. We may never know.

When we realized we had made an honest mistake (an expensive, heart-breaking, every neighbor's nightmare mistake) I called and told the man so. Once he realized we weren't disputing it, he was very congenial. His concern was that if he allowed the fence to remain, in 7 years time (here in Tennessee) he could lose that property.

Mistakes do happen. I don't know anything about your neighbor, but I know that I certainly appreciated our neighbor calling us and discussing it. Hopefully we'll be able to work something out. Perhaps a written acknowledgement that the fence is on his property and that we do not intend to claim any right to that land. If not, we'll simply have to take it down and redo it.

I have a friend who is attempting to purchase a farm and a boundary dispute came up. She can't close on the property until it's resolved. In her case, the property owners live in Ohio and inherited the farm from relatives and didn't know until a survey was done for the sale that the neighbors had encroached. Even though it's been more than 7 years since the encroachment, they are still resolving it in court. So, no matter how long it's been since your neighbor put up the fence, you can still do something about it. But the longer you wait, the harder it will be.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 1:01PM
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Hmm... so this makes me wonder about our land. On the one side of our lot we have a ditch where a small spring runs down the property line. On the neighbors side, there is a little hill leading into the bank (only about 3 feet high at some points). We mow or weedeat that bank all the time because the neighbors refuse to. When it's not done, the grass and weeds grow high and snakes have been known to live in there and we don't want that. This land is actually owned by my father and he's owned it for 12 years. We've taken care of the hill all these years for the most part. Once in a blue moon, the neighbors start to mow it. So Would that mean they still keep their rights just because they tend to it like once a year or every other year?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2002 at 9:31AM
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If she refuses to move/remove the fence from your property:

If a permit is required to build a fence and your neighbor didn't get one, I would think the city code enforcement office would handle the problem for you. Especially since it's only 2 yrs. old. This shouldn't cost you anything but some time on the phone to alert them to the problem. With the land survey, you shouldn't need an attorney. That should be all the evidence you need.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2002 at 4:32PM
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Here's an update:

She is aware of the fence issue. It also turns out that her fence encroaches on Town property, so she will have to remove the front section, too.

I understand that she's hopping mad...heck, I would be too, but.....she's in the wrong since she should have followed the proper channels.

DH mediator has been over several times, but she feels this is a personal attack.

Guess that means Bad fences make Bad neighbors.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 9:50AM
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Bad fences do make for bad neighbors. One should never erect a fence without a survey. Many areas have rules about how far inside the property line the fence must be erected. Even if you and your neighbor are best friends, the property line issue must be resolved. In the event of that you or your heirs need to sell the property, property line issues should not be a problem. If the neighbors take offense over the issue, then they were not good neighbors to begin with. Don't lose any sleep over it. You have a right to protect your investment. You own your land from the property line all the way to the sky.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2002 at 12:44AM
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Bad fences make for bad neighbors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Do good fences really make good neighbors? These frequently asked questions may help you decide.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2002 at 12:48AM
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Property line FAQs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Answers to your frequently asked questions about property lines.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2002 at 12:53AM
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My father is a civil engineer/surveyor in Pennsylvania. I helped him a lot when I was growing up.

LOTS of fence/property line disputes.

More than once we surveyed under police protection because the land disputes had gotten so bad.

We were threatened with firearms several times, and once an property "owner" set his dog on us. I shot and killed it after it latched onto my arm (thank God for winter coats) and was drawing a serious bead on the owner as he ran at me. I think he finally relized that I was going to shoot him, too, because he stopped.

That incident occurred over a simple fence dispute. The guy whose dog I killed had put his fence nearly 250 feet onto his neighbor's property, despite the fact that the corners had been well marked.

Moral to the story?

It's hard to tell what people will do when it comes to land.

Proceed carefully, and with scrupulous attention to the law.

Send the letter. If it's ignored, ask your attorney if you can tear the fence down and sue your neighbor in small claims court...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 2:09AM
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You said that "She is aware of the fence issue. It also turns out that her fence encroaches on Town property, so she will have to remove the front section, too."
First if you have not officially sent a notice do so. And file a complaint in court because if it ever comes to court you want to show that you were doing things correctly. Send the Notice by certified mail. this will show when the notice was sent and the neighbor will have to sign for it wich means you will be able to prove when the neighbor received the notice so they can not come back and say they did not have notice. As was suggested before get the county, city, whoever has jurisdiction to intervene. Also file a complaint with them or at least a copy of the complaint sent to the neighbor. It looks as if no matter what she is going to have to tear down the fence. Make sure that you have the proper documentation before you erect your fence. If possible have EVERYTHING notarized so the neighbor can not cause problems later. The neighbor obviously broke the law because they erected the fence on city property and also because, as you were told, "an instrument survey of the property, and other guidelines" have to be followed before you can erect a fence or other structure. Hopefully the neighbor will realize this and be cooperative which would be in there best interest. The more they protest the more problems they will cause for themselves. If they say they were not told this they are either lying or they did not ask because the city will not make one law for you and another for your neighbor.
As you stated"
I understand that she's hopping mad...heck, I would be too, but.....she's in the wrong since she should have followed the proper channels." and you are correct She did not follow the proper channels. No matter what take the high road be helpful cheerful and happy (as you can be) and it will at least show the authorities that you are trying your best which can make a difference if this ever does go to court. Also VERY IMPORTANT: keep a log of every conversation re: THE FENCE, whether it is with your lawyer, town office or your neighbor. If you can document your efforts it will be helpful. Write the date, time, name of persons talked with and a description of the conversation.
07/03/02 10:00am Called town clerks office. Stephanie answered phone, was transferred to Debbie. Told Debbie I would be sending a notarized copy of complaint re: neighbor X and fence to her. Asked for address to send it to. Address she gave me: 123 oak st, mytown, USA 12345 . Made a copy of envelope with address and contents. Sent originals to Debbie, saved copies in fence file.
This may seem excessive but IF it goes to court you will be grateful for the documentation. Keep all of the paperwork together. Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2002 at 10:19PM
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Well, the notice was sent.

I got home to the mailbox with a letter from her lawyer. They're going to pursue a restraining order against my husband and I for not sending the notice to her lawyer and for trying to negotiate the issue with her (she invited my husband to her property and seemed willing to discuss the issues!).

I think this is a scare tactic. Thankfully we spent the extra money for a "recordable" survey which is what you need when proving a case in court. Thank you all for your wise responses....I have been recording everything.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2002 at 7:28AM
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If she did not just give you (or your husband) the name of her lawyer and say good day, it is likely a scare tactic as you surmised. Have your lawyer contact hers and get things started and have your lawyer mention that no lawyer name was given. Sounds like she wants to be a pain ...

Gutta cavat lapidem (Dripping water hollows out a stone) - Ovid

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 8:27PM
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Spoke to my lawyer today and this will be my last post on this issue (too much airtime to her is not worth it).

He says that her threat of a restraining order is bull - he's a down to earth guy!

Says this will probably end up in court, but he's going to return fire to try to prevent that. Says these things drag on forever (forever to me, 3 years to the regular Joe).

Wish me luck and thanks for all the advice. DH and I are ready for the FOR SALE sign, who wants to live next to hostility on a little lot?


    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 9:18PM
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Would you mind giving us an update to this saga? I successfully sued a previous owner of my car for stating it had lower miles than it actually had. Documentation was everything.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2002 at 3:25PM
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We did stick the "For Sale" sign outside after finding our "dream home" less than a half mile has everthing we wanted.

We sold our house on the first "show". She didn't mind the neighbors or the fence.

Funny how things work out, huh? I like to think this is what was meant for us. The heartache is now gone. BTW, the nasty neighbors are in litigation for something else, according to the local paper: possession with intent to sell.

We're happy now, and that's the best thing for all.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2002 at 4:32PM
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I guess you needed to know that my neighbor has decided to "ignore" that her fence is on my property.

That is why we thought it best to begin a search for a more habitable place to live!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2002 at 4:36PM
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Congratulations on the new home and may you have good luck and nice new neighbors!

Lee AKA Fireraven9
"Goddess Bless us, every one!" (my friend Marky)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2002 at 12:38PM
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I know too that people knowing the law here its 7 years for squatter right. we live over looking a private community. The lots are small. we have 40 acres. ok so what do these people buy their kids for christmas. Dirt bikes,4 wheelers.we told them numerous times to get out. To no avail. so my husband got telephone poles cut them about 8' Ran wire fence down through no more kids. we have texas longhorns,horses.We have a few acres of pine tree seedlings. what are these parents thinking. The one neighbor had a shed ,dog kennel,garden,burned his garbage,threw his brush,limbs on our land ,even after it was fenced in we had 2 guys lift motorcycle over our fence go through pine trees lift up again and go on their way..Its rediculous Its your land you pay taxes . The guy with shed etc, Told my husband when he saw the fence going up SO YOU HAVE LAND BIG DEAL>>>

    Bookmark   January 10, 2003 at 1:03PM
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Saucydog, make sure you have written proof that the purchaser of your home is aware of the boundary problem. You don't want them suing you years later for a "hidden defect".

Woodny, great advice. In legal disputes, keep written records of EVERYTHING, and don't do goofy things like putting the fence into a woodchipper. Remember that you may have to explain yourself in court, and you always want to appear to be the reasonable party. That said, represent your interests firmly. By the way, if you did not know she was represented by a lawyer there is no way she could get a restraining order against you for communicating with her to try to resolve the issue. Even if you did know, a restraining order would only be appropriate if you continually harassed her after being asked to communicate through counsel.

By the way, if she is being charged with "posession with intent to sell", that is not civil litigation, but criminal proceedings. It is easy to get angry when an annoying neighbor does something wrong, but remember they could be dangerous, so always be careful.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 3:39PM
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Thanks FredWolf for the good advice, especially as others may use this thread for making decisions in the future.

I did disclose all of the situations to the new homeowner. She wishes to keep the fence for privacy, so she is all set.

After meeting the new homeowner, I have no doubts that she is fully "aware" and has the where-with-all to make her own judgements on my former neighbors!

We are happily settling in to our new neighborhood.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2003 at 5:58PM
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I know your pain first hand. We have been in our home for 17 years now. Our old neighbor was wonderful but they had to sell. Long story short this lady moves in and starts with the driveway. It is on her land yes, but after 3 years and over $6000.00 in lawyer and court fees the courts have determind that the driveway is ours. Since we had been using it for so long it was "Grandfathered" to us. This hasn't ended anything with her. She has harrassed us, threatened us and home. She has blocked the driveway over and over and over. We have the court injunctions to keep her at bay but she doesn't care. She has been in jail over this and the police even sent her to the psychiatric ward for a 30 day psych evaluation. All this and she is still at it. Why don't we move? This is our dream home and always has been. My 2 children were born here. Yes in the house. This is why! We do pray that she will move. SOON!hehe. In the mean time we do what we can do. So, when I say I know what you are going through...I do. I am glad that you told her. This is what needed to be done. But, when you decided to move I truly evy your decision. Good luck to you. Sorry to go on and on. :0)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 5:13PM
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