Fencing and neighbors

cearabJune 17, 2007

Recently there were postings regarding fencing and property lines. I just had a friend (neighbor) who moved a few blocks away. Their property has a bit of an odd shape. The survey revealed that 2 neighbors behind them have fencing built on my friends property. The next door neighbor (not a friendly couple), has part of their driveway built on my friends property. The surveyor did not put out flags when they did the survey (strange, huh). I mentioned the thread that had been on here and some of the problems that people have had. She is going to call the survey company to come back and put out the markers. She's not sure what to do about the situation with the next door neighbor and the driveway. The surveyor can't put a flag into the cement. And my friends are nervous about starting off on the wrong foot with new neighbors. But, they do realize that they need to make clear where the boundaries are.

I mentioned this also to my SIL yesterday while in her backyard. My brother (now deceased) fenced in about half their property. There is another 1/4 acre or so beyond their fence that SIL has no reason to go onto. However, she discovered that 2 neighbors have been discarding their lawn clippings and yard debris, she thinks, since my brother died. You really would not have wanted to mess with my brother! She told me she recently went back and the pile is huge. She had a landscaper go back to look at it and he said it would be very costly to remove this pile, and that the township would likely fine her if they discovered it. This, because it is a potential fire hazard and could self combust. She is not a confrontational sort, and is at a loss for what to do.

Having neighbors isn't easy is it!

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Sometimes it isn't. We have a neighbor who mows 1/4 of my yard "so it matches his yard", and every time my kids or husband mow - they go back over it right to our property line. We don't want him ever to have the illusion that its his land and he's maintaining it. We're in the process of giving this house to our 2 eldest sons and moving ourselves and 2 youngest into another home (I inherited an uncles'), the boys will be installing fencing asap - they will hire the surveyor and do everything by the book so the neighbor can't legally b--ch. But boy has he got a surprise coming, won't be able to drive his pick-up and boat trailor thru our yard to store it in his little space, he has space on the other side of his house but puts in on my side instead, so they won't be depriving him of anything but going thru our yard. At the "new" house, its already fenced with the markers showing, thank goodness. The neighbor on the left has joyfully agreed that we rip out the nasty thorn hedges that run the entire length of the driveway - making our driveway at least 2' wider, and giving her a more open front lawn. The neighbor at the back line has already asked permission to put up a privacy fence, yes, yes, yes, saves us the expense of doing it :) and the right side neighbor already has a privacy fence half way back, and then we have hedge work from that fence to the sidewalk. All we need to add is some fence from the detached garage to the house with a gate. We've taken our large german shepherd over while cleaning, so they've all seen her - hence the need for fencing.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:33AM
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When I was building my first lakefront home, I discovered my neighbor's septic system, underground oil storage tank and part of their recently built deck, garage, driveway and retaining wall were built on my property. They acted like I was the bad guy when I told them they'd have to make some changes. I'm a builder and offered to help with deconstruction, and also offered to sell them some of my land. They were quite upset since they knew they'd have to pay for an engineered septic system, remove and test the soil around the oil tank and that they couldn't get permits to build a retaining wall, deck, garage and driveway so close to my property line.

I've run into many territorial **$$ing matches over the years building, developing, rehabbing and reselling homes. I'm always civil, professional and do everything by the book with engineered plans, proper surveys, permits, variances, inspections etc, but somehow I end up being the Bad Guy when someone else has built on my property, used my property or built next to my property without proper plans, permits or permission.

One of the neighbors next to one of my investment properties recently relocated my property markers so they could use my property to access the area in the rear of the home since they have no off-street parking. Like I wouldn't notice.LOL. I got a permit for a fence the next day, and their neighbors were quite upset that all their cars and trucks were now taking up the majority of parking spaces on the street.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 1:26PM
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As for the property line marker where the driveway is, the surveyors can drill a hole into the paving and set a metal pin flush with the surface. Road survey crews do that to mark the legal center of the right of way, so it is not unusual.

Often surveyors charge extra for marking property lines - just one more thing you get to pay for. Actually, I do not blame them. If all you are doing is getting an approximate outline of a piece of land, marking is not needed. But if you need an exact location of the property limits, especially if there might be conflicts, the survey companies need to be very particular and locate the limits to within specific tolerances.

Maybe your SIL could ask the local fire department to burn that debris pile for her. Make it into a fire safety demonstration on how dangerous accumulating yard debris can be. AND demonstrate to the errant neighbors whose property it is, and that their garbage is not to be dumped there anymore.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:26PM
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I worked with a woman who had bad relations with her neighbors. She discovered that half of the neighbors one lane driveway (down the centerline) was on her property.

So she got a survey and pulled a permit for a privacy fence. One Saturday morning she rented a post hole digger and started punching holes through the blacktop.

The police were summoned, but the paperwork was in order and by the end of the day there was a fence running down the center of the driveway. I'm not sure I would have done it, but it made for a very funny story.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:47PM
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Years ago, my Dad and his sisters inherited property from their father at a lake. My father put a trailer on his and built a outhouse on his sister's property with her permission that was very close to his property line. Later when my Dad sold the property (to another neighbor), he told the guy the approximate footage, but that he should get a survey for the exact measurement. The neighbor thought he knew it all and went ahead and built his pole barn on the property. Then asked my Dad when was he going to remove the outhouse next door. My Dad told him, not likely ever since his sisters also used it when visiting their lots. What was even better was when he decided to put in a water well and still hadn't gotten a survey. My cousin who now owned her Mom's (my dad's sister) property got a survey done and the well was on her property!!! He had to pull the pump and cap the well and redrill on his property. He was quite peeved to say the least!!! Well, my dad warned him.... LOL

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 1:46PM
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DH is religious (obsessive?) about protecting our property lines.

I would have your friend give a copy of the survey to each encroaching neighbor and tell them they need to remove the encroachment. If they don't act promptly (they won't), put it in writing (having a lawyer do this would be better). Then get a bulldozer.

By the way, this is why you get a survey BEFORE you buy land, not after.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 3:16PM
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Hi all. Just found this forum today and I think it's wonderful! I have a problem with a neighbor that I'm not sure how to handle. The neighbors behind me tore down their fence about 4 months ago and erected a new beautiful one, but in the process, also installed a gate. The husband has, since then, been coming onto my property through his gate and dumping wood scraps and other yard debris in a pile along the fence on my property. It is a deep culverted drainage area along the back of my property, so I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, hoping that maybe he thinks it's common open space. Either way, he shouldn't be dumping there. He's now left a few little things that aren't biodegradable, such as a plastic garbage bag and the lid to a 5 gallon tub. I've never spoken to these neighbors before. Wondering if anyone has an opinion about putting up a 'private property' sign or leaving him a friendly note asking him to please stop the dumping. Thanks all!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 10:58AM
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Go and talk to him.
If he doesn't stop, just tip it all back over to his side of the fence.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 6:51PM
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We're in the middle of this - get a survey, leave a copy in your neighbor's mailbox with a nice note outlining your understanding of what's in and what's out, and what you expect your neighbor to do about it.

Of course, that's what we did and a horrible storm of abuse has ensued. But I still feel pretty good about our course of action...take the high road, but assert your rights. There are ramifications if you don't, including easements and other terrors.

Paint can mark a boundary, it does on our property. Have the surveyor write on the driveway, then lay down a tape measure and take a picture. Upload that bad boy to the Internet, you'll never know when you need it, and need it date stamped.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 8:07PM
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Install a gate lock on your side of the fence. He doesn't need access to your property through the gate.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 9:58AM
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OK, the presence of the gate doesn't look good, but are you *sure* he's the one dumping on your property? If you *see* him dumping, then simply ask him to please stop dumping on your property. Approach it as he might think that it is common area, and point out that it's your property and that you're going to have to clean it up and take it to a proper landfill.

Does the gate open *outward* (swings onto your property)? If it does, and the neighbor is abusive or continues to dump even after assuring you that he would stop, then you can sink a good-sized post into a concrete footing immediatley in front of the gate, preventing him from opening it. Just make sure that the post is on *your* property. There is no reason he needs to have access to your property without your permission. If he says something about needing access to your property, tell him to come to your front door and ring the doorbell and you'll be glad to help him with whatever he needs. (besides illegal dumping, that is)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 12:37AM
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You dont want a war on your hands. Talk to him first and simply just ask him to remove the clippings and trash. If he doesnt then install the concrete footing and post and throw the trash back on his side. But always play nice first!

Does anyone know if you need the permission of the neighbor before replacing a chainlinked fence with a wooden one? Not that I mind and I like the idea of the privacy and that my neighbor is paying for it, but I would like my neighbor to do the "polite" thing and mention it to me.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 3:33PM
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A link that might be useful:

Neighbors 'fence' over property line

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 4:05PM
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Wow..thanks for that link. This is EXACTLY the issue my friends have with the house they just moved into 2 weeks ago. The neighbor has part of their driveway build on my friends property. To boot, these are not the friendliest neighbors. But, after reading the article you posted, it appears someone can claim possession of someone's property because they have been using it unchallenged for years. Not a good situation, and certainly one that my friends need to deal with asap.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 8:11PM
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A person's relationship with another is often established unilaterally by that other person. For instance, if a robber decides that you are their victim, then in fact, you are their victim. If you happen to be able to thwart their plans by beating them up or shooting them, you are still victimized in the process. If another person decides you are their enemy, then you are such until they decide otherwise. Sometimes people who live near each other make such decisions. The fellow who lives nearest me has a really trashy place, looks terrible. Is brisk and terse in conversing, uses few words and is in a hurry to finish any conversation. But he does not lie to me nor does he bother my property at all. I do treasure those two qualities. Some of those who preceded him at that location were both liars and thieves. So I count my blessings and remain on good terms with my neighbor. I don't lie to him nor bother his property either. Some of our outbuildings do not even have doors.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 7:49PM
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Does anyone know if you need the permission of the neighbor before replacing a chainlinked fence with a wooden one?

as long it was his fence to begin with, and he put it back on HIS property per the HOA/local set back ordinances IF there are any for a fence, then you have absolutely no say in what style fence he puts up or how he installs it.

in my area it is common for people to put a gate on a fence that faces a common area. the house my parent's used to rent when i was in my early teens had one. it opened to a ditch that ran behind the house. most houses on the street had one as well, and everyone simply put their leaves/lawn clippings behind the fence. of course, there were no nieghbors to the back either, just a bean field.

do you have a fence around the rest of your property that connects to his fence?

if this drainage area is truly neither of your properties, then you have no more right to use it as your yard than he does to use it as a dump. depending on local laws, he may even be fined heavily for dumping there. most drainage ditches are in easements, basically no man's land. usually, not always, but usually when a ditch seperates 2 properties the owners of each property are responsible for keeping it clean on their half.

i think you should get a survey done, then put up your own fence at your property line to hide seeing his biodegradable trash. or learn to live with it, and simply throw anything that is not biodegradable back over the fence.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 12:36PM
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cearab wrote: "Wow..thanks for that link."

Your welcome. If this were happening to me, I'd speak to a real estate attorney, ASAP.

Another link that might be useful:
Real Estate: Selecting a Good Lawyer-by Tom Pedreira


* There are different types of real estate lawyers, so youÃll need to look for one with expertise where you need it. Subcategories of real estate law include:
* Residential
* Commercial
* Industrial
* Agricultural
* Eminent Domain
* Land Use Matters
* Landlord-Tenant

Expertise in one category doesnÃt mean expertise in other categories. If you have a real estateÃproblem, you probably want aÃlawyer who either handles lawsuits (sometimes called a business litigator), or handles contracts and corporate matters (called a transactional lawyer).Ã

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 9:18PM
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I have had my share of bad neighbors and my advice is to first go to the register of deeds or whoever keeps property records in your county. Ask if the survey you have is legally enforceable in a Court of Law, as mortgage surveys are not in my state. Trying to find buried survey rods is a real pain and I suggest you get a survey that will hold up in court if yours is not legally enforceable. I have had great neighnors except for two jerks to my right. Do not allow anyone to trespass on your property. You will most likely live to regret it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 4:24PM
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