Help...Neighbor/property line trouble!!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Egee, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. Egee

    Egee Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Hello Everyone,

    I am hoping someone might have a good idea for me. We bought our house July of 2001. We live in the village of a small town. The month we bought our house, we put up a small 4' high wire fence. To keep our children and dogs on our property. We knew where the property markers were and put the fence inside of those markers not to upset any neighbors. About a month ago, mind you, three plus years after buying our home and putting up the fence a neighbor knocks on our door. This is a neighbor that has never been friendly, but more rude then anything. Knocks on our door to tell us to move our fence. Saying she wants to expand her garden and that we are on her property. Which I denyed and told her to talk to the town, and if they tell me we have to move it, then we will. Nobody has talked to us about it since. Sunday we were all done for the day. When we got home we let our two dogs out into the yard. Two minutes later I noticed them out front in the street!!!!! I was terrified and ran out to get them. I was thinking someone must have left the gate open. But no......that neighbor cut our fence and pulled out 2 stakes and peeled it to the side about 12 feet and layed it down!!!! We saw two wood stakes with material tied to them marking "her" land line. Full well knowing we have dogs and they would get out. I called the police, they came over, looked at it and said they would talk to her but there was nothing else they could do. We couldn't prove she did it. So we rigged up our fence as best we could. Well it's not good enough because our young dog has gotten out twice since. My dogs have never ever even tried to get out, but I think now that she got a taste of what it feels like, she'll continue. Once you cut and bend a small wire fence like that it's hard to put back like it was. So we are now having to tie our pup up to keep her here when she wants to go out. Our dogs are only out when they want to be....they prefer the couch. :)

    I talked to our town zoning admin. and he said to use the footage on our deed to be able to put up a more permanent fence after getting the proper permits. But......if her deed has difference footage....we have to get a lawyer and go to court about it. I really feel we could be dealing with this until spring or longer. My problem is that I don't feel it's right for her to start all this with us and we end up having to pay the court cost and lawyers fees and town zoning fees when she is the one with the problem. Not to mention, that I have to take my pup out on a leash for her to pee. To make sure she doesn't get out. And 3 times now she could have been hit by a car and killed.

    Any advice out there would be great. I'm really looking for advice not an argument with anyone. I appreciate it!

    Thank you!
     
  2. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,026
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    Be a good neighbor and have your property properly surveyed and marked, possibly with GPS coordinates.

    Or simply ask her to explain why she thinks the boundary is where she thinks. Apologize for not taking her seriously enough when she came over the first time and start again. Show her your deed that says it is marked how you think and compromise. Where you think the line is isn't always the case. My neighbors recently had to survey due to having land timbered....another neighbor learned he only owns half his pond.

    If I felt someone built something (a fence) on my property, I might remove it as well, especially if they showed no interest in discussing it and I had a deed that backed me up.

    It unfortunate you got off on the wrong foot, but she still may be right. Only calm discussion will iron this out. Also, consider a mediator which is often cheaper than a lawyer and as binding. Perhaps you both could share the cost of a surveyor and abide by the final postings.
     

  3. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    Your deed and her deed are in the public record. Go to your county offices and you'll be able to track down your deed (if you don't already have a copy) and hers. You will want to read specifically the legal description of the property - something like "North 10 degrees 13 minutes 30 seconds East for 130 feet", or something like that. You may also see something like "Along the property of XXX" for your neighbors. The direction and distance should match for one of the boundaries on both of your properties. The language may seem very difficult to you, but hopefully a surveyor can make sense of it.

    I'd imagine if you bought your property 3 years ago, somebody looked over the deed to ensure there weren't any problems with it. You may or may not have had to get a surveyor out to locate or re-establish the property corners with markers.

    Getting a surveyor (one with P.L.S./ Professional Land Surveyor after his name) to stake out your property, and hopefully hers too, will probably cost $200 or so, I'd guess. Most likely you will be able to settle the dispute right there. If she believes that 'your' surveyor is somehow biased and putting the corners where you want them to be, she can very well go and hire her own surveyor. A Professional Land Surveyor's work is generally the definitive answer on property lines.

    If you've got a mortgage, chances are that you have title insurance, to guarantee against exactly these types of disputes, or even worse, when someone else comes up to you with a deed that appears to show that they own the land. If your deed description doesn't match up with her deed, there may be a chunk of land that is in dispute, and again title insurance should be able to resolve this.

    There is also a process where if an item such as a fence or wall is erected and nobody contests it for a period of time (I'd be very surprised if the time period is three years, I'd guess more like 10 years), the property can legally become yours. Now you can't just go around putting up fences and cash in on it in ten years, but that's generally what might happen. Methinks it's called "Adverse Possession"

    Good luck.
    John
     
  4. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    528
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    True story. We have a neighbor who is approaching 80, that I'll call Ms. B. Mr and Ms B bought their 4 acres back in 1953. No survey. Seller said, you are buying everything between the middle of this creek to the middle of that creek to the middle of that road". Then comes along a buyer of the property on the east side of hers. He moves a fence over 12 ft stating that it belongs to him. Ms B tears it down. Buyer takes the matter to a court of law. He is right. Then comes along a buyer of the property to the west of her's who says that his legal description states that he owns 20 ft on the other side of her creek. Her legal says he doesn't. Huge mess of getting surveys and looking at recorded surveys and deeds. Seems someone along the way sold the same piece of property twice. Only one time was recorded properly. She won. Guy that bought on the west side ended up only owning 1.5 acres instead of 3.

    The point of this is to show you that in your best interest, have your place surveyed. Take the survey to the court house and have it recorded. Put your fence back and if she moves it again, file a lawsuit on her. The police can't do much, because this is a civil matter and not a criminal one. However, if you have your place surveyed and have your fence put where it goes and she takes the fence down, you can probably get the police to do something on the grounds that she destroyed property of yours.

    The other option is to just give in to her and let her have 12 ft of your property.
     
  5. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,176
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    You may be able to find the stakes that are in the ground with a metal detector, if you can't actually see them. If the area is cleared you may be able to run a string line to see who's property is who's. If it's too large, it probably won't cost that much to have a surveyor come out and map that one property line out for you.
     
  6. dmp437

    dmp437 Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    Advice?
    Get your lot surveyed ASAP. That gets you a legal document that shows the location of all buried markers. I'm surprised that wasn't required when you bought the place in 2001.
    Then tell the neighbor to expand her garden in the OTHER direction.
     
  7. Hurricane Kurt

    Hurricane Kurt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Virginia
    This is just my opinion here but if I had a grumpy 80yr old neighbor that started expanding her garden in November(!?!) and pulled up my fence to do so I'd be thinking 'what a crackpot'. :)

    I would'nt say a word to the lady until I had my lot surveyed and knew exactly where my property line was.

    Good luck!

    Kurt
     
  8. peanutgreen

    peanutgreen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    190
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas
    If you decide to survey your land and rebuild the fence, you might want to put up a small (almost unnoticeable) security camera. Then if she decides to move the fence again, you'll have the evidence you need to take her to court to pay for it.
     
  9. Egee

    Egee Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Thanks to you all for your advice. The metal markers are clearly showing on all four corners of our .02 of an acre lot. Not a lot of land, that's why we feel the need to fight for what is ours. :) Her property runs the back part of ours. Which the markers on the two corners touching hers and our property are there in plain sight. If they are right, she is about 3' deep X 63' long on our property. (her garden and humungous composte pile) I think even though the posts are there I will still feel better to have the property surveyed.

    I wasn't saying that we didn't take her seriously. If we are wrong, we are wrong and have no problems at all with moving the fence. But we don't think we are wrong. That's why I told her to talk to the town, she can pay to get it surveyed and we would go from there. She never did. She disregarded how we felt.

    Thank you all very much for your responses. Have a great night!
     
  10. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,282
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    ................She , must BE , one HELL of a strong 80 year old mutha! . I'm having a hard time visualizing an 80 year old female pulling UP any kind of Fence post that was stuck in the ground . Sounds like to me that she had some Help in pulling up your fence . OR-- your fence must have just been barely strong enough to stand on it's own . Her age is going to work Against You when you try to get the Coppers to enforce the Law . If , she pulled up MY fence and it was on MY property , I might want to let a friendly skunk loose under her House to see if her Olfactory sensors are working properly , ...fordy... :eek: :)
     
  11. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    890
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Location:
    Clarksville TN.
    Id get something in writeing from a surveyor,+ a cost estament from a professional fence installer to put your fence back up (id make sure that professional under stands how upset you are over your dog,so he can +$$$).Add up the cost and ask neighbor to pay it.(of course they most likely will not.)But then you can take them to small claims court. ;)

    The estament for the fence should be free,then you can collect that money and do it your self. :D Maybe put it twards a privacy fence.With the neighbors side being painted a very bright distasteful color.Poka-dots come to mind. :D
     
  12. Egee

    Egee Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Fordy....it wasn't my neighbor that is 80, a different poster put that on about a neighbor in their past. My neighbor is maybe 50.

    I agree about the ugly paint color. Hahaha :))
     
  13. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,628
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Once you get that property line established, your fence really should be on it, not inside it, to avoid future disputes. Too bad about her garden. :(
     
  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Survey.6 foot block wall.Camera.
    BooBoo
     
  15. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,283
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Around here property fences are to be paid for jointly by both landowners - do check to see if your neighbor has to pay for half of your fence :)

    My parents had a new neighbor move in recently and she decided my parent's driveway cut into her land. She started causing a fuss and got herself a lawyer. When all the surveying and such was done she found her driveway cut across my parent's land, her hedge was on their land, the back 3 feet of her property belonged to the county and she had to pay all court costs. We all had a good laugh because we already knew all this and would have been happy to let her use the driveway, keep her hedge and tell her how none of the houses owned the back three feet but that it was a county path to my parent's land and when my parents decided they no longer needed to use the path, each house in turn absorbed the path into their own gardens.
     
  16. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    I've never seen where an adjoining property owner has been forced to pay for a fence. True, if you put up a fence, the neighbor actually owns half of the portion that is on the boundary. But it is extrmely rare that the neighbor actually pays anything around here. This is why some people will put the fence in 6" or so inside their own boundary. That way the neighbor can't do anything to it. Wouldn't do this without a good, recent survey.
     
  17. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Egee, you stated (The metal markers are clearly showing on all four corners of our .02 of an acre lot.) That is awfully small, are you certain of your numbers?
     
  18. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

    Messages:
    1,229
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Grant Co WV/ Washington Co MD
    This is our story. After owning our land and fencing it, about a year, the old lady nextdoor says our springs are hers and she wants to use them now. Dh, knowing you don't argue with a lady, has the property surveyed and has the surveyor inform the lady, that not only doesn't she own the springs but we gave her an extra 12' when we fenced in our property and her shed was on our property. Well, she had no choice but to accept that and we got along fine for the next 10 years until she died. Moral of the story, get it surveyed.

    Laura Lynn
     
  19. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,174
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    NE FL until the winds blow
    I'm also in Maryland but haven't paid or expected my neighbors to pay for fencing; amazingly, I have 5 continguous owners to my commercially zoned 1/3 acre. I did insist that a developer put up a fence and not leave an alleyway when he developed a house for office use on the East side; he thought he'd get "door opening room" on my land and got even by planting ivy for his "green space requirement". *shudders* We installed 2 sections of privacy fence to wall off the neighbor beside him (for the riffraff who want to smoke pot in a dark corner or rob a convenience store and make their getaway sans streetlights.) A small section of my 3.5 city lots to the North adjoins an apartment building; their chain link fence is set back 1-3' (the poles are clearly visible). To keep out transients, we've leaned old trellis material and grown brambles in the dead space. My old neighbors (to the left) always anchored their privacy fence to the 60+ year old pipe fence (mine? who knows?); the new neighbors put in posts but, though I asked, didn't clean the dead space of junk saplings--to think I gave them figs and shared goodies from my tiny garden! My new neighbor on the East didn't bother with a survey when she purchased and has given me an extra 3 x 50' to weed I'm sure is hers--thanks a lot! Worse yet, her cat thinks he lives in 2 houses; he digs in my garden, uses my abandoned pet door and insists on sleeping with me!

    Not to worry. When I sell and find my farm, it will all be sorted out; next owner will survey, tear out my gardens and enforce the rules. Until then, we find a way to get along.

    katy
     
  20. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,283
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    I wasn't making it up :D

    I think ours is a county law (at least the county told us about it and I can't find it in the maryland code right now), but here are some others just for fun.

    Findlaw.com has:
    Hog-Tied by a Fence Law

    If you live in a historic part of the country, beware of obscure fence laws that may still be on the books. In Maryland, a Howard County landowner was subjected to an anachronistic county law that not only required him to share the cost of a fence on the property line with his neighbor but required the fence to be "hog-tight"-low enough so that a hog could not squeeze under it. And no, neither of the neighbors had any hogs on his property. (At last report, county officials were working to repeal the law.)

    Ohio State University Extension:
    If one landowner wants to construct a line fence, Ohio law provides that the neighboring landowner must share equally in the cost of building the fence.

    Here's Kentucky KRS 256.042:
    (d) Apportionment of the cost of the removal of the existing fence, the removal of growth and vegetation and the cost of the construction of the new fence, between the landowners, which shall be one-half (1/2) to each landowner unless the court determines such apportionment to be unconscionable.

    Missouri says:
    Neighbors can be forced to contribute to half the building and maintenance of a boundary fence as long as one or the other has a need for it. You are required to pay for part of a fence even though you do not have livestock against it. (It does seem as though some parts of Missouri are using a newer law which only makes the adjoining landowner pay if they have lifestock also).

    In Pennsylvania the courts seem to decide on a case by case basis, but until 1997 Pennsylvania's Fence Law, title 29, Purdon's Statutes, section 41 was taken to mean equal costs to both landowners.