Property boundaries

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BCR, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Recently the son of a neighbor bought land adjacent to them of under 5 acres. We own one side (borders both pieces of property, along an unused county road right away) and a smaller piece (about 1/8 an acre) that juts out from our main property across the right away like a peninsula and borders the other side of his.

    They want to timber. He wants to take some from his newly acquired property. He wants us to go 'eyeball' the boundaries and come to an agreement on the property line with him. I have already told him I wouldn't- and the other owner isn't home. We suggested weeks ago that he get it surveyed as we were not exactly sure of the boundaries there (stuff has overgrown, we hardly go there, and it has never been an issue before). He doesn't seem to want to have his property surveyed- said it was expensive.

    Am I just being difficult? I don't want to be taken advantage of by anyone and I don't want loggers tearing up my property either.
     
  2. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    we have the same problem in my subdivision--no survey. if u don't know where ur property line is, how can u tell him where to stop? he faces the same problem: he'll get in trouble if he cuts ur timber but only if u can prove he's over the line. u might be able to collaborate on a survey; they ARE expensive, like 1500.00 in my situation. you will probably be better off if u can come to some agreement. war could be expensive. just my two cents worth on this.
     

  3. RAC

    RAC Guest

    You could offer to split the survey cost in half, since you both benefit from it, and then mark those lines with posts/stakes painted at the top but no fencing attached.
     
  4. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I have land in Missouri that is, according to the deed, plus or minus 40 acres. I talked to surveyers, and they told me that the land has NEVER been surveyed, and to do so would be nigh impossible and VERY expensive. Better to go by old fences and a "gentlemen's agreement." I suggest you make the trip out and get all adjacent landowners together at the same time.
     
  5. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

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    If you and your neighbor eyeball it and come to an agreement (just for timber purposes) you might be a little off one way or another. But
    the cost of a survey will hardly be economically justified by losing or gaining a few saleable trees either way. He's unlikely to make much money of 5 acres.

    If you want to be neighborly, I'd recommend coming to an agreement with him for timber purposes. Mark your trees with lurid paint or flagging at the agreed to border. It does't have to be a straight line. The marked treee, your trees should not be cut.

    I would get it in writing from him that your agreement to timber on an approximated property line in no way implies that the approximated line is to be interpreted as the actual property line.

    However, I'd also get in writing that he guarantees that the timber company will in no way enter your property and that he is responsibe for any damage to your property adjacent to you land.

    Since you are doing him a favor he should leave a small ($500) deposit with you against damage to your property by whomever is going to cut and harvest.

    Cheerfully refund it if there is no or inconsequential damage.
     
  6. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    I agree with what Charles says with a couple of additional points:

    1) Have it in writing that he needs to notify you in advance of when they logger is going to be there;

    2) Make sure that you are there when they are doing the logging (perhaps they can start from the property line and move in.

    Once a mistake is made and trees are cut on your property you can only complain about it (sue?) and maybe get some money. This happened to a friend of mine where they clear cut on his neighbors property and "inadvertantly" cut almost 10 acres of his woods. At first the person said they would pay but after he had a forester go in and estimate based on stump diameter it went to court because the person refused to pay. Not a situation you want to get into.

    Mike
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    BCR,
    You are getting yourself into a situation to where if you are not careful it is going to cost you money. Since you are not the one wanting to define the property line by cutting the timber why should you have an expense? You need to get a jumpstart on this issue. Get a roll of suveyors ribbon and go mark what you think is the property line. Tell the neighbor that is where you think the line is and he is not to cut past that line. Tell him if the logger cuts beyond that line the tree price is 3 times market price and you intend to get paid. Get that message to the havester. If your neighbor does not agree to where you marked the line then it is his responsibility to get it surveyed. End of discussion!
     
  8. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Agmantoo has some good points........hmmmmmm......
     
  9. RAC

    RAC Guest

    I don't know if you can stipulate what price it would be in advance like Agmantoo says, or rather, make it stick in court. Don't they go by market value of the timber? In other words depending on your state don't plan on getting money for loss of value to the rest of your property as well--although it would not be a bad idea to get pictures RIGHT NOW of how it looks, with witnesses and a copy of the daily paper for good measure. I think you should be able to sue for the loss of the beauty of a tree, loss of shade, etc. far past how much it brings in mere timber prices (I'm talking about your own trees here cut in error, not attacking someone who plants/harvests trees for a living).

    Depending on what state you're in and how involved your local Sierra group is, you might also want to call them to get involved, and perhaps find out what your area requires in terms of approval from the neighbors--noise, probable run-off issues when it rains, etc. Your town county may not let them cut. Is there habitat or a wetlands that can be protected?

    I too think it is incumbent upon the person cutting the trees to make sure that the property boundaries are accurate, I just suggested splitting the cost of a survey to grease the wheels a bit if you were not otherwise averse to them cutting the trees on their property.
     
  10. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If I told a logger in advance that if he cuts a tree off my property it would cost him 3 times the market value he would think twice prior to tresspassing. If he failed to heed my warning and cut anyway and I took him to court and proved I told him that fact in advance I think I would get punitive damages awarded at that amount or more. To get paid at the market value would be the same as selling with no punishment for his tresspassing and stealing the timber. Many times a logger will cut questionsable boundry timber that is on the line and then settle by paying market as this was what he was willing to pay anyway. Do not give him that opportuntiy!
     
  11. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    in my opinion, and it's not an informed one but based on common sense, if u draw a line and say cut no farther, and they do anyway, it'll be up to u to prove that they took/damaged your property.

    put it another way. u claim up to a certain point. your claim has no particular validity. it's just a guess, and no one has to pay it any attention. but if your guess is correct then they are at fault. it seems to me if you claim someone has stolen your property, you'd have to prove it WAS yours. and how to do that, except with a survey.

    so common sense-wise if your guess is reasonable, they'd be wise to respect it. i still say, be neighborly and reach a gentleman's agreement. it'll be a lot easier if they are reasonable too. otherwise, get a survey before they cut.
     
  12. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    You really need to stay on your toes for this one.

    I wonder what type of Beavis & Butthead logging operation is going to harvest "less than 5 acres"? You have plenty of well founded reasons to be alarmed at the process.

    Here's what you can do. Regarding the property lines.....all the expenses for "running a line" (a less expensive means of roughly defining property lines than a survey) fall upon the person having the property logged. You can voluntarily kick in 1/2 the price for this operation, but you're certainly not obligated to. Around here, "running a line" on a 5 acre parcel would cost about $100 - $150.

    If your neighbor is unable or unwilling to spring for "running a line", about the only alternative I can think of is determining an approximate line where you think the line is....and then moving it 10 feet inward on your neighbors property as a "buffer zone".

    If you don't want any disturbance of trees, etc on your property, send the person a certified letter stating that under no circumstances, should any logging equipment go on your property. In addition, state that no trees leaning into your property should be felled onto your property. This is your right. You do not have to put up with the adjoining property owner falling trees on your land....even if they drag them back onto their property.

    Lastly, and quite possibly most important, make absolute certain you visit the premises nearly every day when the logging is taking place. This sends a message to the loggers that they can't steal prime trees from you that are located near the property line (one of the oldest tricks in the book for crooked loggers).
    Tell the loggers you're short of cash......and if they disturb your property you'll have them in court pronto. I guarantee you it will get there attention.

    In the short term, your neighbor will likely be ticked at you. So what? If you don't want your property disturbed, it is entirely your choice.


    I can understand why your neighbor doesn't want to get a survey. The expense of a survey will likely eat up all proceeds (and more) from any revenue generated by logging.
     
  13. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    With a GPS survey all they need is an OFFICIAL point within a few miles of where you want to survey.

    mikell
     
  14. RAC

    RAC Guest

    But isn't it the logging property owner's responsibility first rather than the logging company's? I mean, don't logging companies make the owner sign a release form telling them that the owners have certified that the trees to be cut are on the cutting owner's property, releasing the company from any and all liability as far as incorrectly cut trees (they could still of course be held liable for other damage to the neighbor's property)? You can't expect the logging company to know the property boundaries.

    In any event, you will eventually have to have a survey done if it goes to court, even if you do string up a temporary line, because what if your cutting neighbor tears it down because he doesn't agree with it, the loggers cut and you sue, and he turns out to be right after the survey is done? That wouldn't be good at all.

    A survey up front is the only way to be sure, unless both parties can come to an agreement for the tree-cutting only. Maybe some agreement on firewood, or some free baby trees???
     
  15. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    Legal survey. He pays. Or you can agree to split the cost. No more hassles, no more questions, no more wrangling anything. Just my 2 cents. It can be friendly and then it's no longer an issue.

    Nance
     
  16. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for all your thoughtful replies.

    Here's what we decided. Since the loggers are logging his little plot ALONG with his parents (about 80 acres) I think the loggers will be the same that came out and logged their land before. He says the surveyors he talked to would not do one boundary (running a line) and wanted $3000 to survey. He won't be getting that much in timber. He is being polite and so are his parents.

    So we are going to go down there and be certain the line he marked is well within his boundary (allowing for a buffer zone of about 20 feet) as he says it is. We can be neighborly about that since that doesn't seem too bad. But I really like the idea of getting it in writing that that isn't the actual boundary and any damage done to our property will be his responsibility. That way we are agreeable but have some mutual understanding. See, there is a level mowed patch of our land that I can just see timber folks leaving trucks/logs laid out on....and I do not want that. I will also ask him to let me know when the logging will take place. As I work at home, it would be easy for me to show up each day.

    I do not know if there is a company that can do a GPS survey. Something to look into in the future as we often think of subdividing our land should we sell out.

    Thank you for all your experience shared. I knew you would all be great advisors.