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    carnelian's Avatar
    carnelian Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Apr 13, 2007, 08:56 PM
    Property line
    Our new neighbors have a wild hair to enforce the property line. We have a retaining wall separating our driveways. We built the retaining wall with the previous neighbors, both families sharing the cost. The new neighbors had a surveyor friend come and mark up the property, claiming that the true property line lies about 4 inches on our side of the retaining wall, so they're planning on removing the wall, which would collapse a portion of our driveway. We're waiting to get a surveyor to confirm the property line. If their friend is right, do we have any standing to maintain the seemingly natural boundary as determined by the retaining wall? Is there a law regarding presumed usage of property (forgive my lack of legalese)?

    Thanks,
    Frustrated, and trying to mend fences
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
     
    #2

    Apr 14, 2007, 09:54 AM
    Let's say the property line is 4" on your side. The neighbor may own it but he can not do anything that will negatively affect your property. If removing the wall clollapses your driveway you could sue him for damages. You wouls tand a very good chance of winning if you get out there and get some before and after pics.Question, why would the new neighbor have a friend survey the property after he moved in? That should have been part of the closing. Maybe is the guy is a great friend and a not great surveyor. Search for the driven iron rod in the cormers of your lot.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692
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    #3

    Apr 14, 2007, 10:02 AM
    The laws vary from state to state on this. So it can go either way, you having to move your wall, or them having to allow it to stay.
    If this ends up in court. If your surveyor shows it is on the property line, if they don't accept this, it will end up in court.

    What made the new neighbors decide to look this close into it ? Is there more going on with this than just the property line?
    carnelian's Avatar
    carnelian Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Apr 14, 2007, 10:50 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck
    What made the new neighbors decide to look this close into it ? Is there more going on with this than just the property line?
    Thanks for your answers. To answer you question: They want to put in a fence so they can get a dog. There are laurels providing a partial separation of our lots. For years we've been taking care of trimming the laurels, but apparently they're mostly on the neighbors' side. They want to remove the laurels and put up a fence.
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #5

    Apr 14, 2007, 05:47 PM
    Seems to me that the best thing to do is go talk to them about the situation. I mean, you do want them to fence in their dog, don't you? So, see if you can come to some sort of arrangement that will let them have their fence and at the same time keep your driveway usable. Maybe the wall gets taken down in most spots, but left where it's needed for the driveway? Or you agree to take down the wall, and they agree to pay for whatever you need to do to keep the driveway from collapsing? Approach it as a friendly issue. Both of you want something, and both of you should be able to see the other person's side. No need to take this to court if you don't have to.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #6

    Apr 14, 2007, 05:55 PM
    Do you have documentation to show that the retaining wall was done with the previous owners? Was a survey done when the wall was constructed?If you can show that the previous owners paid part of the wall, you may be win in a court fight.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692
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    #7

    Apr 14, 2007, 06:13 PM
    Or of course you figure the cost of a survey, cost of an attorney to fight this in court, and perhaps work out a deal to put the fense next to the wall if you help pay some of it.

    ** and of course check the laws on setback, in some areas you can't put a fence on the property line but it has to be set back a certain distance from the property line, so if there is a 12 in set back, then they would still have to have their fence beyond the wall anyway.

    I just have to think that there has to be some bad blood for some other reason, I can't image anyone being upset over 4 inches
    carnelian's Avatar
    carnelian Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Apr 14, 2007, 10:07 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem
    Do you have documentation to show that the retaining wall was done with the previous owners? Was a survey done when the wall was constructed?If you can show that the previous owners paid part of the wall, you may be win in a court fight.
    The previous owners live across the street, and have the documentation. We had a retaining wall separating grass on their side, and landscaping on our side. We both wanted to widen our driveways, so we shared the cost of doing so. We paid a larger portion because we had more driveway to pour. The retaining wall was rebuilt to have a more cosmetic appearance.

    How would the previous owners' having helped pay part of the cost help me now?
    carnelian's Avatar
    carnelian Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Apr 15, 2007, 10:30 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck
    Or of course you figure the cost of a survey, cost of an attorney to fight this in court, and perhaps work out a deal to put the fense next to the wall if you help pay some of it.

    ** and of course check the laws on setback, in some areas you can't put a fence on the property line but it has to be set back a certain distance from the property line, so if there is a 12 in set back, then they would still have to have thier fence beyond the wall anyway.

    I just have to think that there has to be some bad blood for some other reason, I can't image anyone being upset over 4 inches
    We've been having problems with their kids bullying our younger kids (leaving the same-age kids alone). We talked to the parents about it, but they're in denial. Their kids have also dug up the wire we're burying for an invisible fence for our dog 3 times.

    I asked them on at least two occasions if we can try to be friendly, but the response is, "We have to be neighbors, but we don't have to be friends."

    Perhaps your first idea is also true, but this doesn't seem to be the way to go about trying to have a neighbor help pay for the cost of a fence.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #10

    Apr 16, 2007, 04:29 AM
    The fact that the previous owners helped pay for the work done, creates an easement. In effect they relinquished those few inches to you (if the new survey is correct). If this came to court, you would stand a good chance of stopping them.

    As for their kids digging up the invisible fence, I would suggest installing cameras. When you have proof of them doing it, sue them for the repair costs.
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #11

    Apr 16, 2007, 05:01 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem
    The fact that the previous owners helped pay for the work done, creates an easement. In effect they relinquished those few inches to you (if the new survey is correct). If this came to court, you would stand a good chance of stopping them.
    While I hate to disagree with you, it might have created a permissive easement, which can be revoked by the person permitting it, can't it? In other words "sure, you can cut through my yard" becomes "you know, it's just not working, so stop."

    Rebecca
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #12

    Apr 16, 2007, 06:53 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by froggy7
    While I hate to disagree with you, it might have created a permissive easement, which can be revoked by the person permitting it, can't it? In other words "sure, you can cut through my yard" becomes "you know, it's just not working, so stop."

    Rebecca
    Not necessarily. The previous owners could have revoked it since they granted it. The new owners could revoke it IF they were aware of it at closing. But since they accepted the property with the wall in place, a court is more likely to grant the easement

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