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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    4

    Question Neighbors Fence and Concrete Patio Encroaches Over My Property Line

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    Hi Everyone,

    Before I start this, I'd like to preference everything by saying that I have had a professional come in and survey my property. I obtained what they call a boundary survey. I also got stake posts put in.

    Here is a picture of my side of the property VS my neighbors side of the property:



    Does anyone see an issue within the above picture?

    What's clear on my property side:

    1) You can see that I clearly have my block wall on MY side of the property.

    2) You can see that my fence is clearly on my side of the property, and that my fence stands in front of my block wall.

    The problem with my neighbors property:

    1) In the picture, you can see the light purple concrete area which is my neighbors concrete patio. You can see that my neighbor has added a concrete patio over my property line and all the way up to my block wall. They literally poured and made a nice concrete patio all the way up to my block wall. You can see the purple portion of the concrete patio passes my property line. The patio concrete encroaches onto my patio by a little over half a foot (0.5 feet).

    2) In the picture, you can see that they have attached their fence to my fence. In fact, they have a fence post all the way up to my block wall. My neighbors fence post is shown as RED in the picture. So they actually have fence boards that go across my block wall and attach to my fence and then to their fence post (in RED) that is right up against my block wall.

    3) They continue to put all kinds of objects on my block wall. Sometimes, the objects drop through the wall and slip between my fence and my block wall (this can be a broom handle or stick that they lay against my fence that protrudes between my fence and block wall.

    The distance between my fence and my property line is 1.5 feet.

    The distance between my block wall (closest to the property line) and my property line itself is 0.5 feet.

    ***Problem***:

    My first problem is that I feel encroached upon by my neighbor. Second, my fence is now 15 years old. I want to put up a new fence. However, my neighbor is on my property and has their fence attached to my fence. This is what prompted me to get a land survey just to make sure I know where my property line is.

    Because of this, I will need to request that my neighbor takes down their fence boards and remove their fence post from my side of the property. However, I am not sure what to do about their concrete patio?

    Also, because I have 0.5 feet of room between the my block wall and property line, I should be able to put up a fence post there. However, I can't because they have a concrete patio all the way up to my block wall that overhangs my property line by 0.5 feet.

    What I would like to do is put up my fence in the same place as I have it: put my fence back up in front of my block wall on my side of the property. And then, I'd like to put a second fence up on the other side of the block wall between my block wall and the property line. In other words, I'd like to sandwich my block wall with 2 fences. The reason I would do this is to keep my neighbor from encroaching back onto my property in the future when I am done redoing my original fence. And, this will also keep their stuff off my block wall. Again, still not sure what to do about their concrete patio that overhangs my property line by 0.5 feet? Almost tempted to get a professional to cut 4 inches off the concrete patio between my block wall and property line. Then I can run fence posts down the property line but on MY side of the property.

    Any thoughts, comments, or ideas? Anything wrong with my understanding of anything? Or perhaps their is something I should consider?

    Do I have a right to feel that my neighbor is encroaching on my property?

    Look forward to your responses!

    Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Neighbors Fence and Concrete Patio Encroaches Over My Property Line (With Picture

    It appears that the neighbor believes the line to be along the face of the wall. First of all, if you haven't done so already I would approach the neighbor and show him your plan. He likely made an honest mistake when building his patio. That does not mean you shouldn't enforce your rights however. Pointing out the mistake will give him a chance to fix it.

    You should not go in and cut his patio; at least not at first. He paid money to have that patio poured, and to install the red fence - he could sue you for damages. As I said, give him a chance to fix the problem himself.

    If he is not willing to remove the encroachment(s), it's decision time. Are you willing to let the patio remain as long as it does not ripen into an adverse possession claim? If so, send him a certified letter which he is to sign stating that you give him permission to have the current encroaching portion of his patio (and/or fence) on your land. Permissive use defeats adverse possession, so in the future if the neighbor sells you could fix the problem then with the new owner, or send a new letter granting permission.

    If you want the patio gone, then send a different certified letter explaining that you expect the encroachments to be removed within a reasonable time period (say 30 days). If they are not gone by then, you will remove them yourself.

    For each of these letters, it would probably be a good idea to consult a real estate attorney to help write them. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Neighbors Fence and Concrete Patio Encroaches Over My Property Line (With Picture

    Quote Quoting Newtons_Apple
    View Post
    It appears that the neighbor believes the line to be along the face of the wall. First of all, if you haven't done so already I would approach the neighbor and show him your plan. He likely made an honest mistake when building his patio. That does not mean you shouldn't enforce your rights however. Pointing out the mistake will give him a chance to fix it.

    You should not go in and cut his patio; at least not at first. He paid money to have that patio poured, and to install the red fence - he could sue you for damages. As I said, give him a chance to fix the problem himself.

    If he is not willing to remove the encroachment(s), it's decision time. Are you willing to let the patio remain as long as it does not ripen into an adverse possession claim? If so, send him a certified letter which he is to sign stating that you give him permission to have the current encroaching portion of his patio (and/or fence) on your land. Permissive use defeats adverse possession, so in the future if the neighbor sells you could fix the problem then with the new owner, or send a new letter granting permission.

    If you want the patio gone, then send a different certified letter explaining that you expect the encroachments to be removed within a reasonable time period (say 30 days). If they are not gone by then, you will remove them yourself.

    For each of these letters, it would probably be a good idea to consult a real estate attorney to help write them. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
    First, thank you for responding!

    You are right, I should approach my neighbor about this which is something I have yet to do. Right now I am just making sure I am doing everything right before I contact them. I am educating myself to make sure I am going about things correctly. This is done first by making sure I know where my own property line is. Having read through this forum (this is a great website by the way), the first suggestion is: get a land survey to know where property line is. I took that to heart and did just that! I've heard it over and over again. Did this before even deciding to post.

    In my mind, a property survey makes the issue more black and white: this side of the property is mine and this side of the property is theirs. We start first with that! So, I completely see why everyone suggests that as the first thing to do. And, I would agree it's one of the right things to first suggest to others.

    Yes, and I should give them a chance to fix the issue. And, I do want to give them a fair chance to fix the problem. I will give them some time to think about what they have done before acting at all. Maybe after I speak with them, it will be no big issue and they will immediately fix the problem. However, I also had to realize that I can't approach them on anything unless I first know I am correct. And I didn't know if I was correct until I knew where my own property line was. I'm sure I did many many many years ago! Though I sort of knew, I wasn't sure they were on my property until I got the survey done.

    And, I don't want to act to hastily on anything. From the human perspective, I am sure you understand my frustration. Let's take a small example ...

    If I parked my car in your driveway because I saw it was empty and had no where else to park, I am sure your first reaction is out of frustration: "How inconsiderate you are for parking in my driveway! How rude!". And, I would say the initial frustration is justified. Do you go and smash my car suddenly though? No. Just as I shouldn't go and rip out their portion of the patio. So yes, I would agree with you! Point well taken!

    However, that doesn't mean you don't have that sudden rush or feeling of WANTING to beat my car down for what I did...maybe...depending on the situation or your own personal situation. Why? Because I put you through the hassle now and you want my car out of your driveway immediately! However, maybe I am no where to be found! Now, you first have to find the owner of the vehicle before you can do anything about it. What a hassle right? Maybe you need to be somewhere, but now are stuck because someone parked in your driveway and feel that problem is important to resolve. Now you are pretty peeved ...maybe you have to be at work by now...who knows. Sort of a silly example but you get the point. Though I am expressing my frustration, I have not acted in a way to destroy any of their property. Anyway, continuing onwards ...

    However not to sound mean, but no, I don't think I want to let the patio remain. And why should I? They put themselves in the situation by having not first verified where there property line is before building. I shouldn't feel expected to accept something because it may be too difficult for them to remove. At least, I don't believe so. Because of this, now I can't put up a fence on the other side of my block wall because their concrete patio hinders me from doing this. And I feel they have pushed into my property. They are not giving me my fair space and because of this I feel encroached upon, and they are in my way.

    Neighbors who get pushed on by other neighbors shouldn't have to simply accept it if it's in violation. Nor do I think I should be made to feel like I'm the bad guy because I don't like the fact they built past my property line (not saying anyone here or otherwise is saying that I am a bad person for my stance or position).

    They should respect their property line just as I should respect my property line. I have been considerate with my property: I have never built onto their property. In fact, my own fence is far from my own property line. They should politely do the same. If followed, we both can be happy neighbors .

    Let us not forget those who suffer from those rules that are broken by others. For me, I've already gone through a few weeks now of dealing with the issue: having to get a property survey (first find the company), look into seeing if I am wrong in my understanding of things, ...etc. This is lost time for me and lost $ that could be spent on other things. And, I am also hindered from now doing what I should have been able to do in the first place on my property: build my own fence unhindered by my neighbor. Right?

    So though I do feel for them, they obviously didn't have much consideration for me in the first place. If they were worried about me, they would have gotten a survey to first ensure I wasn't disturbed. At this point, I won't truly know how they feel until I speak with them in terms of correcting the situation. So your point is very well taken: I need to talk with them. I won't know what they say until that has taken place. Again, right now, I just want to see if others understand my situation. And, I just wanted to see if others came up with anything else that I may be not thinking of.

    *** Questions ***:

    Seems like the next step for me is to now contact them. In saving money right now, what are the negatives of writing my own letter to them to explain the situation? I rather not spend the money for a real-estate attorney if it's not truly necessary. I rather involve a real estate attorney when that time comes and it seems appropriate. Keep it as simple as possible first, right? Can they use my letters against me in anyway? Is there anything I should NOT say within a written letter to them to keep myself out of trouble?

    I'd like to first kindly work it out with my neighbor if possible and see what they say. And, I would hope to maybe in the end be on good terms with my neighbor if at all possible and IF they are willing to correct the issue. As you said, maybe they made a mistake. At least I am now in a position where I can justify asking them since I know where they have erred. Fair enough?

    Again, want to thank you for having responded.

    Jason

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Neighbors Fence and Concrete Patio Encroaches Over My Property Line (With Picture

    I should steal a copy of your diagram because it represents my situation almost exactly. (My property looks like yours and my neighbor has the patio.) The only difference for me is that the wall, fence, and patio were all built by previous property owners on both sides. I always knew that the property line was on their side of the wall, but I didn't bring up the issue until the neighbors started a construction project that included some of my property.

    Then there were surveys, and at first they agreed to stop using my land. But then they must have talked to someone who suggested that they see a lawyer and they stopped co-operating. Eventually, they filed an adverse possession lawsuit against me, claiming that the property line should be moved to the fence line. They didn't win, but it ended up being an expensive proposition for both of us. And, of course, we are no longer on speaking terms.

    All this is a way of saying that this is an issue that you must address now, as you have begun to do.

    By all means, contact the neighbors and see what they have to say. From the initial conversation, you should be able to judge whether they want to help resolve the problem peacefully or whether they are going to turn hostile.

    Since the land that they are using is on "the other side" of your fence, I doubt that you can actually make much use of it. A peaceful resolution might be a lease agreement, whereby they agree to pay you some money for the use of your land. This would make sure that they can't come back later and claim that they own it. (You'd probably need an attorney to set up the lease, but if they are determined to be good neighbors, they should agree to pay the legal fees.)

    If they act like they had a right to do what they did, or if they blame you for their stupidity in building a patio on property that they didn't own, then you'll need to start sending the letters described by the previous poster.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Neighbors Fence and Concrete Patio Encroaches Over My Property Line (With Picture

    Quote Quoting DannyV
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    I should steal a copy of your diagram because it represents my situation almost exactly. (My property looks like yours and my neighbor has the patio.) The only difference for me is that the wall, fence, and patio were all built by previous property owners on both sides. I always knew that the property line was on their side of the wall, but I didn't bring up the issue until the neighbors started a construction project that included some of my property.
    Thank you Danny for taking the time to respond! Yes, your story sounds exactly like mine. My neighbors are also starting a construction project and pushing more and more into my property causing actual damage to my fence. They have already put up a light post in the corner of my property line which is preety close to my block wall. Because my fence is in front of the block wall, I have not determined if their light post is actually on my property just yet. The main issue, is this new patio that have constructed that goes over my property line.

    Quote Quoting DannyV
    View Post
    Then there were surveys, and at first they agreed to stop using my land. But then they must have talked to someone who suggested that they see a lawyer and they stopped co-operating. Eventually, they filed an adverse possession lawsuit against me, claiming that the property line should be moved to the fence line. They didn't win, but it ended up being an expensive proposition for both of us. And, of course, we are no longer on speaking terms.
    I'm glad they didn't win! I don't understand how the property line can just be moved to their property. For a row of houses that parallel the property line, one property line can be similar all the way along. You can't just move the property line without it often having other consequences with other neighbors. So your property line is your property line. My property line is my property line. Why can't some neighbors just respect the property line?

    Quote Quoting DannyV
    View Post
    All this is a way of saying that this is an issue that you must address now, as you have begun to do.

    By all means, contact the neighbors and see what they have to say. From the initial conversation, you should be able to judge whether they want to help resolve the problem peacefully or whether they are going to turn hostile.
    I have sent them a letter telling them exactly what of their property is crossing my property line. And guess what? They have not responded. So right now I am simply waiting to see what my neighbors will do ***so everyone bare with me***. I am trying to be patient. It's my property, but I have to wait for them to get their stuff off my own property. What is the world coming to? I am trying to do the right thing by giving them an opportunity to remove their stuff that crosses my property line.

    Quote Quoting DannyV
    View Post
    Since the land that they are using is on "the other side" of your fence, I doubt that you can actually make much use of it. A peaceful resolution might be a lease agreement, whereby they agree to pay you some money for the use of your land. This would make sure that they can't come back later and claim that they own it. (You'd probably need an attorney to set up the lease, but if they are determined to be good neighbors, they should agree to pay the legal fees.)
    No no no. I am not going to let them have a piece of my property. Why should I have to go and spend my time to draft a legal letter so they can use my property? Did I not buy my property? Is my property not mine? If I am going to spend any time, it's going to be to get them off my property.

    This is what happens to nice people: They put their fence 1 or 2 feet from their own property line (like I did), and then the neighbor comes in and encroaches over my property line. The truth is, they are using my fence as their own fence right now. I put my fence up a foot or two on the inside of my property so that I have a buffer between me and the neighbor. It wasn't meant for the neighbor to encroach past my property line for them to build stuff on my property. In the past, I used to just get on the block wall so I can still be on my property and fix my fence. Now, for this one section of my property, I can't do that.

    Because they are so very close up to my fence on a daily basis, I would like to have a buffer between them and my fence. And because it is my property, why can't I have that?

    Right now, my fence is about 15 years old, and I want to put up a new fence. But, they are encroaching on my property to where I can't fix my fence. Instead, now I have to wait for them to see if they will kindly move their stuff off my property.

    Quote Quoting DannyV
    View Post
    If they act like they had a right to do what they did, or if they blame you for their stupidity in building a patio on property that they didn't own, then you'll need to start sending the letters described by the previous poster.
    I agree with you Danny. I am now sending them letters. And right now, I am still waiting for them to respond to my last letter. They seem to be ignoring me right now.

    I honestly wish I didn't have to bother my neighbor. The problem is they are hindering me from getting done what I want to do: put up a new fence since my current one is old. However, I can't because their property is in my way of allowing me to construct my fence on my own property. So week after week, I am now waiting for them to do something. And week after week, I can't put up a fence on my own property. It's a bit frustrating . So my sincere apologies if I sound frustrated!

    *** Question ***:

    What seems to be a reasonable waiting period before I should feel free to remove their own property from my property? If they don't respond after I have sent them many letters, what period of time is reasonable before I start to remove their property that encroaches past my property line?

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