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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Question Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence."

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: New Jersey

    I recently removed a fence across the back of my lot that separates my lot from my neighbor behind me (both lots are 100' x 100'). About a month prior to the work being done, my Wife and I spoke with the wife of the couple that owns the adjacent property and told her that we would like to fence in our yard and asked about removing the existing chain link fence between our properties and if she had a preference for the type of fence we put up (she had no preference). The existing fence also had a gate to go between the properties and we asked if she would like to have a gate on the new fence which she advised us she did not want (and neither did we.) The existing fence was a chain link fence where all the posts and top rails were rusted and rotting. It was not in good shape. The husband of the neighboring couple actually approached me about 2 years prior about him taking it down and putting up a new fence, which I had no objections to, but he never did it for financial reasons.

    This past weekend I removed the old fence as the new one was being installed the following Wednesday (yesterday). When I got home Monday evening, the husband came over and gave me an earful about he had no idea this was going on and accused me of stealing his fence that he could call the Police if he wanted to. I explained to him that we discussed it with his wife a few weeks ago, which he replied that she know nothing of it when he asked her. I said we absolutely did discuss it with her and he just said it wouldn't be the first time she's lied to him. I also mentioned to him that he told me 2 years ago that he would be removing the fence, to which he replied, "What do you want me to do, pull money out of ass? Budgets are budgets." Moving along, he asked me to clean up the holes from the old posts a little better, which I did and he was satisfied with, and I covered them with road cones so nobody would trip in them. He seemed happy and I was relieved that a disaster had been avoided.

    On Wednesday morning the fencing installer arrived. I pulled out my survey from when I bought the house and we laid out the corners of where the fence should go so it would not go across any property lines. While doing this, I noticed that the property line on the survey is marked 1.3' (just over 15 1/2") from the back of my shed. I got my tape measure out and found that the hole from the old post was within my property. The survey also has a marking with an arrow pointing to the fence that says O/L, which I assume means the fence is Over the Line. The survey shows that the northern end of the fence is on his side and southern section of the fence is on my side. I thought to myself, "hmm, that guy made a big deal out of a crappy fence that ended up being on my property."

    As the fencing crew was finishing up, the neighbor came out again and gave them a hard time. The properties on both sides of his house have their yards fenced in. The way my fence laid out, there were gaps on both ends between my fence and neighbors fence and he went ballistic about it. The foreman got my wife to talk to him and she and the foreman explained to him that that is where the property line is and in order to build the fence to butt up against with his neighbors fences, I would have had to construct the fence outside of my property, which we could not do. He then went on again about how he was not notified about any of this (it's not my fault his wife doesn't talk to him) and that I stole his fence and didn't even replace it with what was there. He claims there was never a gap between the fences, which is an outright lie, as there always was a gap between our fence and the neighbors fences, and the chicken wire he used to seal up the southern gap is still laying in the tangled mess of weeds that is in the stone bed in the southern corner of his backyard. The survey even shows the gap. He then made the comment to my wife that, "your yard is all nice and cozy now and mine has holes and gaps in the fence." Keep in mind that of the fences on the three sides of his yard, not one dime was contributed by him. The fencing contractor was very nice and cut down two pieces of scrap fence that I could nail to the outside of the fence on the neighbors yard to close the gaps, but I am not going to attach them to the neighbors fences. If they fall off, I don't want to have to replace them or care for them.

    I don't think there will be any problems, but if this guy decides he wants to be a hard ass, do I have anything to worry about? The evidence on my side is that he told me he wanted to replace the fence prior, we received approval to tear down the old fence and replace it from his wife, the old fence was actually partly on my property and the new fence is entirely on my property and I did more than I had to to address is concern with the gaps. I didn't ask him to contribute any money for the fence that would separate our properties (and I don't think it would have be unreasonable if I had asked him to contribute).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    Someone else can give you a better answer....but two words come to my mind. CAMERA. PHOTOS.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    I'll have to take some, if worse comes to worst, I only cut down the old posts and pounded them in the ground with a sledgehammer, so I could dig them up to show that they lied within my property.

    I still have the old fence fabric and posts sitting in my scrap pile at work. So I could dump them on his front lawn and he can't say I "stole his fence" anymore, i merely modified it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    Take photos. As many as you can. Close up and wide-spread shots.

    You had to get a permit from the township to put that fence in, right? So maintain some extra copies of that permit and the paperwork. Or permission from a subdivision management?

    Do not leave the old fence on his lawn. In fact, move it to your garage or something, so it is not disposed of (a pain in the neck, I know). Consult with a local lawyer, find out what you should do with it. The local lawyer will know and can best advise you. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation.

    I stress...don't just toss it on his lawn. He's a neighbor, you want an amicable solution, not an "I'm retaliating" one....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    The permit was merely a zoning application stating I was erecting a 4' high fence. They didn't need any plans or anything to approve.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    314

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    Sounds like you have a bully as a neighbor. He's probably not very nice to his wife either. In addition to the photographs keep a log of conversations you had with him, his wife etc detailing what was said - just in case. And keep all receipts, documentation etc. Once this all blows over have as little as you can with someone like this.

    If there is any adage - sometimes in life you get lucky and get blessed with idiots like the one you have next door.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    the biggest problem:

    if was actually his fence, which everything you say shows it was, why did you even bother to take down his fence?

    since it is his fence, as the neighbor what he wants to do with his fence. Let him decide.

    for future reference: writing is really hard to dispute in court. Verbal agreements are nearly impossible, especially if the wife decides she wants to live in peace with her husband more than she is worried about your fence.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    I took it down because when we spoke to the wife she said to take it down, and I already knew that the husband wanted to take it down from what he told me 2 years ago.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Removed Fence Partly on My Property, Neighbor Accusing Me of "Stealing His Fence.

    Don't trust anyone, ok? Just from now on....I understand we have a verbal agreement, but I would like to get it in writing, as well....say something like "in case anyone asks, we both have it in writing....".

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