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).