My question involves real estate located in the State of: Georgia
I have recently come to believe that our neighbor is encroaching on our property. Here are the facts:
Our property was vacant and in disrepair for many years. We purchased a gutted house and rebuilt it and are now living there. Around the same time, the house next door (which was also in severe disrepair) was rebuilt by a builder and sold to our new neighbor. We have each owned our houses for about a year and a half. We did not do a survey at the time we bought our house (I know, I know ) and I don't believe that our neighbor did either.
Our house has a large lot and has a chain-link fence around most of the property, including in-between the side yards of the two houses. We are planning to extend a side porch and also build a more attractive border fence between the properties. After looking at new ESRI maps on our county web site, It seems pretty clear that the fence is about 4' inside our property line and that his driveway crosses our line (and his patio about touches the boundary). He has also planted trees within our property line (on his side of our fence).
I am aware that those maps may or may not be accurate, and I intend to get a survey done, but before I do that I want to understand how adverse possession works. If our neighbor has only owned his house for 1.5 years, and he bought that from a builder who maybe owned it for a year, how does the timeline work? If the previous owner who lived in his house (and lost it in foreclosure) had been there for 20+ years, and the people who we bought our house from lived with that fence in place for many many years, does that mean that the new owner could possible claim adverse possession? I don't want to stir the pot if there is some chance that it might be damaging for our property value.
I would appreciate any wisdom shared.