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  1. #1

    Default Neighbors Claim that the Property Line is Different From the Fence Line

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

    The neighbors behind us recently purchased a land survey. They are telling me that my backyard (with is currently in a rectangle) is half theirs (cutting my rectangle into a triangle - very weird layout). The old fence is still in place but the neighbors want to replace it. If they want to follow the new property line do I have to let them? I purchased the house with the understanding that it was all my yard, and they purchased their house with the understanding that their yard was their yard, so I don't want to just hand it over. What should I do?

    Extra Facts
    - I purchased my home in January 2014
    - The neighbor purchased her home in April 2014
    - The land survey was done Sept 2nd 2014
    - The neighbors yard is currently un-fenced.
    - My yard is completely fenced and appears to be 10-20 years old.
    - The back part of the fence seems to belong to them because the panels are facing into my yard (perhaps they used to have a fence but tore down the sides and left the back side up
    - The sides of my fences are mine and connect to the back of the fence.
    - We originally agreed to split the cost of replacing the back portion of the fence with them. (I obviously wont want to split that cost if i have to give up half of my yard)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    672

    Default Re: Property Line Dispute

    When you bought your house, what made you think that your yard was different than what the new survey says? Does your survey differ? I'm sure someone will come along with actual knowledge, but I've learned that fences don't always mean much other than that there is a fence. Are you able to contact the former owners of the property? They might be able to shed some light on this for you. Have you checked the GIS mapping? While not accurate for any real legal purpose, they can show approximate boundary lines, in your case at least the shape might be shown. Here I could go to the Register of Deeds, and find previous surveys of my property, perhaps something like that is available to you. I own two pieces of property, both of which are triangular, and there are several more like that in the area, so the "weird layout" probably isn't much help. When was your house built? The neighbors? Once you find out the relevant facts, there may be things you can do to try to keep what you feel is your property, but you will need at least a Real Estate Attorney to go farther. And money to spend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Neighbors Claim that the Property Line is Different From the Fence Line

    The first issue is whether or not their survey is correct. If it is not, then the property lines lie elsewhere (although not necessarily where the fence is situated). If it is, then the boundary line is different than you thought.

    If the boundary line is different than you thought, Kansas allows you to proceed to try to gain title under theories of acquiescence and adverse possession.
    Quote Quoting Moore v. Bayless, 215 Kan. 297, 524 P.2d 721 (1974).
    In a long line of cases this court has recognized the principle that where parties by mutual agreement fix a boundary line between their properties, acquiesce in the line so fixed and thereafter occupy their properties according to the line agreed upon, it must be considered as the true boundary line between them and will be binding upon the parties and their grantees. The line becomes the true dividing line between the lands in question by virtue of such an agreement, even though a subsequent survey should establish a different boundary line.... Another established principle related to the issue is that the establishment of a boundary line by a survey, whether official or otherwise, does not determine the title to the land under controversy....

    We have not overlooked the general rule that ordinarily the boundary line between adjacent properties is to be determined by reference to the deeds and descriptions of the properties therein. However, as pointed out in Fritzler v. Dumler, 209 Kan. 16, 495 P.2d 1027, there are exceptions to the general rule and one which is firmly established is where a boundary has been established by agreement, either express or implied, and thereafter acquiesced in by the parties. In Fritzler plaintiffs sought to establish a boundary by agreement, express or implied, as opposed to a line claimed by the defendants which was established by a legal survey.
    Quote Quoting K.S.A. Sec. 60-503. Adverse possession.
    No action shall be maintained against any person for the recovery of real property who has been in open, exclusive and continuous possession of such real property, either under a claim knowingly adverse or under a belief of ownership, for a period of fifteen (15) years. This section shall not apply to any action commenced within one (1) year after the effective date of this act.
    Either way, or under any other legal theory your lawyer might identify, you won't establish your legal right to the fence line without a court order. So if you want to establish the fence line as a boundary line, I suggest consulting a real estate lawyer about your case, the evidence, and the likely cost of litigation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,255

    Default Re: Neighbors Claim that the Property Line is Different From the Fence Line

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    The first issue is whether or not their survey is correct. If it is not, then the property lines lie elsewhere (although not necessarily where the fence is situated). If it is, then the boundary line is different than you thought.

    If the boundary line is different than you thought, Kansas allows you to proceed to try to gain title under theories of acquiescence and adverse possession.


    Either way, or under any other legal theory your lawyer might identify, you won't establish your legal right to the fence line without a court order. So if you want to establish the fence line as a boundary line, I suggest consulting a real estate lawyer about your case, the evidence, and the likely cost of litigation.
    I would also get a survey of your own done.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    El Dorado County, CA
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    395

    Default Re: Neighbors Claim that the Property Line is Different From the Fence Line

    Since the survey commissioned by the neighbor is so much different than the fence locations, when you look for a surveyor, make sure that you find one who has a lot of experience in boundary work. Many surveyors are poorly trained in this aspct of surveying and mearely lay out the dimensions cited in their client's deed rather than gathering and giving due consideration to the much wider set of available evidence that may be relevant to the matter.

    Boundary surveying, especially in areas with boundaries long established on the ground is far more than an exercise in reading deed dimensions and making measurements to place those dimensions on the ground. Some surveyors do not inderstand that it is also their job to compare their client's deed to earlier deeds of the same parcel, to the deeds of adjacent parcels, to the deeds of parcels from which their client's may have been, the results of any previous surveys in the area, establishment of lines by previous landowners that may indicate reasonable reliance on older surveys or may indicate agreements as to boundary locations, analysis of conflicts between relevant evidence including most likely source or origin of the conflict(s). And most importantly, it is the surveyor's job, and really his only authority, to identify where the lines were originally established on the ground according to a proper analysis of all of the available evidence and as most supportable by the best evidence among that which is available. Unfortunately, for many surveyors, that explanation goes right over their head, and some others prefer to cut corners in order to provide a cheaper fee estimate. Find one who completely understands these duties, does not cut corners, and who has some familiarity with your community.

    Whether or not you like the final outcome of what he or she finds, ensure at the time you hire, that you hire someone who will be able to fully explain their findings so that you can at least have confidence that they were thorough.

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