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    Default Can a County Agency Order You to Do Something That Would Conflict with State Law

    Here is my situation. I am in CA. CA state law california civil code 841 is very clear as to joining landowners paid equally in repair and replacement of the fence. Here is the text

    "(a) Adjoining landowners shall share equally in the responsibility for maintaining the boundaries and monuments between them.

    (b) (1) Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties in a written agreement, shall be presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence."

    My neighbor has refused to paid anything or do anything regarding the fence. And there is also a county ordinance that said you cannot have a dilapidated fence and at this point the county is involved. Of course I explained the situation to the county saying I tried contacting my neighbor, I got estimates, my neighbor ignored my attempts to contact he, he also stated to the home owners association that he will not paid anything, and I told the county about the CA civil code 841 and they said "they have nothing to do with the California Civil Code'.

    At this point the county have issue both my neighbor and myself a letter saying we are in violation. The next step for the county if the fence is not repair/replaced is to get a hearing to determined if I am in violation but I will be charge for the hearing.

    Given that my neighbor is refusing to doing do anything and pay anything. My thinking is that the county can not order me to repair/replace the fence by myself (100%) because the order will conflict with CA code 841, "adjoining landowners equally responsible for the reasonable costs". A county can not enforce a county regulations by means that would conflict with a state law, right? Of course the county would argue that it is not ordering me to repair/replace the fence 100% by myself. But if my neighbor refused to do do anything how else am I to replace/replace the fence other then by (100%) myself. What do you folks think. Is this a valid defense. Also need help in rephrasing this legal theory (make read a look more professional). Most likely I have to response to the county in writing.

    Also I know what some of you folks will say. Take my neighbor to small claim court. But I think my neighbor will just not answer the door to get serve and when they lose in small claim they will just not paid.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,147

    Default Re: Can a County Agency Order You to Do Some Thing That Would Conflict with State Law

    Quote Quoting xmogal
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    My thinking is that the county can not order me to repair/replace the fence by myself (100%) because the order will conflict with CA code 841, "adjoining landowners equally responsible for the reasonable costs". A county can not enforce a county regulations by means that would conflict with a state law, right?
    Not in this instance. That statute simply sets out the default responsibility as between the two land owners. It does not bind anyone else. What it does is give you a claim against the neighbor if he/she does not pay his/her share. The county can make either one of you or both of you repair the fence. If you end up having to pay more than share, your recourse is to sue the neighbor for the excess he owes you by virtue of the statute.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,744

    Default Re: Can a County Agency Order You to Do Some Thing That Would Conflict with State Law

    Quote Quoting xmogal
    View Post

    Given that my neighbor is refusing to doing do anything and pay anything. My thinking is that the county can not order me to repair/replace the fence by myself (100%) because the order will conflict with CA code 841, "adjoining landowners equally responsible for the reasonable costs". A county can not enforce a county regulations by means that would conflict with a state law, right? Of course the county would argue that it is not ordering me to repair/replace the fence 100% by myself. But if my neighbor refused to do do anything how else am I to replace/replace the fence other then by (100%) myself. What do you folks think. Is this a valid defense. Also need help in rephrasing this legal theory (make read a look more professional). Most likely I have to response to the county in writing.

    Also I know what some of you folks will say. Take my neighbor to small claim court. But I think my neighbor will just not answer the door to get serve and when they lose in small claim they will just not paid.
    The county cannot MAKE you do anything. What the county is likely to do at some point is start fining both of you for the violation. As the fines grow, the county will institute collection efforts. The county doesn't have to sue and the debt follows you forever.

    The HOA may also get on your backs as well and end up filing liens against your property.

    It's unfortunate that you have such an ahole neighbor but it seems like the better part of valor is to pay for the fence and then sue your neighbor for half the cost.

    If you end up with a default judgment, you can go after his pay and his bank accounts or just have the judgment lien on his property until he has to address it.

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