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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1

    Default Who is Responsible for the Cost of Removing a Boundary Wall Next to the Property Line

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

    My neighbor wants a concrete wall separating our yards removed and replaced with a new wooden fence. I am very fond of the wall but I agreed in the interest of neighborly harmony.

    Now he has told the contractor that he will not pay for any of the cost of removing the existing wall because it's entirely on my property. In other words he wants me to pay 100% of the cost of removing the existing wall. He has agreed to pay half of the cost of the new fence.

    I have no independent knowledge of the actual location of the property line. If he's correct then the wall is adjacent to the property line, with the support posts either touching the line or perhaps an inch away.

    I have not talked to him since I learned from the contractor of his refusal to pay. I am trying to understand what the law actually is before I talk to him. I have read California Code section 841 but I'm confused about whether the wall being completely on my property would matter.

    Additional facts, possibly relevant:
    • The wall was there before either of us bought our houses
    • His contractor says the wall is water damaged. It is not on the verge of falling apart, though.
    • The wall is beautiful on my side, ugly on his.
    • He doesn't want to just put a fence up on his side and leave the wall, since rats could nest between the fence and wall
    • He did not follow the official procedure laid out in Section 841. He brought me a proposal from a contractor, with no explicit cost-sharing . I (and the contractor) assumed we were going to split the cost.
    • No work has started yet.


    I totally understand why he wants the wall removed. I'm mostly upset that he wants me to pay the whole cost of doing so when it is at his behest and for his benefit.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,194

    Default Re: California: Cost of Wall Removal if Adjacent to Property Line

    If the wall is truly on your property then I would be tempted to rescind my agreement to taking down the wall if he expects you to pay for the whole thing plus half of the new fence. Let him build his own fence on his own property. Yes, I know that you sympathize the idea of not having a small gap between the wall and his fence, but he is not being reasonable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,163

    Default Re: California: Cost of Wall Removal if Adjacent to Property Line

    Quote Quoting Leonixiate
    View Post
    I have read California Code section 841 but I'm confused about whether the wall being completely on my property would matter..
    The CA good neighbor fence law does not say that the fence (or wall) needs to be exactly built on the boundary line. The fact that the wall is (or may be) entirely on your property still affords your neighbor the benefit of the wall.

    The statute defines adjoining property as:

    (c) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

    (1) “Landowner” means a private person or entity that lawfully holds any possessory interest in real property, and does not include a city, county, city and county, district, public corporation, or other political subdivision, public body, or public agency.

    (2) “Adjoining” means contiguous to or in contact with.
    So the statute, IMO, still applies. There is nothing in the statute that says the fence must be built on the boundary line exactly. The legislative intent of the statute also does not stipulate the fence must be exactly on the boundary line.

    Quote Quoting Leonixiate
    View Post
    The wall was there before either of us bought our houses..
    If the wall was built and assumed to be the boundary line of the properties for 5 years or more (in CA) by you, your neighbor, or your predecessors, then the doctrine of boundary by acquiescence (or boundary by agreement) may apply. Even if a true survey should show that the wall may be entirely on your property, the line could potentially be said to run down the center of the wall.

    I would tell your neighbor that if he wants the wooden fence, he shares the entire cost of removal and replacement. And get it in writing along with who maintains and repairs the fence before you find yourself having to sue your neighbor for trespass and the discretion of your property. Make it clear to him/her that with no agreement there will be no new fence.

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