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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Proprty Lines

    I have lived in my house for 40 years. The house was built in 1936. When I bought it, there is a 30 ft long block fence between properties at the backyard. It is connected to the back of my house and stops here. It does not go all the way parallel to my house. On this side of the house then, there is no fence. It has been open with plants and bushes on my side of the property and, just near it, on the neighbor's side is a walkway that leads to the house at the back near the alley.

    Lately, this house next door was bought and the new owner turned it as a rental. This house is located at the back of the lot along the alley. So, the front of the house is a 60 ft open yard without any plants or fixtures.

    The renters often use it as a baseball field and for party gatherings. And now this side of my house without any fence is vulnerable to any damage. To protect the house I plan to build a six foot fence, and so I got it surveyed. The surveyed property line is off 2 inches of the backyard block fence. A part of the block fence lies 2 inches on my neighbor's property according to the surveyed property line.

    If I build this new fence inside my surveyed property line, it will be obvious that the backyard block fence straddles the property line with 2 inches on the neighbor's property. What to do? What is my recourse?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Proprty Lines

    You didn't give us your state. Different states have different statutes on, for example, what is a boundary fence, who is responsible for it's maintenance, and the laws for adverse possession and prescriptive easements. All of which could impact what you could legally do and what your recourse might be.

    Since the wall saddles the true boundary (some on each side of the property line) it may well be defined as a boundary fence and it would be owned by you and your neighbor. On the other hand, if it were not built to be a boundary fence and it has been there for 40 years, you may have a legal claim to those two inches through adverse possession.

    But since we are talking about 2 inches, what does it matter if the new fence makes the block wall appear to be 2 inches on your neighbor's property?

    Just build your new fence just inside your property line because any alternative is going to cost you lots of money to litigate an outcome. You will have to follow your local zoning law as to where the fence can be located with respect to the property line. Sometimes it has to be a certain distance inside the line.

    And just so you understand, the wall has been there at least 40 years and your neighbor or his predecessors have not made an issue as to any encroachment of the wall on their property. Best to let sleeping dogs lie.

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