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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    211

    Default Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    My question involves real estate located in the Commonwealth of: Virginia

    I asked a question about adverse possession a few years ago and got good advice here that I followed. Basically I decided it was not worth the cost to go after a 1' x 200" piece of property that I have been maintaining for 40 years. The property is due to a previous owner of a property bordering my land erecting a fence one foot inside his property line 40 years ago. No big deal really, we just maintained (cut grass, planted bushes, etc) for all that time and still do. Fast forward and the other property now has renter in it. They have four big dogs (pit bulls). The dogs will climb the fence and come into our yard whenever people are in it to "expand" their territorial claim. The dogs even have crossed our yard and went after a smaller dog on the other side of us today. Fortunately, no damage to life or property has happened yet.

    The first time it happened, I spoke to the neighbor and he was apologetic and then chained the dog that jumped the fence to a tree. The dog was able to break the chain and come across a second time and a third time. When I went to speak with the neighbor, he was not at home. The fourth time, I started calling the police. I have called the police 4 times in the past year.

    I plan to keep reporting incidents until I can force improvement of dog control on his part. However, I do not want to risk any injuries to my pets or family. Therefore, I am considering erecting a 6' privacy fence. Hence my question about adverse possession. If I erect the fence on the property line, it will be one foot away from the chain link fence. It will create a 1 foot wide area that will not be easy to maintain and create a nesting area for other creatures. Additionally, if his dogs climb the 42" fence, they may get lodged between the two fences and harm themselves. I really don't wish to do this. If I have the new fence erected right up against the old fence, would the neighbor have the right to tear it down later since it will legally be on his property? Can I do anything to prevent him from removing it other than claim adverse possession?

    Yes - I realize he should be erecting the fence since he has created the issue - but that isn't going to happen and I'm not going to wait until my grand child has stitches and broken bones before I take action. I would like to "convince" the owner to pay for the fence or a portion of it, but am not willing to wait.

    I would like to put the fence right up against the other and protect my right to keep it there.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,340

    Default Re: Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    Your neighbor/owner is not going to move the fence.
    Your neighbor/owner is not going to pay for your fence.
    Your neighbor/owner doesn't care what the tenant is doing.
    Your neighbor/renter doesn't give a crap about you, your family, your children or your pets and won't do a thing about keeping his dogs in check.

    That's the cold hard facts you have to face.

    The best thing you can do is call animal control and the police WHEN the dog is on your property so the dog can be impounded.

    Meantime, get yourself a firearm and be prepared to shoot an attacking dog if you have to.

    I love dogs and don't make that suggestion lightly but this doesn't end well unless you are prepared to protect yourself and your family.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,238

    Default Re: Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    Quote Quoting Guybrush
    View Post
    Can I do anything to prevent him from removing it other than claim adverse possession?
    If you erect the fence on his side of the formal property line you should anticipate that if the neighbor has a problem with it you'll be forced to remove it unless you can convince the court that it is really now your property due to adverse possession.

    I suggest you consult a lawyer before building that fence to see (1) how strong an adverse possession claim you have and (2) if there would be any problems for you if you built the fence just inside your property. Frankly if the space between the two fences is his property and it because a mess as a result that should be his problem since it's his property. He can fix that by simply moving his fence back to the property line.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    Quote Quoting Guybrush
    View Post
    My question involves real estate located in the Commonwealth of: Virginia

    I asked a question about adverse possession a few years ago and got good advice here that I followed. Basically I decided it was not worth the cost to go after a 1' x 200" piece of property that I have been maintaining for 40 years. The property is due to a previous owner of a property bordering my land erecting a fence one foot inside his property line 40 years ago. No big deal really, we just maintained (cut grass, planted bushes, etc) for all that time and still do. Fast forward and the other property now has renter in it. They have four big dogs (pit bulls). The dogs will climb the fence and come into our yard whenever people are in it to "expand" their territorial claim. The dogs even have crossed our yard and went after a smaller dog on the other side of us today. Fortunately, no damage to life or property has happened yet.

    The first time it happened, I spoke to the neighbor and he was apologetic and then chained the dog that jumped the fence to a tree. The dog was able to break the chain and come across a second time and a third time. When I went to speak with the neighbor, he was not at home. The fourth time, I started calling the police. I have called the police 4 times in the past year.

    I plan to keep reporting incidents until I can force improvement of dog control on his part. However, I do not want to risk any injuries to my pets or family. Therefore, I am considering erecting a 6' privacy fence. Hence my question about adverse possession. If I erect the fence on the property line, it will be one foot away from the chain link fence. It will create a 1 foot wide area that will not be easy to maintain and create a nesting area for other creatures. Additionally, if his dogs climb the 42" fence, they may get lodged between the two fences and harm themselves. I really don't wish to do this. If I have the new fence erected right up against the old fence, would the neighbor have the right to tear it down later since it will legally be on his property? Can I do anything to prevent him from removing it other than claim adverse possession?

    Yes - I realize he should be erecting the fence since he has created the issue - but that isn't going to happen and I'm not going to wait until my grand child has stitches and broken bones before I take action. I would like to "convince" the owner to pay for the fence or a portion of it, but am not willing to wait.

    I would like to put the fence right up against the other and protect my right to keep it there.
    The first thing you should is check with your jurisdiction's zoning ordnances or your local building department about the placement of boundary fences between adjacent properties. Many have ordinances that will tell you if you can build a fence on the property line or within the property line. Some say that it must be built within the property line to allow for maintenance of the fence from the outside. You will likely need a permit to build the fence so you will need a survey (showing where you property line is and where the fence will be erected).

    As a practical matter, you have an absentee owner neighbor. I doubt they will care if you erect a fence within that one foot of property or you erect the fence on your property line.

    If it were me, I would erect the fence on my property (at the property line if zoning allows) and not worry about what happens to the land between the fences.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Your neighbor/owner is not going to move the fence. <- We know that, nor do we think that would help anything
    Your neighbor/owner is not going to pay for your fence. <- We believe that as well, but you never know. Nonetheless, we're not asking that.
    Your neighbor/owner doesn't care what the tenant is doing. <- We think that is the case too, but do not know.
    Your neighbor/renter doesn't give a crap about you, your family, your children or your pets and won't do a thing about keeping his dogs in check. <- We believe that to be the case as well, but do not know that.

    That's the cold hard facts you have to face. <- Yes, I agree, but confused about stating the obvious.

    The best thing you can do is call animal control and the police WHEN the dog is on your property so the dog can be impounded. <- We're doing that as stated in my post.

    Meantime, get yourself a firearm and be prepared to shoot an attacking dog if you have to. <- Not a firearms person. You may be right, but I'm not having my son wear a gun while he's shooting basketball or me when mowing the grass. Therefore a firearm is useless.

    I love dogs and don't make that suggestion lightly but this doesn't end well unless you are prepared to protect yourself and your family.
    No where did this reply address my questions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    671

    Default Re: Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    Is the owner/landlord aware there are pitbulls? Is his homeowner's insurance aware?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    401

    Default Re: Building a Fence on Neighbor's Property

    You may not have liked AJ's advice but it is legally correct and practical.

    I wouldn't put up your own fence just yet. As you pointed out, if you put it up against the existing fence the property owner may make you move it. Since the dogs can climb the chain-link fence they may use that fence as a stepping stone to get over your privacy fence whether the fences are immediately adjacent to each other or a foot apart. Also the dogs could climb the fence and exit the neighbor's back yard somewhere other than where you've got your fence.

    I would approach the neighbor nicely and offer the solution of running a hot wire for livestock along the top of the fence. There are insulators designed specifically to clamp onto chain link fences and hold the wire a few inches to the inside of it. A doggie nose or paw encountering that will get a sharp sting and discourage climbing or jumping the fence, but the animal won't be injured, and it will learn to respect the fence. It can be installed in a few hours with no tools and without altering or damaging the fence, and it can be removed just as easily when the tenant moves.

    If you get pushback from the neighbor then I'd look on the county's or city's web site for tax assessment records to find the property owner, then send him a letter stating he has a problem tenant.

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