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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Fence Boundary Dispute In Washington

    Our neighbor's lot ends with a blacktop edge. When we built our fence 15 years ago, we set it in 3 feet, so we could plant flowers and plants on our neighbor's side for her enjoyment. We maintained it through our gate up until 5 years ago, when our neighbor secured the gate and closed it off to us. She also planted tall plants (bamboo, lilac, etc.) on the strip on her side of the fence.

    We recently removed our fence and got a survey done. The survey actually shows that the boundary should be another 5 feet inside our neighbor's lot (which would go through her well house and 2 sheds that have been built over the past 20 years.

    We have no desire to take that 5 feet back, but want to install a fence abutting the blacktop where the boundary line had been established prior to our fence installation.

    It gives us more room to walk next to our house, and gets rid of the tall bamboo and lilac plants that she had planted which shade fruit trees that are next to our house. She had also built structures with large bamboo screens that shaded our kiwi vines. We removed those plants and the structures already.

    We are ready to install the fence, but our neighbor, who is quite litigious (she's sued various people and organizations a lot in the past), went to the county and has told us she has a pro bono lawyer ready to support her case, because she needs access to park her car and open her door without a fence being in the way. Previously, she never parked her car where the plants were located (in the same place where we plan on installing our fence). But now she is parking her car right up against the strip that we have cleared of her plants and made ready for the fence. (We dug up her tall plants and gave them to her already, with her approval).

    Now she says she will sue us if we put in a fence against her blacktop and infringe on her door opening. (She is on disability as part of her claims against a previous operation that she claimed damaged her hearing and gave her migraines), so she has probably received support from a disability office).

    Apologies for the long intro: my question is, if we were to install the fence next to the blacktop, what must she do to force us to go to court?

    Does she need to do her own survey? (she wouldn't be able to pay for that out of her pocket, and I doubt if the disability place would pay for it).

    Alternatively, could she sue us for "adverse possession", claiming that the fence was there for more than 10 years (which is adverse possession in WA, I believe), even though the gate was there and we used it for maintaining the strip on her side up until 5 years ago?

    We would prefer not to go to court, but to just build the fence and forget about it. If she is able to sue us, we would have to pay money for a lawyer, and we've already had to pay plenty for a lawyer in the beginning for consultation, and for the survey.

    Thanks -

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fence Boundary Dispute In WA

    There is nothing that will keep her from suing you but I doubt that anyone is going to be stupid enough to take it pro bono. She has no claim to adverse possession of the strip that you maintained. She might have one for the part where the shed encroaches. There is nothing to say that you have to place a fence on the line. If you want to put up the fence, put it up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,006

    Default Re: Fence Boundary Dispute In WA

    What are the building codes where you live? When you applied for your building permit (for the fence) was it approved? (if its required). You will not be granted a permit and local building code will be enforced. If you have a copy of your land survey, and your legal, put up the fence.

    She is probably threatening to sue you in order to keep the fence from going up. Pro bono? On a case that the end result will be a removal of a fence? Doesn't sound likely to me at all. Worry about that bridge when you come to it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Fence Boundary Dispute In WA

    Thanks for both of your replies. I don't believe a permit is required where I live to build a fence, but I'll check for sure. This is an amazing site that I just found, joined and received replies in such a short time. I'm very appreciative.

    Thanx!

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