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      06-05-2022, 10:21 AM   #1
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Border Fence Question - Legal

Seven years ago, I put a 50 foot border fence between my (then) neighbor and my yard. Mainly due to his dog barking all the time. It worked. The dog could not see things to bark at and it stopped. I built the fence off property markers that had been in the ground since 1974.

Three years ago, they sold the house and I now have a new neighbor. He had his property surveyed last fall and they moved the stakes, in some places more than a foot toward my property. Now I have a portion of my fence on his side.

Yesterday he told me he's having a fence put in soon and wants me to move my fence. Is that legal ? I'm going to ask the town, but i'm pretty pissed about it.


A little background on these beauties I have for neighbors.
First it was just him, recently divorced, one kid. Then he met his new wife. Another divorcee who (supposedly) was abused by her husband and children. She has not seen any of her adult children and grandchildren for 15 years. He met her, moved her in and married her within 8 months of buying the house. In the Fall of 2020 he comes over and tells me he has disowned his own 18yr old son. Said the last 3 yrs of his marriage his ex and son were trying to get him to commit suicide. The final straw was his son asking him to put gas in his truck as he borrowed it for the whole day. What a guy.....
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      06-05-2022, 10:26 AM   #2
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I'm sorry to hear you have a troublesome (and troubled) neighbour.
That old adage of "good fences make for good neighbours" rings so true, eh?

My understanding is that the survey lines should show the property demarcation lines. You may have to get your own survey done to confirm where his property ends and yours begins.
That's what I would do... and then from there, figure out the next steps...
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      06-05-2022, 10:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packet View Post
I'm sorry to hear you have a troublesome (and troubled) neighbour.
That old adage of "good fences make for good neighbours" rings so true, eh?

My understanding is that the survey lines should show the property demarcation lines. You may have to get your own survey done to confirm where his property ends and yours begins.
That's what I would do... and then from there, figure out the next steps...
I already reached out to a Surveyor who told me it would be a waste of my money. The surveyor he hired gave me a copy of the report last Fall and the guy I contacted looked at it and said he would probably come up with the same thing.

My question is if I built my fence based off markers 40+ years strong and the old neighbors did not dispute it, why should I have to move it now ? The old markers are still there. They put new ones in but that moved the line toward my house by over a foot in some areas.

He's really just being an ass because after he disowned his son. Who was a great kid, i want nothing to do with them.


I guess the only way I will know for sure is to ask the Town.
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      06-05-2022, 11:01 AM   #4
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No room for him to just use your existing fence and save money on his side for that run? Seems petty to move it a foot when he would just use the existing.
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      06-05-2022, 11:26 AM   #5
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Does your entire 50 foot run of fence border his property? if it does, and he's putting in a new fence, then in theory you could just remove yours and his new fence will serve both of you, right?

I think it's worth getting your own survey. I would recommend someone other than the guy you asked who sounds lazy. Did the neighbor's survey crew actually find the property pins/medallions or did he just go off measurements? Errors happen, especially when you are getting down to inches here or there. Maybe call the city and ask them who they use (they likely outsource).

If your fence is truly on his property and those markers from the 70s were off, then you only have 2 options: Appeal to his sensibility, or move your fence.
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      06-05-2022, 11:36 AM   #6
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You erected a structure on another's property without doing the property due diligence (survey) in the first place. Your prior neighbors were ambivalent or ignorant of the intrusion and you now think that justifies your initial mistake.
The irony is you attempt to impinge the character of your new neighbors when in reality they did the correct thing utilizing a current survey and letting you know there is a dispute.
You made a mistake. Just own it.
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      06-05-2022, 11:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerkHealer View Post
I already reached out to a Surveyor who told me it would be a waste of my money. The surveyor he hired gave me a copy of the report last Fall and the guy I contacted looked at it and said he would probably come up with the same thing.

My question is if I built my fence based off markers 40+ years strong and the old neighbors did not dispute it, why should I have to move it now ? The old markers are still there. They put new ones in but that moved the line toward my house by over a foot in some areas.

He's really just being an ass because after he disowned his son. Who was a great kid, i want nothing to do with them.


I guess the only way I will know for sure is to ask the Town.

Markers can be wrong, and they don't convey some sort of property right to you just because no one said anything before. Get your own survey done and if it isn't on your land, then he has every right in the world to tell you to take it down. You should have done this work before you put up the fence.
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      06-05-2022, 12:05 PM   #8
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Find the original surveyor firm, have them do a survey and see what they come up this time.
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      06-05-2022, 12:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DETRoadster View Post
Does your entire 50 foot run of fence border his property? if it does, and he's putting in a new fence, then in theory you could just remove yours and his new fence will serve both of you, right?

I think it's worth getting your own survey. I would recommend someone other than the guy you asked who sounds lazy. Did the neighbor's survey crew actually find the property pins/medallions or did he just go off measurements? Errors happen, especially when you are getting down to inches here or there. Maybe call the city and ask them who they use (they likely outsource).

If your fence is truly on his property and those markers from the 70s were off, then you only have 2 options: Appeal to his sensibility, or move your fence.
No, 75% of the fence is definitely on my property based on the new survey. There are about 3 panels that are now on his side at the beginning of the fence line. The remaining is clearly on my side via the stakes.

I will probably just move it and be done with it.
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      06-05-2022, 01:12 PM   #10
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Does the survey show places where they *lost* some property? Seems convenient that their survey only shows that you've encroached, but, who knows for sure?

Ya, I'd get my own survey, can't just rely on one side.

Are you guys trying to recreate the show Outer Range irl? LOL.
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      06-05-2022, 01:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
Does the survey show places where they *lost* some property? Seems convenient that their survey only shows that you've encroached, but, who knows for sure?

Ya, I'd get my own survey, can't just rely on one side.

Are you guys trying to recreate the show Outer Range irl? LOL.
The guy I contacted last Fall about my property survey told me it was going to be VERY expensive to have one done. I just reached out to another company and they estimated $500-$600. Not sure what that other guy considers "expensive", but that sure isnt to me.

I also found it odd that they moved the markers toward me. One of the women surveyors told me its because things move in the ground over time. Maybe, but seems fishy to me. The one pin they moved the most (about 15 inches) is what put 3 panels of my fence on his side.

In short, i'm defintely getting my own survey now that I know its not several thousands of dollars to have one done!
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      06-05-2022, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
Are you guys trying to recreate the show Outer Range irl? LOL.
Not to keep bashing this guy, but he's a real winner. When he first moved in he started Demolition on his upstairs bedroom. Ripping down walls and hammering at 0445 am, snowblowing at 0330 am, etc.

We have waterfront property so our lots are quite small. 50 feet wide.
Myself and other neighbors had to have a chat with him to inform what is unacceptable. You would think someone in mid 60's might know better.
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      06-05-2022, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerkHealer View Post
The guy I contacted last Fall about my property survey told me it was going to be VERY expensive to have one done. I just reached out to another company and they estimated $500-$600. Not sure what that other guy considers "expensive", but that sure isnt to me.

I also found it odd that they moved the markers toward me. One of the women surveyors told me its because things move in the ground over time. Maybe, but seems fishy to me. The one pin they moved the most (about 15 inches) is what put 3 panels of my fence on his side.

In short, i'm defintely getting my own survey now that I know its not several thousands of dollars to have one done!
15"?? Wow, that is petty. Ya, definitely get your own survey. Something's not right, and, anyway, for peace of mind.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HerkHealer View Post
Not to keep bashing this guy, but he's a real winner. When he first moved in he started Demolition on his upstairs bedroom. Ripping down walls and hammering at 0445 am, snowblowing at 0330 am, etc.

We have waterfront property so our lots are quite small. 50 feet wide.
Myself and other neighbors had to have a chat with him to inform what is unacceptable. You would think someone in mid 60's might know better.
Ya, sounds like a real 'winner'. Horrible.
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      06-05-2022, 02:30 PM   #14
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A couple of years ago I had to get a new fence. My neighbor got a surveyor who said the old fence was 1ft on her property and she wanted to have the new fence placed accordingly.

I argued that the old fence had been in place more than 30 years and that length of time made it the current property line. She took me to court and the judge agreed with me.
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      06-05-2022, 04:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban View Post
A couple of years ago I had to get a new fence. My neighbor got a surveyor who said the old fence was 1ft on her property and she wanted to have the new fence placed accordingly.

I argued that the old fence had been in place more than 30 years and that length of time made it the current property line. She took me to court and the judge agreed with me.
That is true, your fence made you a squatter and the owner made no rebuttal to you squatting so it's your land.

OP when you bought your house the bank typically requires a land survey was that completed ? The issue is roads change shape and size and stakes get removed over the years... This all is a giant hassle where two neighbors should hash try to hash it before it becomes a litigation nightmare.
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      06-05-2022, 04:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-technik-3 View Post
That is true, your fence made you a squatter and the owner made no rebuttal to you squatting so it's your land.

OP when you bought your house the bank typically requires a land survey was that completed ? The issue is roads change shape and size and stakes get removed over the years... This all is a giant hassle where two neighbors should hash try to hash it before it becomes a litigation nightmare.
I bought the home in 2012. There was no survey required. I went through USAA for the mortgage, but then refinanced in 2020 and went through PenFed for financing. They also did not require a survey.

For clarity, i'm only disputing ONE stake that his surveyor moved on our property line out of 4. Three of them had movements of maybe 2 or 3 inches, but the one that effects the front of my fence is 15+ inches moved toward me.

I'm getting a survey done to dispute it and hopefully that will solve this.
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      06-05-2022, 04:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-technik-3 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban View Post
A couple of years ago I had to get a new fence. My neighbor got a surveyor who said the old fence was 1ft on her property and she wanted to have the new fence placed accordingly.

I argued that the old fence had been in place more than 30 years and that length of time made it the current property line. She took me to court and the judge agreed with me.
That is true, your fence made you a squatter and the owner made no rebuttal to you squatting so it's your land.
Not how it works, but sure.
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      06-05-2022, 04:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerkHealer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-technik-3 View Post
That is true, your fence made you a squatter and the owner made no rebuttal to you squatting so it's your land.

OP when you bought your house the bank typically requires a land survey was that completed ? The issue is roads change shape and size and stakes get removed over the years... This all is a giant hassle where two neighbors should hash try to hash it before it becomes a litigation nightmare.
I bought the home in 2012. There was no survey required. I went through USAA for the mortgage, but then refinanced in 2020 and went through PenFed for financing. They also did not require a survey.

For clarity, i'm only disputing ONE stake that his surveyor moved on our property line out of 4. Three of them had movements of maybe 2 or 3 inches, but the one that effects the front of my fence is 15+ inches moved toward me.

I'm getting a survey done to dispute it and hopefully that will solve this.
No survey when I bought my home either.
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      06-05-2022, 04:57 PM   #19
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Soon after we moved into my current house, the neighbour on one side rebuilt our fence for us. He measured up and moved it a good 6" onto his property. Pretty solid!

Good luck OP. I'd be looking at properties elsewhere. Neighbour sounds unhinged.
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      06-05-2022, 05:21 PM   #20
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Soon after we moved into my current house, the neighbour on one side rebuilt our fence for us. He measured up and moved it a good 6" onto his property. Pretty solid!

Good luck OP. I'd be looking at properties elsewhere. Neighbour sounds unhinged.
Already in works buddy! I just did a $75k addition and need to finish it up. With the market as it is, I will make ridiculous amounts of profit off this home. I plan to not even buy another home until mortgage rates stabilize. Just going to store my crap and travel the world for awhile.
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      06-05-2022, 05:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catskillclimber View Post
You erected a structure on another's property without doing the property due diligence (survey) in the first place. Your prior neighbors were ambivalent or ignorant of the intrusion and you now think that justifies your initial mistake.
The irony is you attempt to impinge the character of your new neighbors when in reality they did the correct thing utilizing a current survey and letting you know there is a dispute.
You made a mistake. Just own it.
This is correct. It doesn’t matter what previous owners allowed or not. Unfortunately you based the fence on faulty information….considering the new information is irrefutable. You must move the fence if the other owner doesn’t want it on their property. I’m not an attorney but have seen this 3-4 times so far and the fence owner has always had to move the fence.

I also had a neighbor who built a very large backyard shed that blocked my water view. He said he could build whatever he wanted on his property. Wrong. He had to take down the shed or move it so as not to impact my view per the neighborhood covenants. He did and shortly sold his house after only owning a year and half.
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      06-05-2022, 05:56 PM   #22
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There could be an easement law or something to that effect since the fence has been there so long.
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