Property lines

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Hello, my neighbor and I have a property line despute. His survey shows his fence line 2 feet inside mine. Mine shows it 2 feet inside his. How can I find out which one is correct? Does a matter like this have to go to court? Should there be original surveys from when the homes were first built in the 1930s somewhere?
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Hep,
Why don't you guys jointly hire a surveyor to determine where the property line is? The markers from the original survey may have been removed though looking for them would make sense.
Dave M.
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Why does it matter? Somewhere you or your lawyer are supposed to have papers that relate the entire history of your property and describe where the surveying points are. Either your surveyor or your neighbors screwed up, or one of you just doesn't remember. If it does matter then one of you is going to end up suing the other; then you will both have to resurvey and have legal fees to boot. Can you agree to hire a third surveyor to determine which is correct? You can either split the cost or agree it will be the responsibility of whichever of you is wrong.
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If you can get a copy of both surveys, why not call the surveyors and ask THEM to explain? At the very least, they ought to be able to tell you what the next logical step is. It might be worth checking your deeds, too, It's quite possible that they're just wrong. If the problem is that the person who did the original subdivision screwed up and put the 2' strip of land in both lots, even a court is likely to just split the difference.
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thehip wrote:

What difference does it make? You are still liable for half the cost of the fence (almost always). This is basic contract law.
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HeyBub wrote:

Huh? Why would the OP be responsible for any part of the cost of a fence on his neighbor's property? If the neighbor made a mistake and put the fence on the OP's property, then the neighbor should have to move it.
According to our local building codes, no permanent structure (buildings, fences, etc.,) can be installed within 10 feet of the sides of the property, and it's 50 feet from the front/back.
Are there really places where you can install a fence right along the property line? How are you supposed to maintain something which isn't entirely on your property?
Hilary
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Finding the keyboard operational snipped-for-privacy@fashionsintime.com entered:

HeyBub, how can a real estate issue be basic contract law? Or do you just make things up as you go along? Hilary, around here there is probably some fence setback ordenace but it is blantly flaunted in my neighborhood. Each drivewayis set in about 2 feet from the property line but everyone treats their property as driveway to driveway. Why? It just makes the lawns look neater, Also, everyone ties their fence into their neighbors. No one has had any problem selling or buying a house here. It's just the way things are. Split the cost of a survey is it really matters. Maybe both of you can sit back and have a beer while you watch him work. Bob
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I'd be a bit surprised if that didn't vary by zone. The rules for where you can put fences in places with 5-acre minimum lot sizes are often different from the rules for places with 1/8th acre minimum lot sizes.

Urban and dense suburban areas frequently have fences (frequently waist-high chain-link) right on the property line, or just inside the sidewalk easment, yes.
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On 30 Nov 2006 18:39:19 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@fashionsintime.com wrote:

My brother in law used to install fences for a national company (franchsie). Their rule was 2" inside the survey point for the centerline of the posts. That ended up making the fence about 3/4 to 1/2" inside the survey line. The second guy who builds a fence gets a break on his property line since they share the same fence with zero of it oon his side. They usually sink another pole next to the existing one at the common corners so they are not really attached.
Back when chain link fence yards was the common thing the last guy only needed to fence the front if he had fence on the other 3 sides and his yard looked at the "good" side of his neighbor's fence.
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snipped-for-privacy@fashionsintime.com wrote:

There are two principles at work: The principle of "Unjust enrichment," and the principle of "Assent by silence."
The non-constructing neighbor is receiving benefit of the fence. He is, therefore, liable for some portion of the cost. He agreed to this division and expense simply by not protesting at the first opportunity.
These are fundamental contract law and part of the legal tradition since, oh, 1215. There are, of course, conditions and modifications and the general principles can be over-ridden by specific statute.
It is irrelevant, to this discussion, on whose property the fence was built.

Public policy and local laws do influence the common law on contracts.

You just do it. If a tree, say, entirely on another's property is damaged such that it is in imminent danger of falling on your house, you may take steps to mitigate the potential damage.
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HeyBub wrote:

It is not about the cost of the fence - it's about who owns the land in question. Only after that is resolved will the question of who owns the fence, and what should be done about it, arise. The owner of the land may decide that the fence has to be moved, or he may decide to lease the land to the other owner.

Neither of those seem to apply unless you are making a big assumption that one of the two neighbors built the fence, and then those still don't really cover it. You're looking for the term Adverse Possession. These things vary _widely_ from state to state, so even if the terminology was right and you had the right legal interpretation in your state it's unlikely that it would be the same in the OP's state, wherever that is.

There was no mention that the fence was put up recently. The fence could have been there from before either neighbor bought their property.

Omit "can", insert "is".

That is entirely the question at hand.
I'd be tempted to approach it a different way than what most people here have suggested. Before hiring surveyors and lawyers, I'd approach the other owner and seek to agree on a fair solution based on a theoretical outcome. That way you'd be negotiating from a I-might-win-or-I-might-lose viewpoint which would make both parties try harder to reach that equitable middle ground. Cover the details in the theoretical solution. Things such as whether the fence actually needs to be moved, whether the land can be leased to the other party, who pays for the fence to be moved in both scenarios, what happens to the vegetation in that area (are transplantable bushes to be moved?), etc.
In general, working from a theoretical standpoint before the lawyers and surveyors get involved will be more likely to keep the neighbors on a friendly footing. It will also most likely be cheaper.
There are legal ramifications of your decisions that will affect the mortgage holder and title, so I don't see that you can avoid notifying the banks, title insurance companies and having both properties surveyed to determine the rightful property line. If nothing else, approaching these companies with a unified front - with both parties agreeing on what should be done - will make it less likely to become contentious and start a legal feeding frenzy.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Not only is it not about the cost of the fence, it;s not about a "contract", because there is no contract here. It's a simple question of where the correct property line is. How anyone could think a property owner could be responsible for half the cost of a fence that is on someone else's property is beyond me.

Adverse possession is what would seem to apply here. But these laws vary from state to state as to requirements that must be met. For example, many states require that to gain land through AP you have to have been paying the real estate taxes on it.

Right. And beyond that, following Bubs twisted logic, anyone putting up a fence, say 4" inside their own propertyI can now go over to their neighbor, who didn't even want a fence, and demand he pay half. Of how about if I add landscaping in the area of my property adjacent to his? The neighbor should then pay me something too, because by making the area look nice, it benefits him too. Of course this doesn;t happen. I can only imagine what Bub would say when his neighbor presented him with such a bill!

He clearly has no understanding at all of what he's talking about. There is no contract here period.

Yes, and if it makes no difference, maybe Bub would like to pay for and maintain the fence on his neighbor's property?

The theoretical idea is an Interesting approach, but may overcomplicate things, as it may be hard to determine all the possibilities and reach agreement on all the what if's. Some of the what if's that never occur could lead to diagreement that makes it all worse. For certain II wouldn't start involving title companies and mortgage holders until I was sure what the problem really is.
The real issue here is where the exact property line is. Selecting and splitting the cost should solve that. If it does, then the remaining question is if the neighbors fence is on the neighbors property or the posters. If it's on the posters property by mistake and he has no problem with it remaining, he could then right a contract with the neighbor acknowledging that and allowing it to remain there until it needs to be replaced. If it goes that way, he needs to then consult a lawyer.
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wrote:

All that assumes the non-constructing neighbor sees the fence as enhancing his property. A lot of people don't like fences and they certainly won't pay for one they don't want.
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On 11/30/06 09:39 pm snipped-for-privacy@fashionsintime.com wrote:

Even in the US laws may vary from place to place, so AFAIK it's possible that somewhere in the US the same applies as did in Brisbane, Australia (and perhaps more widely than that):
The law (or bylaws, code, etc.) defined a "standard" fence, which -- if erected -- was to be on the property line. It was not compulsory to erect a fence, but if either property owner decided to erect a fence at all, the other property owner was required to pay half the cost of the "standard" fence. If either wanted something more elaborate then the "standard" fence, then s/he had to bear the extra cost. IOW, nobody could compel a property owner to pay more than half the cost of the "standard" fence.
In most cases, I suppose, people came to some agreement about what kind of fence and who was paying how much. I don't recall hearing about any disputes.
Perce
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 10:00:45 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

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snipped-for-privacy@fashionsintime.com says...

Every property I've ever owned has had at least one fence right on the property line -- that's where side and back fences usually go, at least around here. Code does prohibit extending fences *beyond* your own property lines, but fences are specifically *not* covered by the prohibition on structures in the required lot-line setbacks.
Do your neighborhoods really have 100-foot swaths of land between neighbor's back fences, 50 feet on each side of the line? That would make it hard to have a friendly conversation over the back fence, wouldn't it?
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snipped-for-privacy@phred.org wrote:

I live in the boonies, and I certainly wouldn't call it a "neighborhood. I have a couple of acres, but everyone else has at least 5 with most having 50 or more. I'd have to use my car to go find the "neighbor" behind me, if there even is one on the other side of stream and up the huge hill. I can see my side neighbors' houses and the house across the road, but we'd have to walk quite a distance to be able to have a conversation without shouting. No one out here has fences, except around pools, which are not common around here.
I realize it's much different in the 'burbs where land is divided into "lots". However, according to the town building inspector, you're never allowed to build a fence right on the property line no matter how you're zoned here. When I was re-building an ancient stone retaining wall I was told to make sure it was at least 10 feet from the side line. Fortunately, it was not even close, which was good because they said they would not "grandfather" it in, even though it's been there since at least 1895, which we know because we have old photographs of the house when it was a gigantic farm. I'm REALLY glad I didn't have to move that thing!
Hilary
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On 1 Dec 2006 10:20:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@fashionsintime.com wrote:

Things are different when you move into town.
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 19:53:39 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Whereas, where I'm from, stone walls are frequently *ON* the property line, and mentioned as boundaries in deeds, and it is therefore illegal to move or destroy them....
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Goedjn wrote:

Agreed, but I was told that if my was over the 10' line I was only allowed to let it slowly disintegrate, or move it within 10" of my line if I wanted to retain it.
Hilary
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