I have a fence that encircles my property and (I believe) it is built 6
inches inside of my property line. A few years ago one of my neighbors
poured a concrete walk right up against the fence, i.e. it is 6 inches over
the line. I never said anything because it doesn't cause me a problem,
however he is now going to sell his house and I think he should cut the
walkway back to his edge of the line (at least) before he sells. I haven't
talked to him about it yet but I will be doing so soon. I may need to get a
surveyor to establish the property line. Then, if my neighbor won't cut his
walkway back I may have to take him to court. Does any one here have any
No, it doesn't. Before you start practicing law, gt an education.
There are multiple elements to a claim for adverse possession. To
establish adverse possession, the one claiming the property must show
that the possession was open, notorious, hostile adverse, and continuous
Open means that it occurs 24 hours a day in public. In other words,
if you put a portable shed on my property each night between midnight
and 2:00 am, your are sneaking on and sneaking off. Doesn't cut the
mustard. Your use of my property has to be readily observable to me as
the real owner.
Notorious parallels open. Your use of my property must be known to the
public at large.
Hostile or adverse means that your use of my property must be without my
permission of license. In your scenario, you have known of the use and
generously permitted it. Your neighbor or his successor will always
fail this prong of the adverse possession test. If you really want to
ice the cake, cheaply, send your neighbor a certified mail letter, with
return receipt, giving him written permission and a revocable, no fee
license to use the 6 inch strip for his concrete. His use of the strip
will never, within the requirements for adverse possession, be
"hostile". Term your permission a revocable no fee license and you
preserve your right, and your sucessor's to be an asshole and
unilaterally demand th removal of the concrete from the strip. It
sounds like being an asshole is important to you, so you do want to
preserve your potential to be an asshole.
Continuous means that the use by your neighbor has to uinterrupted for
a term of ears. At common law it was 20 year. That means 24/7/365 for
20 years. Your neighbor comes nowhere close.
It's an important issue, because if it goes unaddressed, it becomes a
permanent easement on your property--in NY, I think it's 10 years of
unaddressed encroachment. Has caused big g-d problems for people, just cuz
they were "nice guys".
I'm no spert, but I believe you can address this w/o making him actually
take it out, by having him pay $1/yr for the use of sed property, which
would become part of the paperwork of his sale. This way, you can cancel
the "lease" at any time, and reclaim your property, if nec. Or just
preserve the value of your prop. by having that option always at hand.
Consult a lawyer, it shouldn't really have to go to court.
If the neighbor becomes a hard-ass, just tell'im: Look, sign the papers,
pay me my fukn dollar a year, or become liable for all my court costs,
damage claims, psych distress, blah blah.
Or, YOU can be the hard-ass and push for removal. Not that you wouldn't be
entitled, just proly a little more confrontational.
Mr. P.V.'d (formerly Droll Troll), Yonkers, NY
Stop Corruption in Congress & Send the Ultimate Message:
Absolutely Vote, but NOT for a Democrat or a Republican.
Ending Corruption in Congress is the Single Best Way
to Materially Improve Your Family's Life.
entropic3.14decay at optonline2.718 dot net; remove pi and e to reply--ie,
You may be toast depending on the laws in your area. In some places you
have x amount of time to bring an issue to the attention of the
offending party otherwise the land is ceded to them. In other places it
is still yours. IOW, need more info.
replace "fly" with "com" to reply.
First you'd better go to the expense of getting a new survey for your
property to make sure you're correct. It seems to me you're trying to open
a big can of worms for no apparent gain, since you haven't lost anything.
You've let the sidewalk sit there for years, and now you want your neighbor
to go to the expense of removing part of it when he's already going to move
away. You can't lose that 6" through adverse posession, since presumably
you're going to be using it occasionally, if only for fence maintenance, and
are paying taxes on the property. If the sidewalk is actually causing you a
real problem rather than a perceived problem (ie, it's located where you
want to put a gate, or plant some shrubbery) you should be able remove it --
it's your property -- but it would be petty to do so without prior mention
to your neighbor.
What's more likely to happen is that the sale will require a new survey, and
that new survey will show that the neighbor's sidewalk runs outside his
property limits. That may even be an obstacle to the sale, and thus becomes
the neighbor's problem. Better that you should work with the old neighbor
or the new neighbor to solve the issue amicably rather than be seen as the
source of local problems.
If you're certain the sidewalk is on your property and you now want it
removed, you need to make 2-3 phone calls -- (1) to your neighbor to inform
him of the problem; (2) to the neighbor's real estate agent to tell them
that you want to protect your rights to the 6" strip in question, and
perhaps (3) to your city/county code enforcement to report a violation of
local code. But if you do, you'll come off as the bad guy in the scenario.
In our area, apparently several surveys mismarked property lines by 1' or
more. When the mistake was discovered it meant that at least one of the
houses was now built into the set-back area of the side boundary. A couple
of us just jointly planted a couple of shrubs on the line to give us a good
reference for any future construction, but one owner dug holes and put in 6'
tall 4x4 posts at several points along the perimeter -- they look silly --
like miniature undecorated telephone poles -- and he has essentially
isolated himself from the rest of this friendly community.
Of course, we're dealing with 1/2 or 1 acre lakefront lots that are 300+
feet deep. Misplacing something by 6" usually isn't going to even be
noticed. Just for reference, how big is the lot in question?
Before I'd go to the expense of hiring a surveyor I'd find a friend
who has a metal detector and find your property stakes. At settle-
ment you should have been given a plat map of your property. If
you find that the walk is on your side of the line I'd check with
the county to see what your options are. Do you know if your
neighbor had a permit to put in the walk? There should have
been an inspection, at least they do in my county. If all
else fails make an appointment for a free consultation before
deciding. If you're on good terms I'd talk to your neighbor
when you have all the facts. Or, you may just decide to forget
it, you're probably not going to be using those 6 inches anyway
and if there is an easement issue his walk will have to come up.
On Wed, 1 Nov 2006 16:48:06 -0800, "Patches Forever"
I would be very careful about requiring him to remove 6" of sidewalk.
You are required to maintain that 6". And I'm pretty sure he would not
allow you to get on his property to do it. Can you maintain that 6"
from your side of the fence?
--Andy Asberry recommends NewsGuy--
A lady at work had a property dispute over 6" of land. They were correct,
but spent over $32,000 in legal fees to prove they were correct. Think hard
before you open that can of worms. There is no simple or cheap way of
removing 6" from a concrete walk. The right time to speak up was when the
forms were put in place.
If they do move the walk, how will you maintain that strip of grass?
Surely, the neighbor will kick your ass off of his walk of you go over there
to trim the grass or paint the fence.
It may be smart to let everyone know where the property line is, but to
demand remediation can be a money pit for all involved. As a bonus, you get
to live next door to someone that now hates you. Consider the $1 a year
leas that was mentioned in another post and have a beer with the neighbors,
both the old and new.
If its only 6" its not much but you pay taxes and some areas taxes are
alot, a few years wont establish adverse possession , but you are not
even sure yet on lines, get his survey look at yours, offer to sell him
Here's another idea: After the guy moves start walking around your
fence every day on the OUTSIDE of your yard. After you;ve dones this
for 10 years or so then YOU can claim adverse possesion for a foot or
2 of HIS property.
Often wrong, never in doubt.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - firstname.lastname@example.org
You need to contact a local attorney. In many areas if a neighbor has
used the property as his own and cared for it, after a given time (usually X
number of years) and the owner has not raised an objection, the neighbor
actually can claim legal title to it. If that is the case, your fence may
now be illegal as most areas require a set back from the property line.
What use do you have for that six inches of property? How can you
possibly enjoy it with your fence blocking access? I'd just write it
off and be done with it. If the fence ever needs replacing, talk to
your neighbor with survey in hand to make sure you two are on the same
page when you install the new fence. Then try to put your fence up to
the edge of your property or even center the fence on the property
line. The fence benefits both of you, so maybe your neighbor would
even help replace a fence when/if it comes into dis-repair.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.