You will probably be better off "putting it away" and applying your
energies to other things. The time to do something about it was when you
were considering and negtiating for the purchase of the place.
Since you referred to the encroacher as a "stubborn old guy" I have to
assume you've already discussed the matter with him and he's essentially
said, "So what? Sue me if you don't like it." to you.
Chances are the lawyer's fees needed to pursue the matter to where you
have an absolute right to tear down his stuff will be enough to make you
think twice about it.
"Ah feel your pain", though.....
Three years ago some folks bought the house and land next door to us and
before I knew what was happening the backhoes were enlarging their back
yard it and the masons were building stone retaining walls on part of
our property which lay beyond the hedges I'd put in to create a boundary
on what we wanted to use as our back yard.
I'd forgotten exactly where the property line was , so I hired a
surveyor to stake it out again, which cost a bit over $1,000. The survey
showed that the new neighbor had beautified about 700 square feet of our
property and was using it as though he owned it. He'd also plopped a
prefab shed down, right against the property line, without regard to the
town zoning requirement for a six foot setback.
I approached the neighbor about it and told him I'd feel OK about
letting him use our land if he'd just reimburse me the proportional
property taxes on it, about $100.00, once a year.
He stalled giving me an answer for weeks and when it became apparant he
wasn't going to do that willingly, I asked a real estate lawyer in my
Rotary Club about it. He said, "Fughedit, you aren't using that land
anyway, and you'd spend a fortune in legal fees to end up having to live
next to a neighbor who hates you."
I took his advice, life is too short to get my shorts twisted up for
long over things like that.
FWIW our lot is "Registered Land" here in Massachussetts, which means
adverse possession can't give the neighbor any rights, plus the statute
time for adverse possession here is 20 years anyway.
If he justs ignores it, besides having the coop and fence on his
property, he could wind up losing the land under the coop too. Right
now, if the coop is indeed on his property, the neighbor is meeting
many of the requirements for adverse possession. However, he may not
have met the time reqt which can be 20 years. If the owner just waits
and does nothing, it could result in the neighbor having a valid
adverse possession claim to the land under the coop.
Which is why he needs a lawyer familiar with the state laws.
I'm a bit confused, Jeff. You spoke with a lawyer but there are zoning
laws and presumably building codes and permits required. Why not have
the town take care of it? Wouldn't cost you a dime.
As far as living next to a neighbor that hates you... If a guy walks
up to me and pisses on my shoes, I'm not really going to care all that
much about his opinion of what I do next.
"Chickens" pretty much says there is no zonng and probably no building
code/permits. Agricultural buildings are usually exermpt from all this
stuff and most places with zoning will "zone out" farm animals,
partucularly chickens first.
I don't know if he got (or even needed to get) a permit for what he did,
though I suspect he didn't. However, I don't think that bringing the
town down on him over that would have gained me anything other than
giving him another reason to think of ways to "get even" with me.
Regarding the shed he added right against the property line, it is far
enough away from our house and back yard and screened by foiliage so
that it's not really a bother. Complaining to the town about that would
not benefit us in any significant way and I would feel like I was just
lowering myself to the neighbor's level.
I think my answer to that is what others here have said here so many
times. Getting into a pissing contest with a skunk living next door
rarely wins you anything you'd really want. YMMV.
It was a "dog in the manger" situation, the land the neighbor "grabbed"
was nothing we could make practical use of without major landscaping
efforts, but it was part of the lot when we bought it 21 years ago so we
own it and pay taxes on it.
I figured if that neighbor had any class he'd agree to pay the taxes on
the land he's using as though it were his, and we could both feel that
were getting a fair deal. I also offered to sell him that bit of land
for it's tax assessed value if he picked up all the legal and filing
costs of the transfer, but he didn't spring for that either.
So, as one of my previous sig lines read, "What do you expect from a pig
but a grunt?"
However, his house has been on the market for most of the past year. I
spoke with and wrote a letter to the real estate agent telling her she'd
be well advised to inform potential buyers about that encroachment and
tell them they'd be wise to get it straightened out as part of any
purchase process. She promised she would. We'll see if that happens.
If it's for sale, you should definately make a legal stink
about it, and then while that's going on, have an agent
make a low-ball offer for it. Then you can solve
the problem however you want, and either sell or keep the thing.
If the guy's moving out, why do you care how pissy he gets?
Get the survey first- this should have been done before closing- see
how being cheap works out!!!! If in fact the neighbor has encroached
I would give him the opportunity to remove it.
If he refuses I would remove it .Maybe I might accidently hit it with a
truck and knock it down. Maybe a new fence would appear on the
property line. Let the neighbor try to start something. If he
complains let your title insurance (you do have that?) deal with it as
they have better lawyers than the old coot. If the coop and fence are
not on your land but create a nuisance you have the right to alleviate
stay da course? wrote:
Neighbor wars are _never_ worth the hassle, and they're always
Consult a lawyer before doing anything precipitous, and explore
_all_ of the options. Pissing off neighbors is always a bad thing.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
When you bought it, you didn't happen to get title insurance did you?
You need to consult your attorney because you're in a quagmire. But
before you do, go look at your deed and see what it says. There are
various types of deeds where the seller makes various representations.
The least representations are a "quit claim deed' where the seller
doesn't even certify that he owns the property -- he is selling you
whatever he owns, if he owns anything at all. The "best" deed for the
buyer is a "warrenty deed" where the seller warrents that he owns it.
If you have a warrenty deed and there are encoachments, you might have
recourse against the seller. So go check you deed and call your
I think recourse against the seller isn't gonna work in light of this:
"we bought this place with the understanding that there was an
And what would you try to make the seller do now anyway? The real
issue is first to resolve the encroachment. Until that is done, the
owner doesn't have any way to prove monetary damages, loss, etc.
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