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I recently purchased a home with a driveway that is between my home and my neighbors home. My neighbor has his own driveway on the opposite side of his house, but my driveway uses part of his land to access my garage. I have been told this is called an eavesment, which allows me access to his land in order to use my driveway. However there were problems previously with the old owners of my home, and my neighbor has placed a fence directly on the property line. I would have no problem with this normally except now the fence has made the driveway too narrow and completely inaccessible to cars. I can drive up the driveway but the width is so small now that once up the driveway I cannot open my door to get out. I talked to my neighbor and he refuses to work something out and is not willing to take down the fence. Something about this seems terribly wrong (possibly illegal) and I am wondering if I should seek legal advice? If so who or how? Is this something I can take up with the city or county? Is a high priced real estate lawyer necessary? Has anyone experienced something similar? Thanks!
We bought our first house 5 months back in Montclair. Our immediate neighbor claims that a strip of land in our backyard is part of their property. The part of land in question is about one feet wide and runs along their fence until it ends in the back. The funny thing is that they built a fence and left a piece of *their* land on our side of the fence. We have a survey from our previous owners. The survey has a map with measurements, but we do not know how to read the survey. The backyard is kind of an open lot with trees. Up till the house structure we can measure the side yard with their fence and see that the fence is on the correct property line. Immediately after the house ends how can we measure the land with their fence? There is a pole with a white cloth at the far end of their property, but there is no mention of this in our survey. We want to put a fence (our fence) on the correct line believing that there is a strip of land belonging to the neighbors. Can someone please advice us whom to contact? Can a fence contractor read the survey? Another survey would be expensive for us. Thank You. anon
This can be a complicated problem depending on what information you have....or it could be relatively straightforward. I'd say it shouldn't take but a couple of hours to discuss this with you, examine your documents and do some field measurements.
A property resurvey would set you back about $5000. (I don't do these) I am a Landscape Architect, but know a lot about civil/ engineering survey work. Ray
Ask your real estate agent about the laws about how people can take over other people's property in a hostile and nonhostile manner. The title report should accurately define the borders of your property. Nolo Press probably has a book about this or you could google the topic on-line. judy
The surveyor they had hired was about to put a new set of stakes into the ground at their preferred boundary. The boundary they wanted worked when the parcel description was read backwards, because the parcel is not flat. When he realized that my husband knew about how to survey, he folded up his equipment and walked away. If his stakes had gone in, it would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars in litigation to get them out and get our land back. Our surveyor did the true survey and recorded it with the county, and we put up a sturdy fence. Most disputes aren't this bad, but land is expensive, and there are many people who covet their neighbor's land. It is well worth protecting yours. Relieved
About a year ago, an elderly neighbor died. A few months ago, her son (over getting the house ready for sale) agreed to pay for 1/2 of a new fence, providing that he only pay for the backyard portion (we are extending the fence to the front of the houses). I mentioned that a contractor friend would be helping us, and would charge for his time, but that my husband would do the majority of the work at no cost to him (which he did). When we got to his gate, and asked about preferences, he insisted that we pay for half of HIS gate, which I thought was unreasonable, but went along with it. He was very happy with the result. When we gave him the bill ($500), he became difficult, saying that he shouldn't have to pay for either our friend's time, the cost of having the materials delivered, or the rental post hole digger (his portion of the latter 2 was $30!). Mind you, he witnessed the fence being built, so he saw that we had help and that we used the rental item. He demanded receipts, so we politely put them together, cross-referenced with the bill. Even without the charges he objected to, the materials still came to almost $400 of the $500 bill. Another month has gone by, and still no reply. I am temped to write the entire episode off, but on the other hand, I don't want to be taken advantage of. We are not made of money, and it will clearly improve the value of the house he is about to sell. If he doesn't ever pay us, do we have any recourse? Could we put a lien on the house? Should I just move on? anon
We are having a contractor rebuild the fence around our yard in a couple of weeks. Can we expect our neighbors to contribute some if we share the fence? Anyone have experience with this to share? Thanks! - Madeleine
On the flip side, a different neighbor approached us with a bid from a contractor to fix a retaining wall and build a new fence from scratch. We thought the bid was very high and encouraged her to get some others.
She got a few other bids but really wanted a first class job and we could only pay for a budget one, so we offered to pay 1/3 of the cost and she seemed fine with that. -Sharon
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