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Old 04-16-2006, 08:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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fence lines/property lines

I have lived in a subdivision for 15 years and my neighbors and I have observed the fence lines as the property lines for all these years and for longer. Recently, a neighbor sold his house and surveyors came and set the property line past the fence line on a neighbors yard which ****** up most of her yard. She is very upset because she bought this home based on the premise of the side yard concept in that her property line went all the way up to the house on her left, and her neighbors yard to the right butts up against her house. All the neighbors on our cul-de-sac have been under the impression for 20 years and more that this is how the property lines were set.

The neighbor that sold the home has told me for years that he actually owned more property to the right, but he never contested it and allowed the fence lines to stay where they were built by the builders. He never contested the property line with his neighbor and she was never aware that he believed he owned more property.

The new owner now has torn down the old fence that separated the yards (4 months ago) and has not rebuilt it claiming he is waiting for his income tax refund. Yesterday, he had a party in his backyard in plain sight of my neighbor. He has money to have parties, but no money for the privacy fence he tore down.

I am concerned because I obtained a map of the neighborhood from the homeowners association and it indicates that I should have more property to the right therefore cutting my neighbors yard in half, and the same should happen to my yard if the neigbor to my left contests the property line.

I am happy with the fence lines as they are now. Are there any laws that protect me from having my yard chopped up into new boundaries? I believe the issue is only coming up because the neighbor that sold his home used it as a selling point. My next door neighbor to the left has put her home on the market and if a surveyor comes out to redraw the lines, I will contest it. I know that if you have property boundaries set for many years then that becomes an implied and nonverbal agreement for the property lines between the neighbors and no new owners can redraw the lines.

Does my neighbor have a leg to stand on if she contests this? She does not want to cause trouble between her neighbors and herself. I think she is afraid he will hurt her since she is there by herself.

I want to protect myself though and wonder what we can do as a community to let the implied boundaries stay where they are. What are my legal options?
There are about 5 houses on the cul de sac that are involved in this property mess.
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Old 09-08-2006, 11:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Depending upon the full facts and state law, you may be able to defend the established fence lines through a legal doctrine such as acquiescence to a boundary line or adverse possession.
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Old 09-16-2006, 02:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you looked at a previous survey map?

I have heard that adverse possession claims are hard to win and usually require proof that one has been paying taxes on the land being taken. Doesn’t sound like this is the case here. A map from the homeowners association may not be the accurate map you need. I believe you need a survey map; the County may have one on file.
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