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A year later...another fence installation to deal with
Old 09-18-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
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A year later...another fence installation to deal with

Last year I had a newer neighbor install his fence on my property. Details here. How to keep property stakes locatable in the future?

Well, it's now almost a year later. Neighbor #1 who moved his fence last year is still ignoring me/giving me the cold shoulder.

I've since acquired a new neighbor #2 behind my property. I recently noticed that they also have installed a chain link fence around their yard. My parcel is roughly pie-shaped (narrow end in the back) and in this area, due to being on a large curve in the road, adjacent properties are not "squared up" to one another. I took a walk back there today and I'm now wondering if they had a survey done...as I'm guessing/speculating that a corner post and part of their fence MAY be on my property.

From speaking with a lawyer last year about #1's fence, if a neighbor installs their fence on my property AND I do not take action, after 15 years of use that portion of my property would revert to the neighbor. I was quite sure that #1's fence was on my property. I'm less certain about #2's fence as there are no easy landmarks I can use to visually ascertain where the lot line is and the surveyor's corner post is now under 11 years of soil debris.

Last year, when the issue was #1's new fence, I had the survey company to come out and unearth/mark the lot line where #1 installed the offending fence. The back corner post on that lot line is still visible and #2's fence honors that corner post. My concern is -- where is my other corner post with respect to the new fence installed by #2?

Also, in this neighborhood, a permit is supposed to be pulled by the owner or installer. This is likely a reason #1 neighbor is so peeved with me. After I went to the township offices last year asking about the regulations for fences, they noticed that #1 had not pulled a permit for fence installation and the ordnance officer came knocking on #1's door (Probably with a $50 fine for the offense and whatever fee to pull a permit...plus the fence company had to move the fence. I'm unsure as to who paid for that).

I don't want to be known as the neighborhood curmudgeon but I do want to preserve my boundaries. How can I best handle this new possible encroachment issue with the least commotion, hurt feelings, and cost?

By rights, the fence company hired by #2 neighbor should have performed a survey AND pulled a permit.

omni
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:46 PM   #2
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- Did you talk to #2?
- Did #2 "pull" a permit? Is going to township office again hard?

A friend's father had put up a fence when surrounding land was farms. More than 15 years later subdivision went in & new neighbor uprooted his fence. Father went to court & got the new neighbor to stop even though old fence in wrong place. Father was a lawyer.

Me, no problem protecting my interests. Besides, you were right 1st time so I'd start by assuming I'm right again.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:08 PM   #3
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- Did you talk to #2?
- Did #2 "pull" a permit? Is going to township office again hard?

A friend's father had put up a fence when surrounding land was farms. More than 15 years later subdivision went in & new neighbor uprooted his fence. Father went to court & got the new neighbor to stop even though old fence in wrong place. Father was a lawyer.

Me, no problem protecting my interests. Besides, you were right 1st time so I'd start by assuming I'm right again.
(BTW, #1 and #2 are becoming friends, as I saw them chatting over the back fence the other day.)

No, I haven't spoken to #2 yet. I haven't done anything other than walk back to the new fence and look around.

I'm trying to figure out where to start.

It's no problem for me to get to the township hall. From experience, all they will tell me is whether or not a permit has been pulled as they are interested in getting the revenue.

Based on my conversation last year, the clerk said the township will not get involved with boundaries, etc. The township clerk told me if party A takes party B to court due to B's new fence being on A's land (per a surveyor's measurement/certification paid for by A), the judge WILL rule in A's favor.

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Old 09-18-2017, 07:21 PM   #4
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Talk to #2.
If you get no satisfaction from the conversation, contact the same surveyor you had last time to check it out. (could be cheaper this time - he has the records and his stakes should still be there.)

I don't think I would take a township clerk's legal opinion on property rights.

And as to the thought that an encroacher can obtain title to part of the property described in your deed, it is not as simple as just using it for 15 years without your objection. The encroacher would have to hire an attorney, have the paperwork prepared, and presented to a court for review. Only a court can grant title by adverse possession - at least in Illinois.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:33 PM   #5
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Talk to #2.
If you get no satisfaction from the conversation, contact the same surveyor you had last time to check it out. (could be cheaper this time - he has the records and his stakes should still be there.)

I don't think I would take a township clerk's legal opinion on property rights.

And as to the thought that an encroacher can obtain title to part of the property described in your deed, it is not as simple as just using it for 15 years without your objection. The encroacher would have to hire an attorney, have the paperwork prepared, and presented to a court for review. Only a court can grant title by adverse possession - at least in Illinois.
I will see if I can find #2 at home tomorrow evening and inquire as to whether a survey had been done. (Of course, I suppose they could just lie about it.)

Real estate laws vary considerably from place to place. The local lawyer I spoke with last year assured me that 15 years of unchallenged use would cause that piece of land to revert to the 'new users'. Once a fence is installed, visually it seems like ALL the land enclosed belongs to that parcel. It could be years and years before anyone would think to spend $1000 for a survey that might discover the "truth"....which may be why the laws here in Michigan are set up with the 15-year provision.

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Old 09-18-2017, 07:39 PM   #6
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I just finished reading your other thread from last year. As tempting as it maybe, dont rip it out yourself, and throw it on his property. Handle it like you did last year. Im not familiar with the laws in Michigan at all, but I suspect they are similar to mine. Ripping out an offending fence will land you in a court battle with you as the defendant. Im not saying you wont win, If i was on the jury you would be not guilty. Who needs the hassle, you the "aggrieved party" , keep it that way. You will prevail.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:48 PM   #7
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If you get the surveyor again get a plat map and ask him what permanent markers are on your land. (infact if the stakes are still there and you have a 50 foot tape and a description of the metes and bounds of the land you might be able to measure it out yourself.)
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:53 PM   #8
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The neighborly thing would have been for both #1 and #2 to talk to you before putting up the fences. Most neighborhoods I have lived in the price of the fence is split between the neighbors. If only one wants a fence or is willing to pay for a fence then it should clearly be placed on their side of the property line. I would be a bit upset about not being notified that they were putting up a fence so I probably would not care if they got upset about you asking how the corner placement was determined. I would also go out there with a shovel and poke around some to see if I could find the survey post.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:07 PM   #9
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Once you get this resolved with Number 2... to more permanently preserve your boundaries from anyone else in the future... How about you fence in your whole lot yourself? I know... cost, but this would be driving me nuts happening a 2nd time were I you.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:39 PM   #10
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Once you get this resolved with Number 2... to more permanently preserve your boundaries from anyone else in the future... How about you fence in your whole lot yourself? I know... cost, but this would be driving me nuts happening a 2nd time were I you.
I despise fences. One reason I bought in this subdivision 27 years ago was that there were no fences and many mature trees. The back yards looked like a park. Now imho it's starting to look junky. I can see 3 different fences in one location (wood panels, black chain link, and silver chain link). Plus people are starting to fill their yards with 'crap'...the #2 neighbor now has a 24' extension ladder leaning up against the fence that backs to my property. Before the fence was installed, they had a huge farm or earth-mover tire there (I think they might have a kid and that was supposed to be a sandbox?) Others are putting up sheds for their overflow. Few people seem to park in their attached 2-car garages, so there are cars and trucks in driveways and parked in the street.

Property values here are the highest they've ever been (Great schools, grades K-12 all within walking distance and reachable by sidewalk), but there's been a marked shift in the denizens.

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Old 09-18-2017, 09:17 PM   #11
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If you get the surveyor again get a plat map and ask him what permanent markers are on your land. (infact if the stakes are still there and you have a 50 foot tape and a description of the metes and bounds of the land you might be able to measure it out yourself.)
+1


This is what I was thinking... I would do some rough measuring and see if the fence was on my lot or not...

If I measured and was not sure since it is close, I would let it go.... if I measured and it was clear they encroached I would have a talk with them...


BTW, sometimes it can look OK and not be... my BIL was doing some work for someone and noticed that a fence did not appear to be correct based on the description... the person who installed it ran it down the side of a driveway of the homeowner... but their boundary was actually not parallel and the length of the fence ended up 15 feet into the others lot.... it is surprising how a little angle can become big over 150 to 200 feet...
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:57 PM   #12
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If you get the surveyor again get a plat map and ask him what permanent markers are on your land. (infact if the stakes are still there and you have a 50 foot tape and a description of the metes and bounds of the land you might be able to measure it out yourself.)
I still have a copy of the survey report the surveyor gave me 11 years ago. And I can see one rear corner stake (still 'fresh' from fence incident last year with #1 neighbor). I just need to scrounge up a long enough tape and a clear day and see if I can locate the other rear corner stake. Although it could be a challenge as there are some massive tree roots nearby that have developed "at grade". Worth taking a look, though.

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Old 09-18-2017, 11:38 PM   #13
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You might also try a metal detector to see if you can find that other rear corner stake... failing that, check with the town to see if they filed for a permit and whether the records include any information on a survey. If those come up empty you may need to have the surveyor that you used earlier check that #2's fence is not on your property.

Also, even if a neighbor puts a fence on their property they should place it so they can maintain it without encroaching on your property. This is a problem with our neighbor from hell... she planted a cedar hedge near the property line about 10 years ago and it has grown so high it shades our lot and also the sides encroach on our property so asked her to trim it.... of course she ended up havign to trim it from our property.

Also, technically one can't gain adverse posession if it isn't adverse... so even if #2's fence is a bit on your property if you decide to not force them to move it you can protect your rights by giving them permission to keep the fence on your property until it needs to be replaced. It is best to have them occasionally sign an acknowledgement that you have given them permission for your files.
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:09 AM   #14
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I will see if I can find #2 at home tomorrow evening and inquire as to whether a survey had been done. (Of course, I suppose they could just lie about it.)

omni
Ask for a copy of it. If they have one, and they are "legal", they will be more than happy to wave it in your face....

If they say they have one, but won't show it....well....
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:40 AM   #15
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Stuff does tend to accumulate, if there are no rules against it. We have a neighbor whose property adjoins our (very long) driveway, and thus anything they do reflects on us but we have no say in it. The couple are both software engineers. The guy likes to tinker with old machinery. Guess where the old machinery ends up? On the side of their property that faces our driveway.

On his lawn, he has two rusting Army tank tread thingies (just platforms with treads), a big old trailer, several old cars, pickup trucks, and an anvil. Even weirder, they had all their house windows replaced last year...EXCEPT on that side. That side has a metal garage door that is rusting out, and the wood siding is rotting around the windows on that side.

Because their junk and unsightliness is within county limits (has to be more than 15 feet from adjoining properties) there is nothing we can do but endure.

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I despise fences. One reason I bought in this subdivision 27 years ago was that there were no fences and many mature trees. The back yards looked like a park. Now imho it's starting to look junky. I can see 3 different fences in one location (wood panels, black chain link, and silver chain link). Plus people are starting to fill their yards with 'crap'...the #2 neighbor now has a 24' extension ladder leaning up against the fence that backs to my property. Before the fence was installed, they had a huge farm or earth-mover tire there (I think they might have a kid and that was supposed to be a sandbox?) Others are putting up sheds for their overflow. Few people seem to park in their attached 2-car garages, so there are cars and trucks in driveways and parked in the street.

Property values here are the highest they've ever been (Great schools, grades K-12 all within walking distance and reachable by sidewalk), but there's been a marked shift in the denizens.

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Old 09-19-2017, 06:49 AM   #16
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I'd probably start with #2 by telling him you have always wondered where your lot stakes are and ask if he had them located when he built the fence. You might get a better reply than if you started out being testy.

If it were me, if I didn't previously know where my lot line (stakes) are, then if a fence is a little bit over the line or not, then what's the difference?

The legal issues confuse things a bit. I would think that in order for them to legally claim that little bit of property and have their lot resurveyed/redefined for their plat of survey records. That may be more cost than they are willing to pay. Possibly what would happen is that when you go to sell and there is a survey done on your property, the fence would show up as being on your land.

P.S. I am not a lawyer.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:08 AM   #17
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Stuff does tend to accumulate, if there are no rules against it. We have a neighbor whose property adjoins our (very long) driveway, and thus anything they do reflects on us but we have no say in it. The couple are both software engineers. The guy likes to tinker with old machinery. Guess where the old machinery ends up? On the side of their property that faces our driveway.

On his lawn, he has two rusting Army tank tread thingies (just platforms with treads), a big old trailer, several old cars, pickup trucks, and an anvil. Even weirder, they had all their house windows replaced last year...EXCEPT on that side. That side has a metal garage door that is rusting out, and the wood siding is rotting around the windows on that side.

Because their junk and unsightliness is within county limits (has to be more than 15 feet from adjoining properties) there is nothing we can do but endure.
Amethyst, I really feel for you. That sounds awful....and unsightly.

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Old 09-19-2017, 07:40 AM   #18
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You might also try a metal detector to see if you can find that other rear corner stake... failing that, check with the town to see if they filed for a permit and whether the records include any information on a survey. If those come up empty you may need to have the surveyor that you used earlier check that #2's fence is not on your property.

Also, even if a neighbor puts a fence on their property they should place it so they can maintain it without encroaching on your property. This is a problem with our neighbor from hell... she planted a cedar hedge near the property line about 10 years ago and it has grown so high it shades our lot and also the sides encroach on our property so asked her to trim it.... of course she ended up havign to trim it from our property.

Also, technically one can't gain adverse posession if it isn't adverse... so even if #2's fence is a bit on your property if you decide to not force them to move it you can protect your rights by giving them permission to keep the fence on your property until it needs to be replaced. It is best to have them occasionally sign an acknowledgement that you have given them permission for your files.
From what I learned last year, IF they pulled a permit (= paid $), the township's requirement was met. Township does not require a survey to be filed with the permit.

How awful about your neighbor's hedge...sort of the reverse of my #1 neighbor who placed his fence on MY property abutting my giant hedge so that I could not even access my hedge for trimming -- not from my property nor his (as my hedge is about 6-7 ft. wide and the fence made the top of the hedge simply unreachable).

If #2's fence corner extends onto my property, as you mentioned, yes, I could get them to sign something for the record indicating that I've granted them use until the fence needs to be replaced, yadda, yadda. But, as we all know, those kinds of papers and agreements seem to fall by the wayside, get forgotten, or lost after a while as people age, sell, etc. And then it becomes a job for ME to keep tabs on this.

Perhaps it's just me, but I like to keep things clear and simple. Basically, this is my property as described by the deed and survey. And when I eventually go to sell it, I can hand it over to the new owner unencumbered with agreements allowing fences owned by others.

Our lots are not tiny, so I really am mystified why these neighbors don't install their fences on their own property. Another neighbor (who has since moved into a McMansion), actually asked me if I would mind if they had a invisible fence for their dog buried in my yard, so as to give their 15# dog (who only came outside to do her business) a larger area in which to roam. I said "no."


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Old 09-19-2017, 07:52 AM   #19
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What can I say...non-HOA developments tend to attract weird people. We are original owners, and when we built our house, the builder promised to set up an HOA. Of course, he never did. I myself made some attempts early on, but other neighbors were not interested so it went nowhere.

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Amethyst, I really feel for you. That sounds awful....and unsightly.

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Old 09-19-2017, 10:07 AM   #20
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...

If #2's fence corner extends onto my property, as you mentioned, yes, I could get them to sign something for the record indicating that I've granted them use until the fence needs to be replaced, yadda, yadda. But, as we all know, those kinds of papers and agreements seem to fall by the wayside, get forgotten, or lost after a while as people age, sell, etc. And then it becomes a job for ME to keep tabs on this.

...


omni
We have a fence that encroaches a bit onto the neighbor's property. Previous owner(s) recorded their letter of 'permission' and that's how we discovered it with the title search. No need for anyone to keep track.
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