Are Your Sure Your Neighbor’s Fence Is on Your Property?
Accusing a neighbor of erecting a fence on your property is a serious matter. Effectively, you’re saying your neighbor is trespassing on your property. Before taking any action, it’s important to verify that your neighbor has indeed put the fence on your side of the property line.
First, you’ll have to figure out where your official property boundaries are. We have another article that can help you determine where the property lines are on your own. Another option is to hire a licensed surveyor to mark your property’s boundaries.
What You Can Do
Now that you’ve verified your neighbor’s fence is on your property, it’s best to resolve the matter promptly. Ignoring the issue could cause a problem for you later.
When you want to sell your property, most homebuyers will insist you resolve the property line dispute before closing. Homebuyers want access to all of the property they’re purchasing.
Also, not dealing with the fence issue now could put you in a position to legally lose that portion of your property in the future. Here’s what you can do to address the situation.
Talk to Your Neighbor
Keep in mind your neighbor may not be aware the fence is on your property. Yes, your neighbor should have known. Your neighbor had a duty to verify the property lines before putting up a fence.
Hopefully, your relationship with your neighbor is cordial. If so, a calm discussion may be enough to find an agreeable solution. Be prepared to show your neighbor proof of where the property boundaries are.
Your neighbor may agree to move the fence at his or her expense. That’s the ideal solution.
However, moving a fence is expensive. Don’t be surprised if your neighbor is unwilling to do it. You still have options even if your neighbor refuses to move the fence.
Consider a Rental Agreement
If you have no desire to use your land that’s on the other side of the fence, renting it to your neighbor is an option. Making money is not the purpose. The annual rent should be a nominal amount like ten or twenty dollars.
Creating a rental agreement is a legal maneuver. The purpose is to make clear you retain ownership of your property on the other side of the fence.
Your rental agreement could state your neighbor may keep the fence in place until either of you decides to sell their home. The agreement should be clear your neighbor is expected to move or remove the fence when either of you puts your home on the market.
It’s important to keep the signed document in a safe place. Also, you’ll want to keep records you collected the annual rent payments.
You want access to your property, but your neighbor refuses to move the fence. A professional mediator could help both parties find an acceptable solution. Mediation service may already be available to you if you are part of a homeowners association.
Hire an Attorney
Since most homeowners want to remain on good terms with their next-door neighbors, hiring an attorney is usually a last resort. Your attorney may write a letter to your neighbor. The lawyer’s letter will probably explain the consequences of trespassing and repeat your request to move the fence.
The final option is to sue your neighbor for trespassing. If you’re the winning party, the court will order your neighbor to move the fence.
At Security Fence & Construction, we hope this disagreement with your neighbor has ended on a friendly note. If you ever need a fence on your side of the property line, we have been providing Minnesota property owners with fencing solutions since 1972. Contact us to receive a free estimate.