California  |  Real Estate Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 7/20/13, 6:29 pm

My husband bought his home in Northern California in 2000. His property came with an existing fence. A portion of this fence abuts up to the garage of one of his neighbors. It essentially encloses the side space between his and his neighbor's garage. When my husband toured the property before he bought it, he was told the side yard was part of the home’s lot & the neighbor's garage was the property line. The fence was even included in a picture on the home’s sales flyer.

It has now been thirteen years that my husband has undisputedly owned and maintained this side yard and fence. Lately, the neighbor has become extremely pushy about “reclaiming” this space as his even though it was there before my husband even bought the place – our understanding is that it was there before the neighbor bought his house too (which was just a few months before my husband).

He wants us to pay 1/2 for a surveyor to come out or otherwise provide legal proof that its ours. So here are my two questions: 1. Doesn’t the fact that my husband bought it with the understanding it was part of the property; has maintained it; paid taxes on it; owned it undisputed all these years mean the side yard is his? It is totally preposterous to us that the neighbor just expects us to tear down the fence and essentially hand him the side yard b/c he says so. 2. The neighbor is stating now that he will call the City whenever he can to “report” us for anything/everything in retaliation for not tearing down the fence; he has already threatened to call Animal Control about our “dangerous dogs” should we ever bring them over into our back yard. (Our dogs have actually never been over there; he’s never met them, doesn’t know what kind they are - but he plans to call Animal Control to claim they’re dangerous if we ever do). I’m pretty certain the use of City Services to file claims with the sole intent to harass someone is illegal – any advice on how to make this stop.

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