Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Louisiana

LA. Law of Acquisitive Prescription

We built a new home on our lot with no fence. The next door neighbor put up a fence that is partly over the property line onto our property. I have no problem with where the fence is, however, should I have the need to sell the property in the futhur I feel this could cause us to have to redefine the property lines thus giving up a small part of our property to him. I asked him to sign a statement acknowledging that the fence is partly over onto my property. I explained why, and he just insulted me and said he wouldn't sign anything. I want to get the issue settled before the 10 year period is up. How can I get this settled without too much cost and get it settled properly? Also what can you give me in a brief explanation of the Louisiana prescription law in a matter of this type?

Asked on 2/12/07, 1:28 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Myrna Arroyo Myrna E. Arroyo, LLC
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Re: LA. Law of Acquisitive Prescription

The prescription period for a boundary encroachment is 30 years.

The best strategy is to get your neighbor to sign an Acknowledgment of No Adverse Possession (have an attorney prepare this for you). This will prevent the thirty year prescription period from beginning to run. It will also give any future purchaser of the property the right to ask your neighbor to remove the fence.

He is clearly in the wrong here. He had no right to build over your property line barring your permission, which I take it you did not provide. If he still refuses to sign, you can either sue him to move the fence, or make him to buy the encroached-on portion of your lot. Either way, you will want to have your survey updated to show where the encroachment is, as you will need to reference that in the Agreement or lawsuit. If you come to any kind of agreement on the boundary line, you will want to have it recorded in your Parish. You will also need to disclose this issue to any potential purchaser of your property.

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2/12/07, 3:33 pm
Johm Smith tom's
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Re: LA. Law of Acquisitive Prescription

Very briefly, you will need to either force your neighbor to get off your property or consent in writing that he is on your property only with your permission. Otherwise, you will eventually lose ownership to that part of your land. If he has been on your land longer than one year, your options change because every landowner is expected to take action as soon as they realize that someone is on their land. Maybe your neighbor's contractor made a mistake, but now your neighbor is hoping to get your land for free. Just remember that you need to see an attorney about this and may have to sue to get the neighbor to move the fence; you are not authorized under the law to use violence. You should consult a local attorney ASAP.

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2/12/07, 3:36 pm

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