My neighbor is adding a large (1000+ sq ft) two story addition to her home. She is planning to put a driveway in passing close to our shared property line.
Jb We had a survey done to establish the line. It indicates that our fence (here when we moved in 7 years ago) is approx 6 inches on her property.
What is our next step? Are we responsible to pay to move or remove the fence? She's told us that coming on her property is trespassing and we're past an amicable conversation.
2 Answers from Attorneys
If you can do some research and establish that the fence has been in its current location for at least 20 years, you may have a claim of ownership under the doctrine of adverse possession. All deeds to property are matters of public record, and if you can locate the property owner as of 1993, they may have a survey from that period or direct you to the surveyor who did that for the property prior to then. Of course, if you take this position with her it will probably lead to litigation, which would be expensive. The best solution would be for her to sell you the 6-inch strip, but it sounds like her building plans would be disrupted if she did that.
You may just leave the fence where it is, and permit the 20 years to continue to accrue toward an adverse possession claim. If she has knowledge, the burden is now on her to demand that you remove the fence, or to remove it herself. Our firm represents many title insurance companies, and this type of dispute can escalate quickly to cost a lot of money to both sides simply to establish ownership of inches. Let it lie, and you may soon increase the size of your lot.