Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Hi the property we are planning to buy in California has a fence line that is built inside our property by a foot along the property line. That means the neighbors are using 100ft of the piece of our land along the fence line for the last 30 years. However previous owner paid for the property tax for the parcel on time last 30 years. In this situation, as we are planning to buy the property do you see any issues when later we rebuild the fence to the property line, would the neighbors have any legal rights to make any claims on the 100ft of property they were enjoying for the last 30 years ? Is there anything I could do to put them on notice or something like that to handle this situation now, so it does not become a problem later.

Asked on 9/09/11, 7:48 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Bakondi The Law Office of Daniel Bakondi

I have dealt with this issue, and litigated property line issues, and all of the arguments they could raise. I could write them a letter.


Daniel Bakondi, Esq.

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The Law Office of Daniel Bakondi, APLC

870 Market Street, Suite 1161

San Francisco CA 94102

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Answered on 9/10/11, 8:28 am
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

The modern trend in California decisions relating to prescriptive easement claims based on misplaced fences, etc. in urban settings is NOT to recognize an easement. The property line per the deed, and as found by a competent survey based on the recorded deed, will usually be recognized, and claims of either a prescriptive easement or an adverse possession will be rejected

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Answered on 9/11/11, 8:35 pm
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

Based on your predecessor's payment of taxes, the neighbors would not have a successful claim for adverse possession.

They may try to make a claim for a prescriptive easement. I agree with Mr. Whipple that the courts are reluctant to apply this doctrine to a boundary dispute. One of the cases that I believe that Mr. Whipple refers to is: Mehdizadeh v Mincer (1996) 46 Cal App 4th 1296. You can read that case here:

Of course, this analysis does not guarantee that the neighbors won't sue, or be a problem over the matter. It simply means the law is in your favor on this issue.

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Answered on 9/14/11, 8:39 am

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