Current property lines and survey doesn't match

11 Replies

I would like to know if anyone has had this problem.

I'm going to the be owner of a new property TOMORROW, got the survey on Friday from title company and just come to find that my property line doesn't match the survey on record.

Technically I have the end of the driveway as my property line in the survey but in fact I have the drive-way and about an extra five feet (5x132) and then a chain link fence (which is what I thought was the property line)

What do I do in this case? I can see google street views dating 2009 the fence was existing. According to adverse possession in an extra 14yrs that section becomes mine.

Not so fast. Are you satisfying all elements of AP in your state? Including payment if taxes of the other parcel?

Nope, this is a lot line matter, that's all.

I have never met a fence installer who either understood surveying, real estate title or even cared. They put in a fence post in one corner, then the next, and ran fence in between. I've paid to have several long 1,000+ foot fences. 

If it's a big deal to you, inform your neighbor in writing and keep it friendly. If they're encroaching on your property, give them an easement or a license. If you're encroaching, be grateful and keep silent. 

Is it worth stirring up or would your time be better spent doing deals and making money?

Well my exit strategy for this property was a rehab and sell it to a retail buyer. I don't have an issue at the moment as I'm the one benefiting from the use of his land. I have a bigger lot but I'm thinning 3-6months ahead when I go to sell the property and the buyer does the same search. What do I tell them? 

I wasn't planning on extending onto that piece of land in question, but I'm concerned would be the word.

@Federico Gutierrez

I'm not sure what the problem is.  Your property boundary line is what is shown on the survey.  There is no "technicality" involved...if the survey is correct, then that is what the title company is insuring and what the surveyor is warranting as being correct. 

Sure, you can treat it as your land, just like you can treat your neighbors car as your car, but neither action changes the fact the land nor the car is yours. Because the neighbor has allowed you to use his/her land doesn't in and of itself make it yours.  Each state has adverse possession laws which must be strictly adhered to for obvious reasons. If you want to try and take land, you must do so legally so seek legal counsel as to your state's laws regarding same.  Merely "treating" a piece of land as yours will not satisfy the hurdle to take land under AP.  

We ran into this in our primary home. The fence has been up for probably 50 years and we bought the house 5 years ago assuming the fence was the property line. Oh no. It's 2 feet into our space. The neighbors wanted to build a new fence and guess who lost 2 feet of their yard? Fences are often not built on the line apparently. Depending on how long the people who own the other house have lived there I probably wouldn't worry about it or make a big deal about it. You most likely won't ever get an AP judgment. In disclosures just disclose it so you aren't hiding anything.
Originally posted by @Federico Gutierrez :

Well my exit strategy for this property was a rehab and sell it to a retail buyer. I don't have an issue at the moment as I'm the one benefiting from the use of his land. I have a bigger lot but I'm thinning 3-6months ahead when I go to sell the property and the buyer does the same search. What do I tell them? 

I wasn't planning on extending onto that piece of land in question, but I'm concerned would be the word.

 The best way around the fence issue is to simply disclose this information when marketing the property. If you hire a real estate agent insert the disclosure in the listing agreement and make them aware of it, and then when negotiating the sale insert a paragraph in your response or if you accept; write an acceptance letter with a paragraph identifying the encroachment of the fence into neighboring land.

@Rick Harmon  is right these fence issue arise often in residential real estate. The time and effort some put into attempting to figure out how to "own" the land is silly. Adverse possession laws differ by state, but there are some commonalities in AP in that they take years, and typically have a requirement of prescriptive use and payment of property taxes over whatever number of years. In a fixNflip it hardly worth thinking about except to disclose and CYA.

Personally, it's impacted three of my own personal primary residences over the years. It's never become an issue, but I acknowledged the issues with benefiting/detriment party in a friendly manner. In all my cases the OP, or at least that properties owner, had been the installer of the fence. 

I wanted to update everyone that made mentions on here.

I found out that the 5ftx132ft is an actual parcel owned by the Cleveland city (some how they declared it was vacant) I have to put in an applicaton to try attain this parcel. I was informed the neighbor on the other side of the chain fence is also got an application for that parcel.  What to do?

Well, it sounds a little narrow to build on so not sure how much market value it would have. Who constructed the fence? The previous owner of your property? The city? Is there anything "underground" there? ie, pipe, gas line, power cable, etc?

Surveying over today is more precise than it was 20-30 years prior. a superior overview can impact a properties. You have to take the suggestion of a lawyer.

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