Problem with Neighbor and Property Line

22 Replies

I purchased a house last year. I did not have the property surveyed. It appears the property line is in the driveway, with me owning most of the driveway. The driveway is shared with a vacant lot. The man who lives in the trailer on the other side of the vacant lot claimed he own the vacant lot. 

He constantly harasses us about the property line. He put a spike in the ground and said the city surveyed it and put the mark there. They said they don't do that and did not do that. Later he moved the mark into my side of the driveway. Now he's moved it to my property entirely and claims a city official has marked it. I know he is the one moving it. A surveyor didn't do it. He's not even claiming a surveyor did it. He says city officials are doing it for free. The city said they don't mark property lines, for free or for pay. So last week he claimed he owns all the driveway and called police on me for blocking "his" driveway. He put his house number on my property on a post. He calls police on me every time he sees me at my property on the side by him and claims I'm trespassing on him.

So anyway, I went to the courthouse to look at the deeds and plats. I own most of the driveway. He owns zero percent of the driveway. He does not own the vacant lot between our houses. It appears he is trying to claim the property by squatting and announcing constantly that he owns it. Yet, he calls the cops to come talk to me if he thinks I'm over "his" property line. I'm trying to get in contact with the owner of the lot. In the meantime, do I need to remove the spikes and poles he is putting in my driveway? Does he get to just claim he owns it if the poles are there long enough? He only started trying to claim the driveway when I bought the house. I know he will call police if I remove the spikes and poles he is putting in my side yard. He's constantly digging in my property and putting things there to mark it. The markers keep moving closer to my house. He indicated recently he owns up to the edge of my house like we don't have walking space there. I own about 6 or 8 ft on the side of my house.

If I were you, I would get the property surveyed and get an attorney. And if he comes by and bugs you again, you can say "sorry, my attorney is handling it now". Have your attorney write him a strong letter. It'll cost a few bucks, but worth it. It will also memorialize the issues in writing if he claims something later.

In these cases, the underlying legal issues are are not complicated, but it helps to get an attorney somewhat politically connected. In that case, if he calls the cops again, the politically connected lawyer can call the police commissioner and demand "what going on?". A young lawyer just out of law school can't do that.

Obviously, get a survey. Take pictures of the Todd they bury, as well as ant stakes/markers. Get copies of the deeds for the vacant lot showing a different owner along with your deed should the cops come again.

survey it then build a cinder block fence along your border.. end of discussion.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

survey it then build a cinder block fence along your border.. end of discussion.

The thing is, it's a driveway that he's arguing over so a fence wouldn't work here. The driveway is directly beside my house and I own most of it. I would prefer to be able use it. The owners of the two lots it resides in have the right to use it. That would mean I can use it, and the owner of the vacant lot can use it. This guy has no land claim to it. He is putting things in it and claiming it when his house trailer isn't even near it. His property line is about 30-40 ft away from it.  

Originally posted by @K C:
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

survey it then build a cinder block fence along your border.. end of discussion.

The thing is, it's a driveway that he's arguing over so a fence wouldn't work here. The driveway is directly beside my house and I own most of it. I would prefer to be able use it. The owners of the two lots it resides in have the right to use it. That would mean I can use it, and the owner of the vacant lot can use it. This guy has no land claim to it. He is putting things in it and claiming it when his house trailer isn't even near it. His property line is about 30-40 ft away from it.  

as much as I am not a proponent of run to the lawyer crowd on any little dispute.. this may come to that.. if you can fence it off ..

Originally posted by @K C:
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

survey it then build a cinder block fence along your border.. end of discussion.

The thing is, it's a driveway that he's arguing over so a fence wouldn't work here. The driveway is directly beside my house and I own most of it. I would prefer to be able use it. The owners of the two lots it resides in have the right to use it. That would mean I can use it, and the owner of the vacant lot can use it. This guy has no land claim to it. He is putting things in it and claiming it when his house trailer isn't even near it. His property line is about 30-40 ft away from it.  

 All the more reason you should have an attorney. He's not going to bully or BS an attorney the way he's doing it with you. 

If you are able, pull land records and see if there is an existing agreement concerning the driveway... such as easements, rights of way, shared maintenance agreement, etc. between the adjacent landowners somewhere in the chain of title. If you bought title insurance are there any agreements or instruments listed in the specific exceptions section of your policy? Even if you didn't buy title insurance, did you receive a title commitment with property info?

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :

If you are able, pull land records and see if there is an existing agreement concerning the driveway... such as easements, rights of way, shared maintenance agreement, etc. between the adjacent landowners somewhere in the chain of title. If you bought title insurance are there any agreements or instruments listed in the specific exceptions section of your policy? Even if you didn't buy title insurance, did you receive a title commitment with property info?

I didn't find anything about easements for the properties in the deeds.

Originally posted by @Jason D. :
find the owner of the vacant lot and buy/lease it from him. Then call the cops every time he steps on the property

I just talked to the actual owner. He said he forgot that he owned it. He said he will consider selling it to me if he gets an appraisal. The neighbor has been maintaining the mowing and putting his things on it for some time now and telling people it's his property. Is it possible the land does belong to this neighbor through squatter's rights now? I don't want to buy it only to find out that squatters have more rights than the actual deeded land owner. But he is trespassing on both our properties and placing "No Trespassing" signage.

Originally posted by @K C:
Originally posted by @Tom Gimer:

If you are able, pull land records and see if there is an existing agreement concerning the driveway... such as easements, rights of way, shared maintenance agreement, etc. between the adjacent landowners somewhere in the chain of title. If you bought title insurance are there any agreements or instruments listed in the specific exceptions section of your policy? Even if you didn't buy title insurance, did you receive a title commitment with property info?

I didn't find anything about easements for the properties in the deeds.

Unless your lot was previously owned by the owner of the vacant lot, an agreement such as this would not be in a deed but rather in a separate agreement recorded among the land records. You'd need to search for any agreements made by prior owners in the chain.

Squatter's rights, or adverse possession, varies from state to state. As I recall, in some states, he also has to pay taxes. I don't see what state you are located in. He may use the land to store some of the stuff, but doubt that he paid any taxes. Now if the actual owner forgot he owned it, did he forget to pay the taxes on it as well?

Originally posted by @K C:
Originally posted by @Jason DiClemente:
find the owner of the vacant lot and buy/lease it from him. Then call the cops every time he steps on the property

I just talked to the actual owner. He said he forgot that he owned it. He said he will consider selling it to me if he gets an appraisal. The neighbor has been maintaining the mowing and putting his things on it for some time now and telling people it's his property. Is it possible the land does belong to this neighbor through squatter's rights now? I don't want to buy it only to find out that squatters have more rights than the actual deeded land owner. But he is trespassing on both our properties and placing "No Trespassing" signage.

Time to research adverse possession in your neck of the woods... which is where?

I am in Kentucky. It looks like he has to squat on it for 15 years. Since he bought his own lot in 2012, it hasn't been long enough. I talked to the city and the PVA about the taxes and it is marked tax exempt and valued at zero. No tax bills have been sent to anyone. They do not have any explanation as to why that is. 

I would offer a couple grand to buy the lot .  Once you do get a copy of the deed and send it to the neighbor certified mail along with a warning not to trespass on your property .   

It seems like from your description of how close your buddy’s trailer is, the second lit away, this is too narrow to build anything on, hence low/zero assessed value. Should make it easier to buy cheap.

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :
Originally posted by @K C:
Originally posted by @Tom Gimer:

If you are able, pull land records and see if there is an existing agreement concerning the driveway... such as easements, rights of way, shared maintenance agreement, etc. between the adjacent landowners somewhere in the chain of title. If you bought title insurance are there any agreements or instruments listed in the specific exceptions section of your policy? Even if you didn't buy title insurance, did you receive a title commitment with property info?

I didn't find anything about easements for the properties in the deeds.

Unless your lot was previously owned by the owner of the vacant lot, an agreement such as this would not be in a deed but rather in a separate agreement recorded among the land records. You'd need to search for any agreements made by prior owners in the chain.

So would this information be on older deeds for the properties?

Neighbor property line battles are pain in the *** and can cost a fortune. But you can have your lawyer sent him a formal letter stating the fact and that legal action will be taken if not complying. This should scare him and he should back off. Specially if it's not even his property. Anyway best of luck.

Put on some camera & record him in action. That would help a lot when you need to take him to court, or talk to the police.

I have problems similar to this. The police can't help you, because it's a civil issue. 

You'll have to get a survey. 

After you have the survey, I would then, in full view of the neighbor, start taking his stakes out of the ground. When he complains, then you'll call the police and ask them to put in their body cameras. Call it vandalism of your property, because he buries stuff in your ground. Ask them to do a police report. 

Then you can take the police report and your survey to get an injunction against him.