I see where someone else e-mailed you about a fence problem, so I am doing the same. There has been a chain link fence in place for possibly thirty years, which belongs to my neighbor. My neighbor and I have not been getting along and we wanted to put up a wooden privacy fence.  We had a land surveyor come and find the  property stake so we would make sure to be on our property.  The property stake was found about 6" under the newly poured driveway of my neighbor. He says that because the fence has been up for so long the property now belongs to him.  (The fence is about a foot over on my property.) Can I legally make him move the fence and driveway?  (name withheld)


I am not attorney and naturally you would consult one before taking this old fencer's advice. That having been said, here is what I have experienced, since being in the fence business has always presented me with these challenges.

You could require the concrete and fence, or any other item that was placed on your property to be removed. You can keep items of great value, such as buried trunks of gold coins. Don't tell anyone, just in case.

There is talk of an old law that says, if you use or maintain a portion of land without anyone contesting it, that property would become yours legally after so many years. I believe that's an old squatter's law and I have never seen it happen. I have heard many times that this could apply to a situation where, if you mow a lot long enough, the lot becomes yours. I wouldn't count on that either.

Hopefully you can resolve the situation with your neighbor amiably. In most cases of that sort that I have seen, one neighbor ends up buying the footage from the other so they don't have to tear out the improvements. This is only possible if you end up with a legally minimum size lot for your locale and both parties agree.

Logic dictates that you can not encroach on your neighbor's property without serious consequences or otherwise what would be the sense of having property lines. The law is not always logical though. It is more of an art than a science, in my humble opinion.

Frank Hoover
Hoover Fence Co.
Sept. 13, 1999