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Old 04-05-2010, 11:08 PM   #1
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Property line dispute


It seems the neighbors to the north side of me are wanting to stir up trouble. They are claiming my survey is wrong and are telling me I need to have my utility meters moved off of their property and that it's been their property for 20 years and it's "going to stay that way". Never mind the fact that the utility lines/meters have probably been there for longer than 20 years!

The guy claims he knows the surveyor who I had do it, claims he just talked to him on the phone and stated the surveyor told him my property goes 1ft beyond the fence, not 19.3ft as the survey shows. Yet... I can't seem to reach the surveyor on the same number I gave him to call the surveyor on.. and that he claims he spoke to on earlier this evening, a short time before I attempted to reach him.

At first he claimed the fence posts were on their property yet the fence itself was on mine but that changed after the supposed call. He is clearly lying and trying to push his weight around.. claiming I am wrong, the survey is wrong and that the surveyor made a huge mistake.. and telling me to call the electric company tomorrow to have my meter moved. I told him I won't be calling to have that done until I clear up this dispute about the survey.

What brought this about was I had cable internet installed a few days ago and they temporarily have the cable running on top of the ground pending it being buried by someone the cable company sends out to do it. I told the neighbor I didn't mind if he needed to unhook the cable line long enough to mow so long as he puts it back. Instead he decided to unhook it tonight and toss it over the fence.

After doing this twice and me hooking it back twice, he came out along with his mother and told me it's his property, move the utilities, blahblah. After the fake phone call he acted out about 30 feet away and stated the 1ft BS, he went away. His mother told me to go ahead and hook it back but put it up high (like I did after the first time he unhooked it). So far, he hasn't touched it again since tonight.

I called the sheriff dept just to put them on notice which was a waste of time since they didn't want to bother taking down any info about the matter. Unless the guy is doing something, they won't even write anything down. I did inform them of him messing with my cable but that he has stopped for now so they felt it was resolved and since it's a civil matter (regarding property lines), they won't do anything unless he begins doing something criminal. Which I understand but I still wanted them to write some details on a sheet of paper and keep it on hand in case I come home to a broken window or something.

The seller informed me that the guy next door admitted to her that he once broke into this house and vandalized it prior to her buying it. I mentioned this to the deputy who basically yawned about it and said unless he begins throwing rocks or causing problems, they can't do anything about the dispute.

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Old 04-05-2010, 11:17 PM   #2
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Property line dispute


first, understand that a pot line dispute can get very expensive so a negotiated settlement is usually the best method.

With that said:

if the neighbor wants to dispute your survey, tell him to hire his own and you two can let the surveyors argue it (and they actually generally will.).


I don't quite understand the layout but if this guy has been using a portion of your land in excess of 20 years, he could have a claim for a prescriptive easement or even adverse possession. I don't know your state so cannot look of the statutory requirements of either.

I would strongly suggest that if there is no AP or PE claim yet, you take steps to prevent one from maturing in the future. If there is an AP claim or a PE claim, the neighbor would have to file a suit to quiet title for it to be recognized by the courts and enforceable.

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Old 04-06-2010, 12:03 AM   #3
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Property line dispute


Well, the guy who is making a ruckus about it, is the son of who owns the house next door. His mother doesn't like the prospect of it turning out to be my land either but at least she is being decent about it for now, not caring if my cable line runs across what they claim is their property .. but that my survey says is mine.

But the thing is, *I* just bought the house. Plus *MY* gas and electric meter are on the property. Their gas meter is also next to mine. but their electric meter is over on their house. So really, I am using that section of land more than they are because my utility meters are located there. It may be on the other side of a privacy fence (but not an enclosed one!) but even if they have been mowing it for the last 20 years, that doesn't make it theirs. It seems to me, they most likely won't have a legal foot to stand on.

I highly doubt they have any easement rights to it since they are seem shocked to hear that I am saying it's mine according to my survey. Calling my survey wrong, etc. Otherwise they would just come right out and say they have a legal right to it, etc.

But yes, it also has crossed my mind to suggest if they dispute my survey, for them to hire and pay for their own survey to try to prove mine wrong.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:07 AM   #4
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Property line dispute


first, understand this is not legal advice. I just happen to know a bit about this type of situation so am willing to share.

Next, what state are you in? Very important for determining what/if anything can be claimed by the neighbor.

3rd, you say this section appears to be theirs by an installed privacy fence and they maintain the area. This could be problematic for you.

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but even if they have been mowing it for the last 20 years, that doesn't make it theirs.
Well...

that all depends on a lot of other facts. It may mean they can make a legal claim to own the land. It quite possible means they do have a legal right to use the land along with you.

It sounds like you are not understanding what a prescriptive easement is. It is where a person gains legal use of another's land simply by long term use. If the legal requirements are met, they can make a legal claim to be able to continue to use that land regardless what the true owner desires. With a PE, the true owner does continue to be able to use the land as well.

With adverse possession, the user of the land, if the legal requirements are met, can actually gain title to the property. It would actually result in the land be titled to the possessors, if they took the proper legal actions to do so. As such, the person losing the land would no longer have any claim to the land.
-------------------------------------------

edit to add:

I went through some posts and discovered you are in Arkansas. I strongly suggest you contact a lawyer that understands real estate law. A quick read of the Arkansas code shows that they almost assuredly have a prescriptive easement on the land in question. Based on that, you would not be able to legally exclude the neighbors from using the land in question if they make a legal claim to it. You should engage an attorney to provide proper direction to attempt to preclude such a claim.

I do not believe they have a claim to a claim of adverse possession though. It appears that Arkansas does not allow an adverse possession claim unless the taxes on land in question were paid by the possessor. I did not read the statutes thoroughly enough to say for sure though.

Last edited by nap; 04-06-2010 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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Property line dispute


I'm guessing that there is no actual dispute as to the survey or your mortgage title company messed something up big time.

Like most things in life, a couple hundred $ spent with a land use attorney in your area may be priceless. Don't deal with the neighbor, let your attorney do it.

Sorry, seems like you bought into a crappy situation.

BTW - 'my' transformer sits about six inches off my property line, but it still sits within the city's utility easement, so my neighbors can't be angry.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
.

Sorry, seems like you bought into a crappy situation.

y.
Leah, have you read Cubey's other posts? If not, you have to. If your choice of terms is accidental, it is quite humorous. Not for Cubey, but to an outsider..
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:32 AM   #7
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Based on that, you would not be able to legally exclude the neighbors from using the land in question if they make a legal claim to it. You should engage an attorney to provide proper direction to attempt to preclude such a claim.
Here's the thing, it's such a tiny, odd shaped sliver of land, if they have a legal right/easement to it (while it's still my property), I don't really care. What I do care about, easement or no, is the guy trying to bully me into having my utilities moved off my own property because it's on "their side" of the fence.

The neighbor claimed last night that the surveyor told him over the phone it isn't 19.3ft, but 1ft past the fence. I spoke with the surveyor this morning myself. He agreed that he did speak with the neighbor but outright denied telling him it was 1ft. He told me that he told the guy he couldn't exactly remember the distance right off hand. The neighbor had told me also the surveyor was coming over right then (at 9:30pm) who of course never showed. When I mentioned this to the surveyor this morning, we both had a bit of a laugh, like: "yeah, I didn't think you were going to drop everything at 9:30 at night and come down here to put up flags".

Anyhow, the surveyor seems to be upholding his survey as being accurate to the point that he told me he even pulled up the deed from the court house to the neighbor's property because the deed on this one was a bit vague so he had to do the survey slightly based on their own deed for that stretch of the property line, that they are now disputing. So from what I can gather, they seem to be disputing their own publicly recorded deed's statement of where their property line runs.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:36 AM   #8
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Property line dispute


just to be sure; was this a stake/line survey or just a mortgage survey?

a mortgage survey is not reliable for establishing accurate lot lines.

Did the surveyor find or drive corner pins?
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:39 AM   #9
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Property line dispute


Here in Missouri, they would have to have a record of paying property taxes on it to do anything. If they have, you could probably sue your title search company. When the house next door to me sold, I tried to get the real estate agents to tell the prospective buyers that my property line was within 5 feet of the house, but most of them lied to the buyers anyway. When the buyer had it surveyed and found out I was right, it was too late for them to do anything.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:49 AM   #10
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Here in Missouri, they would have to have a record of paying property taxes on it to do anything. If they have, you could probably sue your title search company. When the house next door to me sold, I tried to get the real estate agents to tell the prospective buyers that my property line was within 5 feet of the house, but most of them lied to the buyers anyway. When the buyer had it surveyed and found out I was right, it was too late for them to do anything.
My understanding about deeds vs paying taxes would be this: If my survey along the property line between their house and mine is based on THEIR deed, wouldn't the portion of land they pay taxes on END on the exact property line that their deed and my survey corroborate? Their property taxes should be based on their deed. Unless their deed says it's their land (which the surveyor says he double checked about so there would be no mistake) then they wouldn't ever have paid a cent on that piece of property.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:55 AM   #11
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Property line dispute


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Originally Posted by nap View Post
just to be sure; was this a stake/line survey or just a mortgage survey?

a mortgage survey is not reliable for establishing accurate lot lines.

Did the surveyor find or drive corner pins?
A stake/line survey. The lender (USDA) required it. He found various markers including a cement highway right of way marker along the end of the front of my property. He had to measure from the disputing neighbor's property (from a marker he found down there) as well to make sure. His assistant should have put a rebar marker at the corner where the neighbor's are disputing and said he'd make sure one gets put in, in case he forgot do it before. Also he is going to reflag everything for me and put the neighbor's on notice about it where the true property line runs.

The guy isn't going to be happy but too damn bad. He was acting like he's such buddy-buddies with the surveyor who has a legal obligation to tell the truth about the survey he already did months ago and that has been legally recorded. He if were to try to say "oops, I made a mistake" the state and USDA would probably down upon him questioning his practices.

I never expected him to do that. He seems like a perfectly legit surveyor who is also one of the few people around here also licensed by the state of Arkansas to do septic inspections, which I also had him do for the purchase of the house as mandated by the USDA.

Last edited by Cubey; 04-06-2010 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:57 AM   #12
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I think you are right. I don't know how anyone could pay tax on something that isn't theirs either, but that's the way the law reads here.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:59 PM   #13
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I think you are right. I don't know how anyone could pay tax on something that isn't theirs either, but that's the way the law reads here.
It's easy. They go down to the treasures office and pay the tax bill and get a receipt in their name. If the owner is not paying attention and doesn't notice no tax bill, they can lose a lot. Especially when the taxes are paid via an escrow account, it is easy for an owner to not realize somebody else is paying the taxes.

also, from my quick read of the Arkansas code, the claim for adverse possession must be under the color of title. That means that either due to a defective land description on a deed or a defective deed (such as the grantor did not have legal rights to grant the deed), the person claiming adverse possession must have had supportable reason they believed they actually owned the land.

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A stake/line survey
.good.

Quote:
the surveyor who has a legal obligation to tell the truth about the survey he already did months ago
haven't checked Arkansas but surveyors in most states are licensed and their surveys are legally dependable in court. They have a very high standard to meet. I would imagine Arkansas is no different, basically, that other states in this point.

It still sounds like this guy might have a prescriptive easement claim. If so, while you would not be able to prevent his use of the land, he could not prevent you from using your own land either. Speak with an attorney to find out how much the neighbor can demand from you without actually taking this to court. If the two of you could come to a out of court solution, I can assure you it would be much cheaper than going to court.

On the other side though, I tend to want to have as much control of my property as possible so I am not very amiable to settling for less than claiming all of my rights.

Generally, if the other party is not willing to go to court over the issue, you can simply send a demand letter they not trespass. Of course, you will have to enforce the no trespass demand. If they want to insist on claiming a PE or even AP, they will have to go to court to ask the courts to enforce their rights.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:50 PM   #14
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Property line dispute


The whole thing about it is.. the guy who is raising such a stink doesn't even own the house next door. It's owned by this mother. The ownership/deed is in his mother's name. His mother cares a lot less about my utility meters and cable running there than her son does. I don't give a flip what HE thinks since he's not the owner of the property. It's his mother's. His mother would have to try to claim easement, etc. Also... as far as taxes go, this house was a foreclosure that a friend of mine bought and paid all back due taxes on. She then poured a bunch of money into it planning to rent it out but then I wanted to buy it from her, so I did. So as far as taxes go, up to now, the taxes have definitely NOT been paid by the folks next door. I have a direct federal government loan and I qualify for a "homestead tax credit" which nearly knocks the tax down to nothing. Yes, it's being paid out of escrow as well the insurance as of next year. (I had to pay a year of insurance up front). The escrow I am paying right now is toward next year. And as far as their "usage" of it, I don't care if they wanna walk around on it, let their dog poop on it. It's on the other side of the privacy fence. They are mowing it and maintaining it so I really don't care if they have permitted usage of it. What I do care about is the son trying to bully/deceive me, telling me it's their property, "always has been, always will be" when I have every legal right to it as my own. The surveyor has denied the things the son has told me that he claimed the surveyor said so clearly the guy is a bold faced liar and trouble maker.

Last edited by Cubey; 04-06-2010 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:52 PM   #15
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Property line dispute


get the surveyor to pound corner pins in and build a 6 ft fence 2 inches inside your property line.

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