If we purchased a house thatalready hada fence that encroaches on our neighbor’s property, who is responsible for moving it?

We bought a home 2 months ago. A fence was mistakenly put on part of our neighbor’s property before we bought the house. Now the neighbors want the fence moved. Who is responsible for moving the fence? The neighbors who want the fence moved, moved in years ago and the fence was already up. They want us to move it. We don’t know if they have a leg to stand on. Do they?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you purchased a home where there is an existing fence upon your neighbor's property and these neighbor's want it moved and relocated, it is up to them to do so if you do not want to relocate it yourself.

The reason for the above answer is that you did not place the fence at its current location, the prior owners of your property did.

If the prior owners placed the fence at its current location, potentially a prescriptive easement may have resulted where you do not even have to agree to have the fence relocated. The elements for a prescriptive easement is the open, uninterrupted, hostile, exclusive use of that property for more than five years where no property taxes were ever paid by your predecessor for that property being enclosed.

You should consult with a real estate attorney regarding your options stated above.

Good question.


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