How do I know if my neighbor’s fence is in encroachment of my property?

I purchased a house 1.5 years ago. My neighbor’s driveway is adjacent to my driveway, however his guest house has a fence around it that is clearly about 8 feet in my lot. It takes an 8×15 area of the end of my driveway. I do not know the owner, he does not live there, and I am not sure how I can find out if there’s an easement clause on my lot or if there has been any legal papers allowing them to use my land. I have received copies of survey and records from the City, but in none of them I can see them mentioning the issue. What is my next step? How can I get help with this before the statue of limitation runs out?

Asked on May 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Contact a title company to have your land resurveyed, to confirm the boundaries on your deed, etc. with their survey results, and to do a compehensive search of recorded deeds and easements--you've already done some of that, but they are professionals and this what they do: let them render a professional opinion.
If the fence is on your land, retain a real estate attorney to contact the owner: having the communication come from an attorney will add wait to it. The attorney can try to negotiate an amiable settlement; if that's not possible, the lawyer can file a legal action to have the fence removed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.