If we recently had a survey done and our neighbor’s fence is 13 feet over our property line, are we liable if their dogs bite someone on what is our property?

They use the fence for their dogs, who they have told me twice since we moved, will bite.

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you could be held liable if an attack takes place on your land, since, with knowledge of a risk (that the dogs bite), you allowed dangerous animals on your land. Having knowledge of a risk and failing to take steps to reduce or eliminate the threat makes one negligent, and therefore liable for any resulting injuries. You should speak with a real estate attorney about how to go about having your neighbors move the fence to their property line; in addition to the liability issue, do you want to pay taxes on land you get no use or benefit from? And having your neighbors effectively claiming part of your land could complicate selling in the future.


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