Who si responsiblle for removing a fence from a neigbor property

My neighbor erected a privacy fence about 15 years ago when the house was originally purchased. We moved into our home around a few months prior to our neighbor. We had of land surveyed a few days ago and found out that the fence is on our property around 2 ft. The original stake is still visible and in the ground. There is not building permit on record. Who is responsible for moving the fence?

Start of Alabama

Asked on April 29, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

15 years is less than the time period for adverse possession in your state, unless the neighbor is paying taxes on that portion of your land covered by the fence or operating under "color of title" (e.g. an incorrect, but seemingly legal, deed), so they shoud not be able to claim that portion of land under adverse possession. That being the case, they have to pay to remove it--person A is not allowed to build on person's B land, and if they do, A has to bear the cost of removing and remediating (setting the land back the way it should have been). If the neighbor will not voluntarily do this, you could either proactively sue, seeking a declaratory judgment (court determination) confirming that the fence is on your land and an order that he remove it; or you could remove it yourself and sue him for the cost (though if you start to remove and he feels that it is his land, assume he will sue you for the fence and you'll then put up your own claim as a counterclaim). The litigation describe above can be very time consumming, expensive, and acrimonious; you are strongly advised to work things out amicably if at all possible, even if it means you sharing the cost.

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