Can we move or force my neighbor to movea fence that is on our property line?

7 years ago our neighbor put a replacement fence on the property line. He put the fence right back on the line but put the posts and cement footing on our side of the fence. We didn’t say anything then, but recently decided to erect our own fence and our survey clearly shows the posts to be on our property. Our neighbor refuses to allow us to move it even at our own expense. Who legally owns a fence placed directly on the property line? Can we remove the fence/posts without his permission? If not, what recourse do we have to force him to move it?

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your neighbor may not put any structure, including fence posts, on your property. Your best, however, rather than simply removing it yourself, is to take you neighbor to court and seek a court declaration that the posts are on your land and order than he move it. The reason is, a single survey is not necessarily dispositive--you'd be surprised how often surveys are wrong. Your survey could be in error, your neighbor could have a survey to the contrary...get the court to declare whose land the posts are on, rather than move them, and risk having the tenant try to call the police on you and/or sue you for destruction of his property.

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