Can I remove a fence that’s encroached over my property line?

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Can I remove a fence that’s encroached over my property line?

My neighbor’s fence is encroaching onto my property. I have a certified survey that shows the encroachment. The neighbor does not want to do anything and refuses to discuss in a friendly manner. What recourse do I have besides suing her. She apparently does not have any money and doesn’t care. She has been formally made aware of the encroachment. The fence is in disrepair and had not been maintained. I am afraid that it will not survive a strong wind during our next hurricane season. I would like to remove the fence and install a new fence that will block her view of the lake. My property is lakefront but her property is not.

Asked on February 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You may legally remove a structure placed by another on your land, but be prepared that if she believes it is on her land (and she may have a survey or deed showing that it is--it is not unknown for neighbors to have surveys of the boundary line that do not agree), she may sue you for the destruction of her fence. So you can remove it if you are confident it is on your land, but be prepared for possible litigation.
Before you remove it, send her another letter letting her know that you will remove it yourself in 30 days unless she relocates it. Send the letter some way you can prove delivery and in it, recite your prior efforts to resolve amicably. If litigation does later ensue, this will help position you as having taken all reasonable steps to avoid unnecessary conflict and to give her a chance to preserve her fence by relocating it.


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