Property line ecroachment

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Property line ecroachment

I bought the house 2 years ago, now I want to build a detached garage. I start looking at my property lines and I realized that what I have do not match with Assessor’s Map. In one side of the lot the fence is 5 feet inside my property, it looks that has been that way for several years. The neighbor’s property is a rental, I already talk to the owners, they are not convinced or not willing to listen to my request. I offered to move the fence myself, I will take care of all costs of moving or erecting new fence. A survey was done, I was right, but neighbor not interested in doing anything o do not care. Can I get in a lot of trouble if I move the fence?

Asked on October 12, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you move the fence without your neighbor's consent or a court order (see below), you will be committing a crime: vandalizing another's property. What you can do is bring a legal action (lawsuit) in which you present your survey (and have to have the surveying company send a representative to testify) and seek both a declaratory judgment (enforceable court determination) of where the boundary is and that the fence is encroaching on your land, plus a court order directing the neighbor to move it (you can offer to pay for the cost). Such a lawsuit is procedurally more complex than, say, bringing a small claims case; you are advised to retain an attorney to help you, though you allowed to represent yourself on a "pro as" basis.


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