What recourse do we have if my neighbor plants a tree and bushes on my property without asking and just does not care about our opinion?

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What recourse do we have if my neighbor plants a tree and bushes on my property without asking and just does not care about our opinion?

Our neighbor planted a tree and some shrubs on our property without asking us. My wife mentioned it to him and he said he checked first if it was his property. We checked our survey and called our surveyor and our surveyor told us how to check our property line. Using our surveyor’s direction, it definitely appears that the tree and shrubs are on our property. We called our town attorney and he said he cannot do anything and we must work it out. What recourse do we have if our neighbor just does not care about property lines or respect us as neighbors and just wants to do what he wants to do?

Asked on October 12, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can either tear up the plantings, wait to see if he take legal action (e.g. suing you for the destruction of the plantings), then in court, show (e.g. by surveys) that it's your property; or you can proactively bring a legal case against him for a "declaratory judgment" in which a court will determine where the boundaries are and whether he plant there. Only a court can confirm the boundaries; it's your choice whether you want to be the ones filing the lawsuit, or whether you want to take action and see if he files a lawsuit in return. In either event, do *not* let him just "confiscate" some of your land; years down the road, they can let him actually own that portion of your land, by "adverse possession."


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