What will happen after I took down a fence?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2012

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What will happen after I took down a fence?

Recently I moved into a house that had a fence on a portion of the north property boundary. The lot borders a private residence on one part and land owned by the museum on the other. The fence did not connect to anything to the west and had no connecting fences on the north or south. It was falling over, had rusty barbed wire, and was an eyesore, so I removed it. The neighbor in the private lot is upset and is threatening legal action since his wife is an attorney. Does he have any claim given the fence wasn’t serving any purpose and it’s condition? What could happen to us as a result?

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer probably depends on whether the fence was fully on your property and who erected the fence.  If the fence was on your neighbor's property and/or your neighbor put it up, then you were probably wrong to take it down.  The neighbor could have a claim for Conversion, which is essentially civil theft of property in Arizona.  Try to work something out with your neighbor -- perhaps you can jointly fund a new fence.

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