Property Boundary Dispute

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Background:
My dad's neighbor has constantly claimed part of my dad's yard as his. (He moved in next door after my dad had lived there for about 10 years). All the antidotal evidence I have gathered (it's a borough in Pennsylvania with approx .2acres size lots) shows it should be my dad's property. However, neither side has wanted to pay for a survey.

Today:
He spray paints lines approx 8 feet inside what we believe to be the boundary, and it looks like he's got a stack of 6x6's and he's going to build right down the yard. (He's already moved things in my parents garden which has been there for decades and we have old old pictures of it's location, but they have no proof he moved it). It looks like he's going to put everything in this weekend.

since it's the weekend - Should my dad just
1. Let him do it (Document with a camera what he's doing?)
2. Call the police
3. Confront the guy (or put up some nice no trespassing signs and then video tape the guy taking them down?)


Yes he needs to call a Lawyer on Monday. I told him that about 10 times but he's pretty thick (can't say I'm much different).

from a financial perspective I don't see an alternative to racking up some Lawyer bills. Confronting the guy hasn't seemed to work (I talked to him nicely once before, but that didn't seem to do much).

i'll try to get some pictures up later. (some pictures are now posted further in the thread)


UPDATE: survey is completed. Thread reopened believe the neighbor moved the survey pins.

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Personally I'm a fan of what this guy installed on his house due to a bad neighbor.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6c9_13... (more)

alchemist (Jan. 04, 2014 @ 8:59p) |

who asked u fartface

NubileGrandma (Jan. 04, 2014 @ 9:28p) |

this?

or the boulder idea- that's way better 

wow this is old why did it get pulled up nubile gma

johnfkennedy (Jan. 06, 2014 @ 7:11p) |

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filliy said:   neither side has wanted to pay for a survey.

Please check back with us once this has been done.

<end thread>

So just let him build this weekend is your opinion? Get a lawyer and order a survey and then force him to tear it out. Sounds reasonable to me.

Send him a certified letter saying you dispute his interpretation of the boundary line -- that way he can't make any adverse possession claims.

Keep a copy of that letter and the certified mail receipt in a safe place.

Instead of racking up a bunch of lawyer bills wouldn't the best solution be that they split the cost of a survey.

Pay the money to get the survey...

As for blocking the stuff from being built I guess they can call the cops and say the neighbor is trespassing on the property, but given they haven't taken action before that is probably going to be a hard sell to the cops and they will almost certainly consider it a civil dispute that they should not be involved in. At best the cops might say don't build that right now before a survey is done, but more likely they will say this isn't our problem.

I really don't know what to say about this... The solution to this was so simple... get a survey done. This should have been done when the debate first started and would give your parents so many more options and probably would not require a lawyer. Give the cops a recent survey showing that the land is yours and they would easily enforce the no trespassing. Now they waited so it is going to be a much bigger problem.

I guess the only other thing would be call a few survey companies and try to get one done today however much it costs as it is probably cheaper than what a lawyer will end up being and the lawyer will want a survey done anyways. I doubt that a survey can be done so fast though.

I would put up no trespassing signs... they can't really hurt as far as I can tell and will at least make it clear that your parents consider the land theirs and notified the neighbor, but I have no idea if this would help legally.

I am not a lawyer and this info could be horribly wrong and actually end up hurting you in the long run... please see a lawyer for legit advice.

LordB said:   Pay the money to get the survey...

As for blocking the stuff from being built I guess they can call the cops and say the neighbor is trespassing on the property, but given they haven't taken action before that is probably going to be a hard sell to the cops and they will almost certainly consider it a civil dispute that they should not be involved in. At best the cops might say don't build that right now before a survey is done, but more likely they will say this isn't our problem.

I really don't know what to say about this... The solution to this was so simple... get a survey done. This should have been done when the debate first started and would give your parents so many more options and probably would not require a lawyer. Give the cops a recent survey showing that the land is yours and they would easily enforce the no trespassing. Now they waited so it is going to be a much bigger problem.

I guess the only other thing would be call a few survey companies and try to get one done today however much it costs as it is probably cheaper than what a lawyer will end up being and the lawyer will want a survey done anyways. I doubt that a survey can be done so fast though.

I would put up no trespassing signs... they can't really hurt as far as I can tell and will at least make it clear that your parents consider the land theirs and notified the neighbor, but I have no idea if this would help legally.

I am not a lawyer and this info could be horribly wrong and actually end up hurting you in the long run... please see a lawyer for legit advice.


If you put up no trespassing signs, take pictures. This is also to prevent adverse possession claims. Print and save photos in a safe place.

Adverse possession in PA is 21 years so I think that shouldn't be a problem. (If anything we can probably substantiate the previous owners and my parents have my have been occupying part of that land in the form of a parking space for over 21 years without any disputes from the previous owners)

My dad was perturbed enough he got in the car and disappeared for the afternoon to prevent a confrontation so I can't get ahold of him at the moment. I'm going to tell him to take lots of pictures and get a survey in the works ASAP and then go from there. (I guess if the surveyor says it's not my Dad's that will clear it up anyway without any additional lawyer cost.)

filliy said:   Background:
My dad's neighbor has constantly claimed part of my dad's yard as his. (He moved in next door after my dad had lived there for about 10 years). All the antidotal evidence I have gathered (it's a borough in Pennsylvania with approx .2acres size lots) shows it should be my dad's property. However, neither side has wanted to pay for a survey.

Today:
He spray paints lines approx 8 feet inside what we believe to be the boundary, and it looks like he's got a stack of 6x6's and he's going to build right down the yard. (He's already moved things in my parents garden which has been there for decades and we have old old pictures of it's location, but they have no proof he moved it). It looks like he's going to put everything in this weekend.

since it's the weekend - Should my dad just
1. Let him do it (Document with a camera what he's doing?)
2. Call the police
3. Confront the guy (or put up some nice no trespassing signs and then video tape the guy taking them down?)

Are your county property records/maps available online? If you can get the lot measurements from that, and rough out the boundries, it wont be exact but should give an general indication of who's right.

filliy said:   Background:
My dad's neighbor has constantly claimed part of my dad's yard as his. (He moved in next door after my dad had lived there for about 10 years). All the antidotal evidence I have gathered (it's a borough in Pennsylvania with approx .2acres size lots) shows it should be my dad's property. However, neither side has wanted to pay for a survey.

Today:
He spray paints lines approx 8 feet inside what we believe to be the boundary, and it looks like he's got a stack of 6x6's and he's going to build right down the yard. (He's already moved things in my parents garden which has been there for decades and we have old old pictures of it's location, but they have no proof he moved it). It looks like he's going to put everything in this weekend.

since it's the weekend - Should my dad just
1. Let him do it (Document with a camera what he's doing?)
2. Call the police
3. Confront the guy (or put up some nice no trespassing signs and then video tape the guy taking them down?)


Yes he needs to call a Lawyer on Monday. I told him that about 10 times but he's pretty thick (can't say I'm much different).

from a financial perspective I don't see an alternative to racking up some Lawyer bills. Confronting the guy hasn't seemed to work (I talked to him nicely once before, but that didn't seem to do much).

i'll try to get some pictures up later.


Tell him to get a survey. That's what the lawyer will say. Why are people some damn dumb?

It's his business. Stay out of it. Don't compound the stupidity.

I was on a jury once. The case was 2 old guys arguing over property lines. Instead of getting a survey they fought over who owned a ditch that ran between their property. One day while arguing, one old guy picked up a board and hit the other. Killing him. Now this 65 year old man is in prison.

Tell your dad to stop being a freaking idiot and get a survey. Then step away. Let him waste his time and energy arguing with another old man over nothing.

County maps are online.. they are not accurate though.

A good part of the problem is the deeds are not written "modernly" My dad's property is so many perches from so many perches from the neighbor on the left who is so many feet from a tree (which no longer exists) and a gravel alley for buggy (which is now a much wider paved alley for cars) type of deal. That's not it exactly, but should give the idea. I have to do something productive today but I'll try and get up a bunch of info for the curious later.

LordB said:   Pay the money to get the survey...

As for blocking the stuff from being built I guess they can call the cops and say the neighbor is trespassing on the property, but given they haven't taken action before that is probably going to be a hard sell to the cops and they will almost certainly consider it a civil dispute that they should not be involved in. At best the cops might say don't build that right now before a survey is done, but more likely they will say this isn't our problem.

I really don't know what to say about this... The solution to this was so simple... get a survey done. This should have been done when the debate first started and would give your parents so many more options and probably would not require a lawyer. Give the cops a recent survey showing that the land is yours and they would easily enforce the no trespassing. Now they waited so it is going to be a much bigger problem.

I guess the only other thing would be call a few survey companies and try to get one done today however much it costs as it is probably cheaper than what a lawyer will end up being and the lawyer will want a survey done anyways. I doubt that a survey can be done so fast though.

I would put up no trespassing signs... they can't really hurt as far as I can tell and will at least make it clear that your parents consider the land theirs and notified the neighbor, but I have no idea if this would help legally.

I am not a lawyer and this info could be horribly wrong and actually end up hurting you in the long run... please see a lawyer for legit advice.


Putting up signs on property that another considers their own is dumb. That is begging for a fist fight. Get a survey, until then let the man build a meth lab if he wants.

GET A DAMN SURVEY and do not do or say another thing to this guy.

filliy said:   County maps are online.. they are not accurate though.

A good part of the problem is the deeds are not written "modernly" My dad's property is so many perches from so many perches from the neighbor on the left who is so many feet from a tree (which no longer exists) and a gravel alley for buggy (which is now a much wider paved alley for cars) type of deal. That's not it exactly, but should give the idea. I have to do something productive today but I'll try and get up a bunch of info for the curious later.


That is what survey companies do, damn it. What is wrong with you?

Lots of aerial photography websites mark property boundaries in their photos.

Just one thing to add - make sure your property survey is RECORDED. There may already be a recorded survey on file at your county recorder's office.

BTW - a survey may take several weeks. My surveyor found pins several blocks from my house in all directions. Cost was $1200. It stopped all nonsense from my neighbors immediately. Worth every penny.

*May not be in your favor but at least you will know.

. He is going to call up and get a survey moving.

The comment about to old guys going at it with 2/4 is pretty close.

I'd ignore it but living 4 blocks away makes it a bit more difficult.

My understanding is he did look into a survey about five years ago, but the surveyor he talked to said that because of the way deeds are written you technically have to re survey more than just my dads to get an legal bpundary because every deed is dependent on the one next to it and some of the stuff is pretty hazy. Any survey would be somewhat interpretive and a different surveyor could easily reach a different conclusion. That's sounds a bit odd to me...we'll see. We are talking about a subdivision from the 1800s so this is well before gps

I'm as cheap as the next FW guy but this is a time to put up money for a survey and settle this before they start shooting at each other.

filliy said:   . We are talking about a subdivision from the 1800s so this is well before gps

And? Surveys (and surveyors) existed well before GPS. Surveys were made from known points and measured out with a compass and chains originally. GPS isn't needed for a survey, it just makes things faster and easier.

SecondGunman said:   filliy said:   . We are talking about a subdivision from the 1800s so this is well before gps

And? Surveys (and surveyors) existed well before GPS. Surveys were made from known points and measured out with a compass and chains originally. GPS isn't needed for a survey, it just makes things faster and easier.


I am no expert but dont think GPS are accurate enough for surveys.

gruntwork said:   SecondGunman said:   filliy said:   . We are talking about a subdivision from the 1800s so this is well before gps

And? Surveys (and surveyors) existed well before GPS. Surveys were made from known points and measured out with a compass and chains originally. GPS isn't needed for a survey, it just makes things faster and easier.


I am no expert but dont think GPS are accurate enough for surveys.
They also use GPS for wetland survey boundaries, so its accurate.

PARTS of the survey might be open to interpretation, but the disputed area might be black & white to where your father can tell him to get off the land.

JaxFL said:    They also use GPS for wetland survey boundaries, so its accurate.
Right on... should have googled first. gps.gov link

ok this is a big chunk of text.. but I like to read details of things on fatwallet so read if you wish - skip if you wish.

Obviously the surveyor will make the determination and I'm just looking from a limited perspective, but here's a few notes for the curious. By GPS I meant using hour/minute boundaries for deeds instead of landmarks - apologize if that caused confusion.

I didn't include the entire block - but interestingly if I add the total width of all of the lots on the block per deeds it exceeds the entire length of the block by about 20 feet. This might be notable given the deed description on the property the boundary dispute is with.


Neighbor to the left - not the disputed line (looks like a simple 66x165ft rectangle The boundaries begin at the alley intersection but the Alley boundary is determined but the next property up the road - it seems every property is based on the one beside it looking up the street and no recorded Surveys that i can find.)

Beginning at the southwesterly internestion of North Main Street and Cherry Alley. thence in a southerly directoin along the westerly right of way line of North Main Street, 66 feet to a point, thence in a southwesterly direction along lands formerly owned by W Krise a distance of 165 feet to a point on the easterly right of way line of a 20 foot wide alley known as Alley; thence along the easterly right of way line of said Alley in a northerly direction a distance of 66 feet to the southesternly interaction of said Alley and Cherry Allen; thence along the southerly right of way line of Cerry Alley a 20 foot wide right of way in a Northeasterly direction a distance of 165 feet to a point located at teh southwesterly intersection of said Cherry Alley and North Main Street being the place of beginning.

My Dads (looks like a pretty simple rectangle with position based on the neighboring lots)

Beginning at Main Street, thence west along lot now or formerly of O Funk, 10 perches to an alley, thence north along said alley, 4 perches to lot now of Thomas Moore, 10 perches to Main Street thence south along the said Main Street 4 perches to the place of beginning.

Neighbor to the right (the one with the property line in question) Note the Subjectivity in this description that seems odd to me.

Bounded on the North by lot formerly of the Estate of Margaret Thomas; on the West by an Alley; on the South by lot formerly of John Delaney; et ux; on the East by Main Street; CONTAINTING in length (10) perches, more or less, and in width four (4) perches, more or less, refereed to in a former deed as Lot No 34. in the building plans of the Borough.

Why does the neighbor think it's his land? Even though you says he doesn't have a survey, maybe he has one from when he purchased the house?


untitled
Disclaimer
Here's a picture from the county GIS mapping system.

#1. is my dad's property
#2. is the property adjacent with the line in question

The orange lines are drawn by the county and match up pretty closely with what we think the boundary is. (Our guess is the orange line needs to be shifted in the neighbors favor about 2-3 feet.

the blue line I added is where the neighbor believes the line should be.. approx 12 feet off his house and 2 feet off my parents instead of visa/versa


spac3d - The Neighbors basis for the dispute is there is an electric pole on exactly on that blue line midway into my parents (or his) property - and someone at the electric company told him the pole was placed on the boundary line. (Note there is NO record of any right of ways on for his pole recorded anywhere. Perhaps the electric company has something on file buried from decades ago but the neighbor has never provided anything to substantiate that claim other than "he talked to someone")

Why doesn't the orange line on the other neighbor go all the way to the pavement? Your neighbor may be right - but your dad may also gain on the other side.

Get the survey and accept the outcome whatever it may be.

Again, official survey is needed, but it does seem unlikely that the setback is only two feet for your dad's property. I realized that there are zero lot line properties, but that looks more like a more traditional neighborhood, which typically have ~5 foot setbacks.

It does also seem like the lines on map are not terribly accurate, as some houses seem to have the lot line passing through the front of the house.

Would it not be wise to inform the neighbor that your dad is now deciding to pay for a survey and intends to follow its results... making building a fence ahead of a survey possibly a big waste of time? If the neighbor has a survey, as Spac3d commented, your dad would probably like to have a copy or read it over. If he hasn't got one, he'd probably want to avoid spending a weekend building a fence he'd be ordered to remove.

filliy said:   
I didn't include the entire block - but interestingly if I add the total width of all of the lots on the block per deeds it exceeds the entire length of the block by about 20 feet.
How did you measure the actual length of the block?

Neighbor to the right (the one with the property line in question) Note the Subjectivity in this description that seems odd to me.

Bounded on the North by lot formerly of the Estate of Margaret Thomas; on the West by an Alley; on the South by lot formerly of John Delaney; et ux; on the East by Main Street; CONTAINTING in length (10) perches, more or less, and in width four (4) perches, more or less, refereed to in a former deed as Lot No 34. in the building plans of the Borough.

It looks like the neighbor is roughly in the middle of the block? Could the description be because the neighbor's property gets whatever space is left, after the the lots are laid out starting from either side of the block?

jaimelob There are now 15 foot set backs, but there are properties all around here from 100+ years ago before zoning existed (at least in the form it does today) We have houses that are literally on (and even into alleys) etc. I was trying to find a picture of this on the maps, but it seems like even though a deed might say it's a rectangular property the GIS people have drawn in a slanted line for properties because otherwise someones garage (used to be barn for the horse) might be in someone else's back yard.

tinlizzy - you are correct it should move north visually. But all of lots are also smaller on the map than they should be per deed (if my measuring is correct) so really you need to stretch each lot a bit. There's a significant number of houses on others property looking around the town according to mapping so it's just flat out not accurate and doubt much can be taken from it.

Gitch99..
i know exactly how wide my dad's house is so it's easy to use that as a "yardstick" to reasonably well estimate the block length from from that using the imagery.

that "left over middle" looks like it might be the case - so maybe the missing 20 feet +/- come out of his.. that wouldn't make him happy at all. My dad did find an old zoning permit for his garage addition that required a 10 foot setback from the neighbor at that time (1970s and was one of the first 10 building permits issued haha) so that leans towards his assumptions.

This looks like an easy survey. I was picturing rolling pastures and creeks that needed run over.

Tell your neighbor he's on your property and to remove the building.

Give him a couple options:

  • Pause building, he can split the survey, then do whatever once they know
  • Continue building despite your letter to cease, your dad pays for survey, then if your dad is right, he sues in small claims.

yeah .... what Al3xK says.

I'd have the survey done, whoever was wrong pays for it. The neighbor should have done it as part of due diligence, his not doing it forced your dad to -- neighbor pays unless your dad is wrong.

I'd call the cops and document the trespass immediately . Have the cops instruct the neighbor he can do no building until he gets a survey and he cannot trespass on your property.

Also don't you have to get permits for this kind of work ? Tell the cops to show you his permits

Even if they tell you its a civil issue and dont tell the neighbor a thing , you'll have a better record of the dispute and a police report

I have been is somewhat similiar siuation with a neighbor claim easement, here's my 2cents,

CALL THE COP, they might just come by and just say it's a civil dispute, but you will have evidence that you disputed. You can also have a lawyer write a letter, again, it serve as evidence that you disputed his claim.

^ isee SIS already said it.

Oh, I see the picture, there should be a description of the plot.. ie. 60 feet from X to Y, if you know the line to the west you can just roll a tape and get an idea.

btw. I work for a utilties, there's no way the lineman have enough information to say EXACTLY where the pole is placed. There's a utilties easemeent regardless.

also, 60' and 66' is very commonly used back in that period as plot width, going from the picture, all three properies from the north of your Dad, you dad, and the neighbor got the same width which makes sense so I say the county map is correct and the yellow line is also correct.

Im sorry for the folks in lot 3 and 4. Looks like its one regular lot devided into 2.

filliy said:   Here's a picture from the county GIS mapping system.
Those are relatively big lots. Too bad they are 3x as deep as they are wide. No one would care about a few feet on the side if the houses were more than 10 feet apart.

It sounds like your dad and the neighbor aren't on good terms already, so no need to play nice and pay for a survey himself.

Have your father call the cops and report the neighbor for trespassing and vandalism. If the neighbor wants to build a fence where he thinks the property line is, HE needs to order a survey to prove it.

just a quick update

- a surveyor recommended by an acquaintance that owns a home building company has been left a message they aren't in the office until Monday. My Dad was quoted about $1500 (with recording) by a different surveyor when he looked into it about 5 years ago.. pricing TBD.
- plenty of pictures taken. They are supposed to email me a few so I can post them for the curious
- the closest police are 25 minutes +/- 20 miles away so they haven't been bothered yet unless the neighbor goes over and starts tearing stuff up.
- My dad has a car parked in "his" parking lot which is part of the disputed area so the neighbor will either have to tow or do something with that vehicle to do work in the rear of the property.

Skipping 247 Messages...
imbatman said:   Why doesn't your dad just replace a marker 6 inches further on neighbor's property where your dad thought it was?
Let neighbor pay for a survey to prove the replaced marker is wrong.

  this?

or the boulder idea- that's way better 

wow this is old why did it get pulled up nubile gma



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