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Thread: Neighbor posted my property.

  1. #1

    Neighbor posted my property.

    Sheesh. a stream flows across my property for about 1600 ft. At some places I own 40 to 100 ft on the other side and other places 300 ft on the other side. This afternoon, I saw that the guy on the next road over put up no trespassing signs all along the stream. I had a dispute with the prior owner, had the 1,220 foot common line surveyed and marked and sued the prior owner in court and won. This new guy just bought the property a year ago. I went over to introduce myself and the guy just walked away, thought the wife was nice and we talked for just two or three minutes. One of his signs is just ten feet the wrong side of the line. With a orange capped survey marker just ten feet from the sign. No idea what the guy is thinking, but I noticed he already cut some firewood on my side. So I went back to the house and typed a nasty letter to be sent certified and hand served by a constable and then realized maybe the guy just doesn't have a clue. So I typed a nice second letter offering to meet with him and show him the surveyed lines.

    What really ticks me off, is he nailed a sign into my largest beech tree, about 32 inches in diameter.

    So i called the surveyor to get a copy of the survey (lost my copy in a fire) I'll give the guy a copy along with the offer to meet.

    In 23 years, I have had to sue three neighbors over property line disputes. Came home from a three day weekend 20 years ago, to find a neighbor put a fence part way across my pasture. I don't understand how people don't care what they do to other people's property. I never put up a fence or cut down a tree without making sure I was on my own property. Cost me a fortune to have my farm surveyed.

  2. #2
    Since ‘reasonable’ may be merely a memory, there is that old saying, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    Failing that, there are signs that say “If you can read this, you’re in range.”

    Good luck to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    springfield,or
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    551
    My mom lost about a acre, because she didn't have her property surveyed before she bought it. It was supposedly in the previous family for over 100 years so they assured her it was all her property. Come to find out the previous owner had been encroaching on the adjacent properties since they were vacant farmland.
    Technically her acre long driveway was no longer hers, but oddly enough she gained like a quarter acre square on the other side of the neighbors fence.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
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    558
    BEWARE... do not know your location... in Virginia if you use without explicit permission land for 15 years, you can claim ownership of the land under "adverse possession"...
    Had a neighbor lose a former store/house because of this. The property adjoining mine (40 acres) was very close to being taken from them under similar conditions...

    Get a lawyer to protect your interests.....

    Do not know laws in other states, but probably similar....

    Know in Pennsylvania when I was in high school (early -1960's) a path across a field next to the school
    was being closed to build a house, but because it had been in use for over 20 years,
    they could not close it or build the house...

    Look up the laws in your state....

    In Virginia, if someone cuts trees on your property (for firewood or lumber) they have to pay SEVERE damages to replace them..
    .so you could get paid for the firewood they cut...

  5. #5
    I said I sued three neighbors over the years. I still have my license to practice law. I can inflict financially painful litigation on people who get me riled. Was a trial lawyer for 45 years. Adverse possession in PA requires 21 years and a fence or other means to exclude others. Pa has a stiff, but not severe enough law about tree rustling. three times the value of the trees and attorney's fees, last I checked. However under our new law. I can paint purple stripes on my trees along the boundary and that is the same as a sign. In addition, once the purple lines are up, since the land is used to grow marketable timber, entry is agricultural trespassing, a misdemeanor with possible jail time. I'd still rather be amicable about it. Never know when I might need him or vice versa. Search for lost animals etc. Wait till he finds out I have a deeded easement across his property. That was not included in his deed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    551
    Location is important. Most of the Eastern USA, English common law prevails for items not specifically enumerated in the state code. Louisiana uses French common law, and some of the southwest relies on Spanish common law.

    I called my local government about a fence dispute with a neighbor, FWIW English common law prevails in Alaska as well, I wasn't sure if it might have been Russian common law since Seward bought the joint from them. Both my grandpas grew up in English common law states and built a lot of fence back in the day.

  7. #7
    our civil trespass law is under the Common law. Our criminal trespass law is statutory. But there is a stupid patchwork of different laws, Plain criminal trespass, motor vehicle trespass, atv trespass, agricultural trespass, even get this, trespass by air plane. Our statutes even makes the penalties different depending on who makes the arrest. Most people do not even know that we have a civil trespass to land law in PA. It covers all kinds of stuff, like who owns a tree, who can trim a tree, who can develop a cave, your right to sue a person for entering your property, etc.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    6,645
    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    I'd still rather be amicable about it. Never know when I might need him or vice versa. Search for lost animals etc.
    That's forward thinking, and commendable.
    I gather the new neighbor is young, and doesn't know how little he knows.

    As I get older, I find a growing desire to have less appealing. Stewardship of land has an endless punchline of things that take an hour or two.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    5,414
    I like state roads for property borders.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Highland MI
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    Often adverse possession requires that he can show that the original owner knew of the trespass but did nothing. That is why you need to formally document your claim to him that he is trespassing.
    NOW you tell me...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    500
    In NY the adverse possession law was done away with ten years or so ago, or that was what I heard at the time. I'm not a lawyer so I don't really understand anything definitely.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,191
    I think I'd put up at least a simple fence to delineate that area of your property that's on the other side of the creek, as it were. A lot of folks seem to assume that a natrual feature like a creek or a tree line is the property border when that is not the case. I had that situation a couple years ago when the neighbor to the immediate south assumed that the tree line was the line but it was in fact about 6' closer to their building. Needless to say, they had to move their fence, but fortunately, were cooperative. I was easily able to find the survey pin with my little metal detector to help establish the line.

    But yea...ask nice first. And if things are not adjusted, well...you already are prepared for next steps which involve a more formal response.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    West Tennessee
    Posts
    72
    Be careful how you handle this situation, I lost a friend with an almost identical dispute, surveys, deeds, attorneys the complete ordeal.
    The neighbor brought the grudge to a head with a couple 12ga shotgun blasts while the rightful owner was operating a weedeater on his own property. My friend a retired DEA agent was killed, the neighbor resides in prison.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    I said I sued three neighbors over the years. I still have my license to practice law. I can inflict financially painful litigation on people who get me riled..
    I hope you can settle it amicably. Being friends with your neighbors is so much better than the alternative.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    The old pueblo in el norte.
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    905
    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    In 23 years, I have had to sue three neighbors over property line disputes.
    Fence it....
    ~mike

    scope creep

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