Can my neighbor demolish and broke my fence without asking me while he is erecting his own fence on this place.

He claims that some part of my fence is 2-3 inches on his property but didn't show any evidence of it. Police officer who attending the scene says that neighbor didn't need to present any evidence that it's his property didn't need to show me results of his survey before demolish my fence, that I have to get my own survey. And police officer didn't open a case because it's neighbors dispute about a fence and it's not a crime to demolish neighbor's fence. What can I do about it?

Oakland, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Kevin Lewis King

Kevin Lewis King

Landlord / Tenant Lawyer - San Francisco, CA

No, he shouldn't have done that. If your fence was, in fact, over the property line, he would legally have needed to go to court to have it declared that your fence was over the line and needed to be moved/removed/replaced. Because he destroyed your property, you have a tort action against him for "conversion" and should be able to have the court require him to pay for your costs to rebuild the fence. You don't actually have to rebuild it, just get the money.

Also, depending on how long the fence had been there and IF it was over the property line, you might have a valid claim for adverse possession, whereby that small strip of land you fenced in across the property line became YOURS by the operation of law. How long had the fence been there before he tore it down?

Kevin King, Principal- Essential Law Services. HTTP://ESSENTIALAW.COM, 415-562-6862. The information presented... more
Michael Raymond Daymude

Michael Raymond Daymude

Real Estate Attorney - Sherman Oaks, CA

If it's a better fence than the one you had -- why do anything about it so long as the neighbor is not asking for contribution? No one needs two fences 3" apart. If you have suffered damages as a result of your neighbor’s, can prove it, and they are more than nominal -- you can present a claim for damages. If he or his insurance company offers a settlement you can accept it or not. If not offered, or offered and not acceptable, your only remedy is to file suit on your claim.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Real Estate Attorney - Montclair, CA

Fence disputes are fairly common, and usually unnecessary. The police will not get involved because this is a civil matter and not a criminal matter.
The general rule is that a boundary fence belongs to both neighbors and both neighbors are responsible for the maintenance and repair of boundary fences. If the fence needed repair, and you did not repair it, then the neighbor could repair it and ask you to pay 1/2 the cost.
If you really think that your rights have been violated, you can file a lawsuit asking for damages, asking for the fence to be taken down, asking for the moon.
I am sure that 2 or 3 inches is well worth the several thousands of dollars you will spend in trying to fight over it and which you may never recover.

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