My neighbor has built several fences that are 2' onto my property. Line has been surveyed & marked but he won't remove them.

Asked over 1 year ago - Minneapolis, MN

I warned him when he was building but he insisted that he knew where the property line was from an aerial (Google satellite) picture he found on the Hennepin Co website. I had the line surveyed and marked by a licensed surveyor in 2011 and he is two feet over the line. He has refused many verbal requests. He has lived there for 5 years and his wife's family for some time before that so he is claiming that they have cared for it for years. My wife has lived in this house for 30 years and when they moved in, they took down an old fence of theirs that followed the property line and started to build their new fences on my property. What are my rights? Can I remove the fences? Do I have to go to court. I can't afford to go to court but I want my property back from these belligerent people.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Adam W Heaton

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    Answered . I strongly encourage you to be represented by an experienced real estate attorney, such as myself, because resorting to self-help has the risk of leading to violence. As for what you have shared, it seems to me that it would be unlikely that the adjoining property owners acquired title by adverse possession to the small strip of land, especially considering the fact that the previous fence was located in the correct location.

    I'd be more than happy to discuss this matter with you further if you contact me at my office at 651-829-6183.
    ~Adam W. Heaton

    Disclaimer: Absent a written retainer agreement with Adam W. Heaton, nothing in this message creates an attorney... more
  2. Thomas Michael Fafinski

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    Answered . You should proceed with a civil trespass action. If you have the survey completed, there should not be a huge expense to doing this.

  3. Andrew Thompson

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Heaton - just tearing down the fence yourself may lead to more problems with your neighbors. It is possible that you could negotiate some sort of agreement with your neighbors to avoid going to court. Ultimately a negotiated settlement is the best option. They are your neighbors after all, and you likely will have to live next to them for many years. However, in order for any agreement to be enforceable it would need to be in writing, and that is where you would need an experienced real estate attorney to help make sure it is enforceable.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Andrew C. Thompson, Attorney at Law, 1539 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105, (651) 698-2181, athompson@tl-attorneys.... more

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