We built a fence 6 years ago. A new neighbor had her land surveyed and claims our fence is in her yard and demands we move it.

Asked over 1 year ago - Fort Mill, SC

The surveyor found metal stakes 2 & a half feet inside our fence. 6 years ago, the builder had placed corner property stakes well past our fence line when we bought it so we thought we were fine. Our neighbor gave us a letter stating we had to move it within 2 weeks because she is grading her yard and doesn't want to incur additional costs. The land in question is at the top of a steep hill so she couldn't realistically have any use for it anyhow. When she first told us about it, she said she would not ask us to move it. Now she claims her realtor and the city engineer advised her to make us move it because it could cause her issues if she ever decides to sell the house.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Paul Dezso de Holczer

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . There are a couple of issues involved in this.
    The first issue is whether or not your neighbor's surveyor and survey are correct. The only way to challenge or confirm the survey is to get a survey of your own (It takes an expert to challenge.). If you do not want to incur this expense, then you will probably need to concede that your neighbor's surveyor and survey are correct.
    The second issue is whether or not you must move your fence. Whatever she told you is probably not important in this context. What is important is that, if her survey is correct or you choose not to challenge it, you will need to move the fence. You are trespassing on her property. You have not had a fence on her property long enough to adversely possess her land -- and, from the facts as you have related them, you did not intend to adversely possess her land.
    If your fence was built in reliance on the work of another surveyor or other professional, you may be able to recover the costs of doing so from that person. You will probably need a lawyer to recover, however.
    Good luck to you!

    The material on the site is made available with the understanding that this author is not engaged in providing... more
  2. James D. Mosteller III


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My colleague is correct and you plan of action is reasonable. Builders can make mistakes, but your builder likely had a plat of your lot prior to building the house and the fence builder would have been on notice.

    If you are in the wrong and can keep the fence in place you may wish to purchase that tiny strip of land from her. That purchase may have to be approved by the appropriate zoning official or property owners association, but could save you money on moving the fence, and keep your title clear of the encroachment on her property.

    This answer is for general advice and does not create an attorney client relationship with James Mosteller or the... more

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