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How do I get my neighbor to move her fence that is on my property?

Port Saint Lucie, FL |

I have a survey that was done last week that shows the fence on my property. I have been to a lawyer and he wanted five thousand dollars up front. I have been to the city and they say it is now a civil matter. I have gone to small claims court they do not handle this, went to legal aid, but still have no answer. I have sent the lady three registered letters with no reply. I am lost at this point!

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Attorney answers 3


You will have to sue your neighbor for ejectment to force her to move the fence that is encroaching onto your property. You may be able to recover your attorney fees from your neighbor if the Judge agrees that she had no legitamate defence to the lawsuit. My office is in Palm Beach county but I would consider handling your case if you choose to move forward, depending on the details.


You will have to go to court for an order forcing your neighbor to move the fence. This may well be at least a moderately expensive piece of litigation, so you can expect a qualified attorney to ask for an up-front retainer. However, you can ask for attorney fees in your suit. If the court agrees that your neighbor's fence is on your property, and you have proof that your requests to your neighbor have been ignored, you will have a decent chance that the court will grant your request that your neighbor pay the cost of your needing a judge to order her to do what she should have done anyway.

(THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.)


In such cases, you would normally have a lawyer write the offending neighbor, advising them of the encroachment and giving a time certain for them to remove the encroachment at their expense. The letter normally also advises that in the event they do not do so and the court ultimately determines they had no defense in fact or in law for failing to do so upon your request, that the offender may be liable for attorney's fees and court costs incurred in your pursuit of an ejectment action or action for continuing trespass, which you could bring. Most people will move the fence if they have the ability to do so upon receiving a letter, unless they have been advised by a lawyer that they may have a defense. If the fence in question has been there for many years, for example, it is possible your neighbor has certain rights, such as the right to a prescriptive easement for its existence, or some type of adverse possession claim may exist. You will need a lawyer to do anything about the fence. You cannot simply go over there and remove it forcibly and create a breach of the peace.

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