The lawyer you saw was right: the fence stays. The question is, do you want to get a lawyer involved over an intruding air conditioner. Technically, you're right on both issues, but these neighbor disputes are always ugly and expensive. Unless he takes some further action, I'd probably let it slide. If you'd like to discuss it, call my office.
I agree with Alexander in that there is most likely a case for adverse possession and you do not need to move the fence at this time. I also agree that if you do not care about the intrusion of the central air unit you do not need to consult a lawyer at this time (unless your neighbor pursues some legal action against you for encroachment of your fence). Note however, if you make absolutely no effort to contest the encroachment of the central air unit your neighbor may in time have a claim for adverse possession of that 1 foot parcel.
I would also check the survey and title commitment you received when you purchased your house. If the fence was in existence when you bought the house the encroachment should have been noted in the documents and, if it was not, you may have a claim against the surveyor/title agency.
If you would like to discuss the matter in detail please feel free to contact me. Either way, good luck!
Anthony J. Zeoli
Attorney At Law
Hecht & Seidman, LLC
DISCLAIMER. The above post is provided solely for general informational purposes. Any information in the above post is NOT intended to be specific legal advice and should NOT be relied upon as such. NO attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of the above posting and I strongly urge you to seek the advice of competent legal counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.
Ask your neighbor to produce his survey; produce yours. Don't assume your fence is on his property or his AC unit is on yours until you review both surveys. And then sometimes surveys can overlap, or create gaps. There are several possibilities depending on how the surveys read but if the neighbor isn't too ornery one way to resolve a potential dispute is to get a new survey covering both properties. Filing a lawsuit to quiet title where you claim adverse possession could be costly and still require surveys. One thing you both might want to do is get what is called a "Sidwell" map, which is the tax map. It will show the tax parcels that related to your properties. Adverse possession is a theory but one of the possible offsets has to do with the tax parcel(s) you each have been paying for. Until you both do your respective homework it's really just a case of conjecture. In the interim to make peace you might suggest that each of you consider granting the other an easement for the other's "encroachment" but to verify where the encroachments are located that you want surveys. The minimum standards for an Illinois boundary survey include all improvements on the respective properties.