Can I stop my neighbor from building her fence on MY property? .?

She is obnoxious and I have had to get the police involved a few times, not my style at all-I hate this. She has now installed 3 wooden fence posts in concrete mostly on my side of the boundary-I marked it off to show the problem 3 weeks ago, she is not budging. Police say it is a lawyer matter. If I sue, could she have to pay the attorney and court costs? Could I get a money settlement or just have her get off my property? Could I get a restraining order to have her just leave me alone after 4 years of this stress. Is there a law saying if I allow her to leave the fence on my land for 7 years, the land becomes hers? Thanks a lot, this is going on in Clarksville, TN.

Answers:
Get a surveyor out there to find the precise property line. From there, make your next move. If it is to remove the posts, then do so.

Be sure that you have it surveyed. I was doing some work on a property where the neighbor insisted I was wrong (I had done a property search at the courthouse and knew I was right). She complained, I kept on working.

She called the cops on me. I pretty much told them that I was right - showed them the paperwork from the courthouse and proceeded with my job. After she called a surveyor, she realized that she was wrong.

I never got an apology, but I was happy in knowing I was right. I was sad for her, because she had thought that the property where I was working was hers - and it wasn't.
Sounds more like our southern border to me.
Yes if she is on your property for seven yaers, its hers.
if you really know the fence posts are on your property, remove them or cut them down.
If she disagrees with that move, let HER take YOU to court, or move the posts to her property
Sue, and make her pay for your cost. Wait till she finishes, that way it will cost her more, or you could just take a chainsaw to the post.

Small claims court doesn't cost that much.
Sorry, there is nothing you can do. It is her fence and she can build it anywhere she wants. If you don't like it, move.
You must sue her for trespass to realty or else she will become the owner of the property (and yes, in Tennessee, the time limit is seven years). You will sue for damages due to her use of your property, for an injunction to require her to remove the fence, and for punitive damages for her wilful, knowing, intentional, deliberate taking of your property.

You can't get attorneys fees, and "court costs" is a joke (rarely even $100). But punitive damages can break the bank, and what's more, her insurance will not pay for her attorneys fees.

Do not accept any settlement. Insist on trial because only at trial will the jury have an opportunity to award punitive damages.
Oh, honey. I had the SAME thing happen. I had to go to the county court house and get the actual dimensions of the property lines. I, then, went outside and destroyed part of the fence that I KNEW was on my property. She called the police, I showed them the property line papers, and they laughed at her. They told her to remove the concrete and remaining fence. Good luck.
Check with your local municipality to see if she got a permit to put up the fence. There are times when a person is required to pay attorney's fees, but it is not guarenteed. In my state they rarely give out restraining orders in this type of situation, but check with your local court. If the fence is on your property without your consent, it is illegal. Do not let this remain, remember the old addage, possesion is 9 tenths of the law? It's true. Get this taken care of asap!
If you do get a lawyer and take her to court on this, you will have to have the land surveyed to prove that it is yours first of all. Which I am sure you have done already, but have it done again. Any costs that you accrue in the building of your case can be rolled into the settlement provided you win the case. You could sue for pain and suffering if you really want, but that is a little overboard. I would probably just sue for court and attorney fees, surveying fee, and for her to remove the posts from your property. There will probably be ill-will from now on between you two, but the problem will be solved at least for now. If a judge tells her to remove them, she must or face serious legal retribution and criminal charges.
You really should consult an attorney here. When my neighbors built their fence they had the city come out and plot the property to make sure it was on their property. Where I live it has to be a certain amount of distance from the property line too, it can not be right on the property line. Good luck.

You could also check the state statues regarding property law in TN as a start.
Before contacting a lawyer, I would try calling your local building and zoning department (code enforcement). They may be able to do something about it. If they can't they can tell you exactly what steps to take. I wouldn't think it is legal for her to build something on your property. You could always just remove it yourself also.
some people. Anyway, all you need to do is go to the village or town hall, and explain to them what she is doing. They will come take a look, and if she is on your property, she is violating her building permit, if she has one. Otherwise she is violating lots lines, and they will make HER remove the fence, and fill in the holes.
Of course if it was me, i would chain those posts to my truck, pull them out, and drive right across her yard and leave them at her door. But you will have better luck with the village or town hall.
Sue her right now before she moves into your house and claims it for herself.
Firstly, realise on your abilities! If you are capable enough, try to remove the fencing poles. If not, try to get an injunction order from the court and proceed further legally to get back your land. Normally the Police will not interfere much actively as it is civil/revenue matter in India.
You really do need a lawyer for this one. Sue her in small claims court, and expect to have to appeal to district court and/or arbitration to get some relief. The law varies from state to state, but in most states she will NOT OWN your property, regardless how many years her fence is on your side.

You can probably collect legal costs, but not necessarily. Courts vary widely. And most magistrates are not among the brightest bulbs on the tree. Expect small claims court to be a depressing experience. Again, get a lawyer.

But stupid neighbors outnumber good ones, and that is a good reason for moving out into the country. I had a similar experience once. Asked the police to stop my neighbor from cutting down my trees, and they refused to help. A lawyer got me a court order in time to save all but one tree. The cops had to enforce that one.

Then I sold the house and moved away, and the person who bought the house sued successfully and got the neighbor's house instead. Sometimes it's just who you know.
The answer is yes on all counts. She cannot legally construct any permanent fixture on your property unless she has an easement or reservation. But you would know about that. You might want to check with the city, if she has a building permit too. I know in my city you need a building permit if it costs more than $500. This would be a way that the police could order her to stop, if she didn't have a building permit. I would contact an attorney though and get proper advice on the matter. They will know a lot more about local regulations.

Also, do you have definitive proof that she is on your property, have you had a survey done? I mean, if she is like 10 feet beyond what the line is then its just her trying to piss you off, but if its really close to the line, then its worth checking out. You should be able to contact the County Auditor to see where the most recent survey states your joint property line is.

But you should not give up on the matter. There is a law in i think all 50 states that says that if someone blatantly and (i think) recklessly uses someone else's land for a period of anywhere from 7 to 20 yrs then they can legally obtain that land in a court of law. The timeframe and manner of use differ in each state though, but I think its usually 20yrs.
This is not a police matter; it's a civil matter and you should bring a suit if you want to pursue it. You have some good questions and this should be a relatively easy matter to sort out. However, you should not not NOT take legal advice from anyone on Yahoo! People on here like to be armchair lawyers, and they are invariably wrong.

Here's a great example: Deirdre stating that "Yes if she is on your property for seven yaers, its hers."

First of all, this is her weak attempt to understand adverse possession, and she is incorrect. There are other elements involved and it 1) depends on your state law, and 2) depend on information that you have not given to us.

Second of all, Deirdre makes that statement and then immediately follows it up with "if you really know the fence posts are on your property, remove them or cut them down." This direction contradicts her judgment that seven years = neighbor's property.

Please please PLEASE do not take any substantive legal advice on here. Those who are qualified to give it will not do so for ethical reasons, and it is dangerous to believe any layperson's advice. You don't want to make things more complicated for yourself.

Get advice from a lawyer. In all likelihood legal aid won't be able to help you because of the nature of the suit and the fact that you would be initiating it. If you can't afford a lawyer, contact a law school; they often have clinics where you can get great, free representation.

I encourage you to handle this properly, as you seem to want to do. In addition to not taking legal advice from this site, please don't take the advice of people like deidre who advise you to strike back and let your neighbor sue. That will add to your stress, not decrease it.

Finally, you might want to think about the fact that you are a property owner living next to another property owner. Most of the people on here will probably not consider that when they answer. Like it or not, you have a long-term relationship (neighbor) with those people and you'll want to make it as low-stress as possible. On this point, there are a few things I noticed in your question that I wondered about:

1) It is unclear whether she is in the process of installing a fence or if an existing fence has been there for four years with just three fence posts on your side. This makes a big difference in the dynamic because shifting construction (taking out 3 installed posts) is different than moving an already constructed fence. It very well might make a difference in court, as well.

2) You say that the 3 posts are "mostly" on your side of the boundary. Does that mean that they touch the boundary line with some on your side and some on hers? If that is the case, are we talking about literally a few inches here? This could also play into things because there are all types of possible solutions here which could include payment to you for the small area. I'm not saying that this IS possible; it would depend on a lot more information; I'm just brainstorming.

3) You said that you "marked off" the property line 3 weeks ago; what did you use to determine this? Some methods are more accurate than others.

4) Has this just been a fence issue for four years or just an ongoing struggle? Because it sounds like maybe there has been ongoing tension and this issue is currently the place where you are letting out your frustration. If that's the case, you might want to take a look at the bigger picture and try to avoid allowing your neighbor to suck you into things like this and cause you a lot of stress. I'm not suggesting that you ignore the fence problem; just pointing out that there really should be no reason to live like this long term.

5) You say that you "have had to get the police involved a few times." Have you contacted the police about things other than the fence? As far as the fence goes, do not call them again. They can not help you. Police do not enforce all laws; they are there strictly for criminal matters. The laws that apply to this situation are civil laws; that's why you'll have to sue. The more you call the police about your neighbors the less sympathetic they will be if/when you ever actually need them when dealing with your neighbor.

Good luck!

Add: Please ignore the post directly below this one. 1) A competent attorney not give you advice based solely on the information you provided. 2) Let's pretend this is a law school exam and all that is given is the information you've provided. In that case, he would not get a high grade. Let's leave it at that.
O.K> first of all I AM an attorney and although I would advise that you hire one to settle this matter, it is NOT a requirement.

Send her the following CERTIFIED(RRR) letter now.

Dear [neighbor name]

I have attempted, over the past few weeks, to settle the issue between us regarding your installation of a fence, a portion of which is settled upon my property as provided in my current survey.

I have, on numerous ocassions, asked that the offending structure be removed to no avail. Therefore, I have no other alternative.

If you have not removed the fence posts which intrude upon my property within three days of the date of this letter, I will accept your noncompliance as permission to correct the civil wrong and to file a civil action against you to recover the costs of such invasion of my property rights.

with regards,

[your name]

If she does not answer in the time allotted, have the posts removed and file suit in small claims court for the costs. If this does go to trial, the court will order a new survey for which, if you are successful, the court can tax to the losing party.

If the company errecting the fence appears before the three days are over, get the owner's phone number and inform them that if work begins on the fence, the company, as well as the owner personally, will be joined in the lawsuit.

Then send them a smiliar letter noticing them that a civil action is pending and that if they proceed they will be named as co-defendents.
Who has the most recent survey? nobody? get one, then you have it on paper..youll need it in court.once you know your right, and want some payback, let her build it, go to court, let the judge tell her to take it down, at her expence, and fill in the holes. And me, I'd stand right there barking instructions, the whole time...


The Answers post by the user, for information only, FreeLawAnswer does not guarantee the right.
Answer question:


More Law Questions and Answers: