Can I Sue My Neighbor For Building A Fence On The Property Line?

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My property has been in my family for 50 years. My neighbor moved in 7 years ago. Last year he had a survey done and it came back that the line was against my house and part of my driveway. How is this possible? For 50 years we shared an even line between our homes. There was even a stake in the hedges that he removed before the survivors arrived. Now he’s put a wooden privacy fence up along my driveway and I can’t see to pull out. I know I need an attorney, but I’m poor. I had spoke to him previously about it and he agreed that it was ridiculous and that he wouldn’t put up a fence. Two weeks ago he came into my backyard extremely intoxicated and attacked my husband and tried to slam my head on a porch rail. My husband beat him up pretty badly when he put his hands on me. He’s also destroyed my landscaping putting the fence up. Sorry this is so long and I’m sure rambling. I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve called the police so many times I’m actually embarrassed to call again. Plus all they really tell me is take it to court. I simply cannot afford it. Can I sue him if I’m hit trying to pull out of my driveway? Any advice would truly be appreciated. Thank you.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It sounds like your problem is more with your neighbor than with the property line, but let’s talk about that first.

The property line is where it is. It is not unusual for people to be mistaken about where a property line is (often for decades), but that’s what surveyors are for. If you want to be doubly sure, you could hire your own surveyor to be certain that your neighbor’s isn’t mistaken.

You may be able to make a claim that you’re entitled to continue using your driveway in spite of the position of the property line. This would most likely be using the legal concept of a prescriptive easement. However, unless your neighbor agrees (and that sounds unlikely), you’re looking at a lawsuit to get that claim enforced. This is where talking to an attorney is invaluable, as a local attorney can give you a much better idea of your chances of winning such a lawsuit.

But as I said, you also have a neighbor problem. And to be blunt, there may be no better solution than to move. Yes, I hear you saying that you’ve been in this house for 50 years and your neighbor is the one causing the problem. That will be cold comfort when you’re lying in a hospital with a fractured skull.

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Author: House Attorney