How to Handle Issues With Incorrect Property Lines and Septic Systems

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“We purchased our house 11 years ago. We were shown the property lines by the owner, they were clearly marked, so no survey was conducted. The house needed a new septic system installed so the septic company installed it within the property lines we were shown when we purchased the house.

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Years later, two of our neighbors (not the one at issue) had surveys done. Their surveys indicate that our septic is on our neighbors property approximately 10 feet. At the time this was realized, he said it would never be a problem and he felt it was the original owners fault for giving us incorrect information regarding the property lines. Our neighbor purchased his property from the same person we purchased ours.

Last year our neighbor asked us when we were going to move our septic system. He said that he would never be able to sell his property with our septic on it. Would an easement be a good solution to this problem? Or should we move it? It will cost around $2,000.

One more note, our neighbor poured concrete and put a carport right on the property line after finding out what the surveys had shown. Shouldn’t it be at least 3 foot away from us?”

On your first question, it depends on what you consider a good solution. If you have an easement, you would not need to move the septic system, but your neighbor may be reluctant to grant you one, given the effect on the resale value of his property. You’ll need to weigh the cost of moving the septic against the cost of getting him to grant the easement, and go with the cheaper option.

On your second question, it depends. Setback requirements vary widely from one place to another, so you would need to look at the local (city, town, county, etc.) zoning ordinance to determine whether the driveway is too close to the property line.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.