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    Neighbor's House Encroaches on Our Property

    Jurisdiction / State: Missouri

    There is a lot involved in this, but here's the nuts and bolts.

    When we bought our house 12 years ago, we knew that the neighboring house encroaches 8 feet onto our property. The survey we got when we bought our house clearly shows that.

    Four years after we bought, our friendly neighbors sold their house to a jerk. For the last eight years we have co-existed, allowing him to park a car also encroaching on our property. We have been polite, said nothing, but have kept the survey pins marked and have mowed to the property line, right up to his house.

    I came home from work after dark recently and could see that our property there was torn up by a contractor he had hired. I went out to locate the survey pins and my neighbor called from his porch, "Get off my property ------. Get the ---- off my property."

    The next day his contractor helped me mark the property line. I told them I was in a great mood, and then was the time to settle this problem. Neighbor said there is no problem.

    So, my buddy happen to be returning my jet ski trailer, and we put it there on my property, blocking the entrance to where the neighbor had been parking his car. I found the survey pin again, marked it, and set a large rock there. I marked the property line up near his house, and set a rock there (which has disappeared).



    Next time I was mowing, my neighbor came charging out yelling at me to get off his property. When I got up close to his house, his woman dumped a pitcher of water on me from their porch, the portion encroaching on our lot.

    That's in the front of his house. The same situation exists in the back, and he does not dispute that area.

    So, what's a person to do?
    Last edited by JLB_; 10-06-2009 at 07:51 PM.

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    It is entirely possible that you have forfeited your right to enforce the property line. When you purchased the property you knew the house encroached on yours. You allowed the other person, your current neighbor, to purchase the property and he has lived there for several years. You might look into "adverse possession" and somehow you need to get along with your neighbor.

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    Like I said in my OP, I tried to keep my explanation simple.

    I mentioned that we have continued to mow and maintain the property to demonstrate that we did not acqiesce.

    Here's the 5 essential elements of AP in Missouri, with the key points in bold:

    Adverse possession defined & the five elements to prove it

    1.Actual - You actually acted in the manner of an owner of the property

    2. Open & Notorious - You engage in acts of possession consistent with the property at issue in a manner which was capable of being seen. (This does not mean that you must have been observed in your acts of ownership but, had the actual owner or members of the public been in a position to see you, your acts must have been observable). You need not use the property in a manner that exceeds that which would be expected of the actual owner - that is, it may be possible to claim adverse possession of a vacation property on the basis of use only during the vacation season, or to claim adverse possession of a vacant parcel of land by engaging in typical acts of maintenance for the parcel.

    3. Exclusive - The adverse possessor does not occupy the land concurrent with the true owner or share possession in common with the public. One does not have to exclude others from the land in order to claim "exclusive" use, but during the statutory period the person claiming title by adverse possession must have been the only person to treat the land in the manner of an owner.

    4. Hostile - Hostility exists where a person possesses the land of another intending to hold to a particular recognizable boundary regardless of the true boundary line. That is, possession is "hostile" to the title owner's interest in the property. If possession was not hostile, it may still be possible to advance a claim of ownership under a theory of "acquiescence". You cannot claim "adverse possession" if you are engaged in the permissive use of somebody else's land.

    5. Continuous & Uninterrupted - All elements of adverse possession must be met at all times through the statutory period in order for a claim to be successful. It may be possible to claim adverse possession even if there is a transfer of ownership through the principle of "tacking" - for example, a former owner's four years of adverse possession can be "tacked" to the present owner's six years, for a cumulative ten years of adverse possession (10 years in Missouri)

    I will add that in the 8 years he has been here, he has never mowed on our side of the property line, front or back.
    Last edited by JLB_; 10-06-2009 at 08:29 PM.

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    I didn't say that he absolutely had won, but he certainly has an argument because you knew when you bought the property and you never contested it. If I were you I would get to contesting. Just know that will probably be the defense.

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    I can't tell by your wording if you mean to contest it in a legal sense by filing suit, or just to contest his use of the property.

    During the discussion with his contractor present, in which the neighbor was not interested in working it out, I said, "If after being a good neighbor to you for 8 years, after letting you park on our property, I am an -------, then that is the end of you using our property."

    The night before, when he called me an ------- when I was looking for the survey marker, I gave him a copy of the survey. It is not that he does not know . . . he does.

    I then marked it and parked our jet ski trailer there. It's been three or four weeks and he has not tried to move the trailer or stake claim to our property. When he mowed last, he did not mow across the line.

    I have some other plans.

    Is that what you mean by contest . . . do overt things to show it belongs to us?
    Last edited by JLB_; 10-06-2009 at 09:31 PM.

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    I would make sure he did not use the property. Send him a certified letter informing him that you are no longer willing to let him use your property. Then call the police to enforce the trespassing if he continues to. Now I will grant you that this is going to escalate in tit for tat until one of you backs off. But from a legal point of view you can do it.

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    In Post 2 you told me to somehow get along with my neighbor, and now you have me sending him hate mail and calling the cops!!!!!

    Which, BTW, I did, and they will not get involved in property line disputes here. The deputy told us that is a civil matter. He said there is no trespass if there is a property line dispute.

    For now we are OK with him/them just not parking there.

    If I were them, I would be concerned about the portion of their house that is on our property, and I would not be pushing the issue like they are.

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    Do one or the other. Decide what is important to you. You asked how, not what to do. Me personally I would try to make friends.

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    I have learned a few thing about life in the last few years so as to know that making friends is not an option in this case. You cannot be reasonable with people who do not want to be. You cannot argue with idiots without sounding like one yourself.

    With some people you just have to do whatever you need to do, and ignore them otherwise, so as to not feed that little playground bully in them.

    They say that good fences make good neighbors, so that is my plan du jour, to erect the friendliest fence possible. Since the fence would touch his house/porch 8 feet in, I am planning on doing one with patio stones. They will permanently mark the property line without being obnoxious.

    I have had the property marked according to the survey and fastened a string line both in the front and back of his house. Of course, while that was being done, the neighbor was badmouthing those doing it, and then he kicked a pile of gravel onto the marks.

    But he has not removed the string lines.

    The gentleman setting the marks said that if it was his property and a neighbor was treating him that way, he would just have a contractor haul in a half dozen huge rocks (which are plentiful here), and set them there.

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    Sounds like a plan. Good luck.

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    You need a lawyer. Yesterday.
    Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, & countenance.

    Ben Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorjudge View Post
    You need a lawyer. Yesterday.
    Yeah, probably . . . but . . .

    My wife and I have been litigation-free most of our 60 (or so) years. However, in recent years we have had to follow that advice concerning a few matters. In each instance we received less than spectacular results . . . well, except for that the amount of money we had to spend has been spectacular.

    Actually, we have probably wound up worse off than if we had not follow that advice.

    As a matter of fact, today I am working on another legal matter, one that started in 2002.

    So, I am reluctant to rush down that path. I wanna make sure where it's headed before I do.

    What I am interested in, for the purpose of weighing that decision, is what the anticipated relief might be.
    - - - - - -
    If it matters, the way the encroachment came about is that the original owner of our neighbor's house owned two lots, and built that house over the property line, circa 1970.

    Of course, when the same person owned both lots, as one parcel, it didn't matter.

    In 1990, or thereabouts, the then-owner of our neighbor's house built the house we now own.

    For reasons unknown to us, that was allowed with the existing encroachment. Nothing was done then or since . . . no easement, sale, lease, contract, or anything else to grant the owner of our neighbor's house rights to that portion of our lot that it encroaches, and, as I said, we have maintained that for the 12 years we have been here.

    Our neighborhood has a history of bickering and strife, which is a very mild description of it, and is something the sheriff, prosecutor, and courts are quite familiar with, so we are mindful of being labeled as the ones to escalate matters.

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    The anticipated relief would be the free and clear title to the disputed real estate.
    Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, & countenance.

    Ben Franklin

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    I failed to mention that when we first bought here 12 years ago we did contact an attorney regarding the property contiguous to our back lot line, a utility easement that the owners of our property had maintained for many years and that we were maintaining.

    We were told that the local judge hates property line disputes and is predisposed against anyone initiating them.

    So we did not.

    He is still the local judge.

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    I went to the Recorders office today to look at deeds, Assessor's maps, official County aerial maps, and surveys (if they were recorded).

    Coming home with all the to wits and whenceforths running through my mind, I came up with the following thought. Feel free to let me know what you think.

    (Yeah, right, like you have to encourage people on the Internet to take issue with other people on the Internet!!! )

    Our deed reads . . . . Grant and Convey and Confirm unto us, Lot 3 . . . That's cool cuz all of our house and outbuildings are on Lot 3. We're not interest in anything else, just Lot 3.

    Similarly, our neighbor's deed reads . . . Grant and Convey unto him Lot 2.

    Well, that seems pretty straightforward. He does not have legal title to anything on Lot 3. He owns what's on Lot 2 and we own what's on Lot 3.

    Since I have offered to work something out with him concerning the 8.4 feet of his house that is on Lot 3, our lot, and he declined, would that not mean that he is OK with us owning that portion of his house?
    - - - - -
    They say that good fences make good neighbors, and without us clearly marking our property, it was obvious he and the woman living with him were planning on taking it over. I'm a friendly sorta guy, so didn't want to put an 8-foot wooden fence from the road up to his house, 8.4 feet from the end of it, so I placed a line of stepping stones in the ground along the lot line. Well, actually 3 inches over on our side.

    When I finished his woman came and and had words for me. I have come up a notch cuz the last time she spoke to me I was @$$#*(# and now I am j@ck@$$.



    They have brought a few of their cronies by and shown it to them. I have also began bagging the poop their dog leaves in our yard every day, and set it on our property by their porch.

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