May 17, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm #603460
Hi, i have a question and hope someone might have information. The house behind me was demolished and the contractor put up boards on my property. I’ve tried talking to him and getting nowhere. Would anybody out there know, who in the city can i get to resolve this issue. Not only that, i had a plant on my side that was destroyed in the process on the demolition. Any help or advice would be appreiated.May 17, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm #876004
If he is putting stuff on your property, you have a serious problem to address.
You should probably speak to a lawyer. You might also just take the boards down (since, it is your property, after all).
But, how do you know where the property line is?May 18, 2012 4:35 am at 4:35 am #876005
I am measuring it from where my other neighbors fences start.
the demolished house that is behind me and my other neighbor. My neighbors already have established fences. The contractor put up the board where i would have had my own fence. I did not have my own fence because there was a wall that was part of the garage that was behind my house. They took it down and put up boards on my side past where the gargage was located.
I don’t want to get a lawyer involved. But if anyone else had such issues and how did they address them, I’d appreciate responses.May 18, 2012 4:38 am at 4:38 am #876006
If you have a mortgage on the house, you may be contractually required to get involved. You should ask the lawyer that also.
You say you don’t want to get a lawyer involved. That is stupid. That is the same as saying you don’t want to solve it. If you don’t want to solve it, then just don’t.May 18, 2012 4:40 am at 4:40 am #876007
I think the owner is jewish.May 18, 2012 4:41 am at 4:41 am #876008
Ok, so go to beis din.May 18, 2012 4:46 am at 4:46 am #876009
thanks for your replies, popa!! It is appreciated. Stay well!May 18, 2012 4:50 am at 4:50 am #8760102qwertyParticipant
First try speaking with the other owner. You are neighbors so you want to stay on good terms.May 18, 2012 4:53 am at 4:53 am #876011sheinMember
Just remove the boards yourself, like popa suggested, if its on your property.May 18, 2012 5:13 am at 5:13 am #876012truthsharerMember
If you send a certified letter “giving permission” to put that fence up, that is all you need to prevent that from passing to his property. If you do nothing, after X amount of years (every state is different) that property becomes his.May 18, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am #876013
I think most people address encroachments with actions for trespass.
If you “sleep on your rights”, meaning that you kick people off your land, you start to lose the right to kick them off ever. Generally, it’s 20 years to lose title, but much less to lose the right to stop them from using your land. Easements are complicated, but if you do not object punctually, (within five years, usually), they might acquire the permanent right to use your land.
It’s probably not enough to just kick and scream. I think you might need to evict them to keep the land.
Also, if they start improving your land and you do not object, that’s really really bad. If you do not object punctually, they’ll argue you gave them tacit permission which –because it induced foreseeable detrimental reliance– can no longer be withdrawn.
You should probably at least consult an attorney to find out what you have to do to keep from losing the land at civil law. Knowing the civil remedy will probably get you a better negotiated settlement.
Your property line on the deed might not be where your fences are. You should probably check that and see if you are listed as the owner of the disputed land. If you aren’t, you or your previous owner probably adversely possessed it years ago. Once again, you’ll need a lawyer for local laws, etc.May 18, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm #876014akupermaParticipant
Is the line disputed? That has to be resolved by checking the deeds and requires a surveyor, and the result has to be done in court. Any real estate lawyer should now how to handle the case. If the other side is Jewish, you could go to Beis Din (and even if not, your lawyer and the other guy’s lawyer could arrange for a surveyor to settle the matter).May 18, 2012 1:44 pm at 1:44 pm #876015
The OP said its a Jewish owner. So civil court is forbidden due to arkayos.May 18, 2012 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #876016yungerman1Participant
Did you try to call the building department? If you are in NYC you can also try 311.May 18, 2012 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #876017apushatayidParticipant
The department of buildings wherever you live should have precise property lines on record. Your mortgage company probably had a survey done too. If not, you can have pay for a survey and have your property boundaries clearly marked.
Have you spoken to your neighbor about their construction? Perhaps they are not aware that the contractor they hired has placed things on your property. Who knows, they might apologize and have it moved. They might ask for permission (which I would grant on the condition that they signed a legal documeny stating that any damage resulting from their use of your property is their responsibility to fix). If they say, we know and don’t care, then remove the wall, or move it back onto their property.May 18, 2012 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #876018
I wouldn’t advise self help. Self help can land you in court because its complicated. Not every jurisdiction tolerates self-help remedies.May 18, 2012 7:56 pm at 7:56 pm #876019
Except that the builders already engaged in self-help by putting it up, with no rights. By her taking it down, from her own property, she is doing no more than the other side — except she has rights.May 21, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am #876020lesschumrasParticipant
Naysberg, as my friends in BP and Flatbush can attest, someone who violates zoning rules is not going to bais din but civil court works wondersMay 22, 2012 2:25 am at 2:25 am #876021
Naysberg, two wrongs don’t make a right. In many jurisdictions, they make a counterclaim.May 22, 2012 2:39 am at 2:39 am #876022
Counterclaim? They have no claim. They put boards on their neighbors property. The neighbor removed it from her own property. The builder has no leg to stand on in court. What are they going to possibly claim? That they wish to seize their neighbors property?May 24, 2012 2:24 am at 2:24 am #876023
Conversion and Trespass to chattels. They’re terms of art for various level of damaging other people’s property. They probably think it’s their land, so prepare for some ordinary trespass. If they really hate you, they might describe it as misdemeanor theft and call the cops. Could be some vandalism charges. Just because its on your land doesn’t mean you can break it. (Of course, in jurisdictions allow self-help, you can do that. As I’ve said before, check.)
In all likelihood, your damages for trespass are nominal, meaning you’ll recover $1 and an injunction compelling him to stop. You might punitive if they find he acted in bad faith. If you damage the boards on the fence, you will probably cause more than $1 in damages. If, as a consequence of a court might see as your illegal destruction of his wall, he suffers further damages (someone breaks into his work site and steals his tools) you might be on the hook for that. Etc. And it looks bad at trial.
Why give the other side ammunition when you give them a preliminary injunction?
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