I don't know if this question is a legal or real estate question.35 yrs ago, we purchased a residential lot, in Houston, Texas, adjacent to undeveloped land on the 220' northern boundary with a 15' utility easement (10’ on our side of the property line). We erected a 10' cedar fence from our garage across to and down that northern boundary 160’ (angling inward to preserve trees on the property line) to abut the back fence to our east. Later, the trees were stealthily removed when five town homes were built on the adjacent land up to their 5' utility easement line. Hurricane Ike damaged our home including portions of the 10’ fencing on our northern 220’ boundary. 60' of fence, erected by the builder of the first two town houses, blew down along with the transverse section by our garage. Another small felled section was quietly replaced, perfectly aligned with the existing ‘still standing’ fence on either side, by the 3rd town home owner. The entire 33’ of fence by the 4th town home fell, weakened by her heavy plants growing on it. Impatient for us to replace it, she began erecting a 4' fence within the still standing 10' fence on either side. We asked that she place it on the property line and it now stands over one foot closer to her town home than where my original fence stood. My problem and question involves the new owners of the second town house. They replaced 30’ of 10’ builder erected fence faced on their side. They wanted me to immediately replace 55' of my undamaged fencing because they were tired of looking at ‘un faced’ fencing and didn't want to face my 'old' fence. They convinced me I was being unfair not to allow them to tear down my fence and replace it ‘faced on their side and I could face my side, later, at my convenience. I stupidly agreed. The resultant 'out of alignment' fence cannot be faced properly on my side now and they beveled the posts on my side so the cap rail will be a problem. A giant mess of excavated dirt and concrete above grade was left on our side. Their contractor refused to do anything when they all finally came to look at the situation (which required letters). The owners last words to us (October, 2010, I think) were, "Don't touch my fence!!!" Surgery, earlier this year, relieved the significant pain and restored my mobility, so, now, I am ardently rectifying the Ike damage.Last week, a survey of my property shows all of the cedar fencing along my 220' northern border is entirely on my property (except the 33' of 4' fencing described above - now on the property line). Can I ask the people in the 2nd town home (by certified letter?) that they remove their 85’ of 10’ fencing from my property or is it legally there? If not, and they refuse, what are my alternatives? Does it become my fence? Can I ‘touch their fence’?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
Talking nicely and politely with the people to a total rude rebuff.
I will be erecting new 10' fencing, on the property line by the 4th and 5th town homes soon. In addition, I hope to have a swinging 10'x10' Driveway gate where the fencing by the garage blew down. I would like to place the post for it next to the property line.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.
Good afternoon. If this fence is on your property, it is your fence and you can do anything with it you want. If you want to remove it, you can notify them in writing that the fence is on your property and give them a specified period of time to remove it or you will be removing it. Then, you can put any fence you want up just inside the property line. You neighbors cannot dictate to you what you can do with improvements that are located on your property and because such improvements are affixed to the land, become part of the land.
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What length of time is prudent to give them? Where do I look for the legal Texas or Federal statute (or whatever it is called) to back up what you have told me, if they demand it.
You can give them 30 days. It is basic Texas real estate common law....anything that is affixed to the land belongs to the land. You can never prevent someone from suing you, but they will not prevail. As long as this is your property, it is your fence to do with what you want. There is an Adverse Possession statute in Texas, but it's not going to be relative here because: i) you gave consent so the possession is not hostile; and ii) it hasn't been long enough.
My apologies, but I don't really understand the following:
Adversepossession is the process of claiming title to real estate by taking it andoccupying it for a period of time. Adverse possession requires the following conditions to be met: i) actualpossession of the property; ii) open and notorious use of the property;iii) exclusive use of the property;iv) hostile or adverse use of theproperty; and v) continuous useof the property. In order in claim title through adversepossession, one would need to file asuit to quiet title.
You agreed to the fence being erected, thus allowing them to basically use that part of your property on the other side of the fence. Thus, it isn't a hostile use where they put the fence up without your consent.
The Texas adverse possession statutes are codified at Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code Sec.16.021 et seq.
You state: 'You agreed to the fence being erected, thus allowing them to basically use that part of your property on the other side of the fence. Thus, it isn't a hostile use where they put the fence up without your consent."
It would seem that you are saying I agree to allow them to be there so they now have that right. I am confused.
Yes...you are entitled to send them the letter...and send it certified mail so you have proof of delivery...to remove the fence from your property within 30 days or you will do so. You can do so legally. What I'm telling you they have no right to make any adverse possession or "squatters" claim.
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