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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22314
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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We bought a property nearly eight years ago. Inclusive of

Customer Question

We bought a property nearly eight years ago. Inclusive of fencing equipment, gate, poles, wire. Now nearly eight years later our neighbour claimed that the gate is his and that it was stolen from him. While we were overseas the gate got stolen by him from within our property. We reported it to the police. The gate was found in use on our neighbour's property. The police claim that it belongs to him as he could describe it, down to the welding on it.
We bought this with our property and also welded this gate our selves when it was broken.
The police it was okay for him to steal it "back" from us. This was not theft , they said? The gate was with the fencing materials when we purchased the property. The neighbour cannot proof it is his, besides him saying so.
We are perplexed, Is this correct?
We are very troubled. Besides this the neighbour has also damaged other property of ours.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

If the person who sold to the property had taken the gate from the neighbour, then you never had good title to the gate. You did however buy the equipment in good faith, and like you, I am inclined to suspect the neighbour has a story which is too good. If the neighbour was right, then they could have claimed the gate back, but could not enter your property without tresspassing.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Your neighbour can explain what the gate looked like, because he had claimed that he entered the property and he has seen the gate very recently. I think you should take this matter further with the police, because even if the gate was stolen, your neighbour was wrong to enter your property without permission to retrieve his property.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Your reaction was to go above the police officer to his sergeant, and you should ask why they are protecting someone who wrongfully entered your property. I doubt very much if he could have identified the gate without seeing it recently, and normall the police would not intervene in matters they see as civil claims.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

if the gate was of some value, and it actually was stolen, then you can recover the value from the person who sold you the property, because he did not have good title to the gate. that may not be a very effective remedy after this time if you dont know where he is now.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** been to the police. He saw photos of the gate in question. And he states it was stolen by the previous owner of our property. He stated that legally anyone can trespass on anyone's property if there is no trespass notice. He is going to serve a trespass notice on our neighbour. He states the other damage the neighbour made to our property is his word against ours and he cannot do anything without photos and proof.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Actually the police officer is wrong about the entry. it is trespass unless he has permission, and you dont need a notice. But you can bring a claim in the Disoutes Tribunal for the gate and for the damage and the trespass. You can file this at your local court or on line at this address http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/disputes-tribunal/apply-online

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