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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6855
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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Good morning. I live in Yonkers, New York and purchased my

Customer Question

Good morning. I live in Yonkers, New York and purchased my home four years ago-it was constructed in 1919 and is border on each side by a retaining wall that matches on both sides and is obviously very old. Because we own two large dogs, we erected an wrought iron fence on top of each wall to keep the dogs from jumping the wall-about 3 ft. and the fence is about 3 ft on top of the wall and is a standard black railing fence that matches the rest of the house and the neighborhood. The fence wa erected about two years ago.
My neighbor to the North, whom borders on the wall, knocked on my door several weeks ago threatening to sue me for erection of the fence without his consent and ordered me to remove it as it was common property. I explained to him that the I had spoken to his wife and she had no problems with it (I stupidly did not get it in writing) and the wall was obviously my property. The fence is built down the middle of the stone retaining wall and is attached in two-three locations though a bored hole.
He has now sent me a registered letter demanding removal. I don't know what my rights are and if he even has any kind of a case. Help!
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 7 months ago.
Please explain on whose property does the wall lie? Is there a Home Owner's Association with common area involved in this at all? I may be away from the computer until around 11:00 a.m. today. I may ask you to send a reply with the letter attached. Can you do that? We are on the same time.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have not had the property surveyed, so the plot line is uncertain, but to say that my house is about 50 years older and is surrounded by the wall on both sides of the property, so it is very obvious that the wall was a part of my home/property long before the neighbor built their home. There is no HOA as this is official, however we do have a loose group of residents that form together to have a voice with city hall and get discounts on oil. Membership is voluntary and they have no binding governance on homeowners.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 7 months ago.
I don't see how the neighbor can complain about what you did. As long as the wall is on your property, as it most assuredly is by this time, the only objection he might have to what you did is the appearance of it. That would give him no legal right to request the removal of the fence. The wall belongs to you, and you can do whatever you wish with it, as long as it does not interfere with the neighbor's use of his property. I am ready to be rated (positive I hope) but if you have follow up questions, you can still submit them by Reply here.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes, that is basically what I thought, however I was looking for a legal opinion on what to do if they sue me, what their case or remedy might involve and if I have any exposure. Obviously if the wall is on my property I can do whatever I want-I know that. What I am seeking is how to handle should they pursue with a civil action.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 7 months ago.
If and when that ever happens, which I doubt it will unless your neighbor is crazy, you will have to see a local attorney about how to file a defense. The details of that are too complex to address here.

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