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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27681
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I bought a property where the front fence is over the street

Customer Question

I bought a property where the front fence is over the street walk. It was there for at least 10 years. The city never did anything about it but now want me to remove it. Am I protected by the grandfather law?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: The property is located in Northridge California in a small and quiet street.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: I just got a letter from the inspector to remove the fence and a second one to come to a hearing.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I searched the city files and there is nothing there on any activity nor on violations
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

There is no general grandfather law. That's a common misconception. The term grandfathering refers to a situation where a new law is passed, and the legislature includes a clause stating that people who were not in compliance with the law at the time it went into effect are "grandfathered" in and therefore exempt. This is not required.

You may also be thinking of adverse possession, which is a law that sometimes allows people to occupy someone else's land for an extended period of time to keep it due to their inaction. Unfortunately, a person cannot adversely possess property owned by state, federal, or local governments. So there is no defense here to having to remove the fence. You might be able to sue the person who sold you the property if they were aware of the issue and did not disclose it to you, as long as the house was purchased within the past 2 years.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I am paid for the time I spent answering your question. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.

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