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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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My neighbor has built part of her fence on my property. I have

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My neighbor has built part of her fence on my property. I have double checked with a surveyor, and spoken with the neighbor. She has been given a copy of the survey, and the surveyor has written her, with the same survey. After all this, she says the surveyor is wrong, and that we should not contact her further in any way. She then hung a "no tresspassing" sign on the fence! What is my next move? (I'm in KY.)

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

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You have two options in this situation. The first, if the fence is on your property, is simply to remove it - if you can do so without setting foot on her property (that is very important). If the property line is set in a way that you would have to step on her property to remove the portion on your land, or touch parts of the fence that are on her property, you can't do that. The primary problem with this solution is that she could sue you, if you're wrong about where the property line is (but it doesn't sound like that's the case). She would be entitled to the pieces of the fence, because that's her fence. Of course - you run the risk that she's just going to put it back, which doesn't solve anything.

The second option is to sue her for trespass. Trespass is a strict liability offense. That means that it doesn't matter why she's on your property, or if she intended to trespass or intended to harm you or your property. All that matters is that you own the property, and she intruded upon your land without permission. What you're entitled to is the cost of removing the fence from your property and restoring the land to the condition it was in initially. You've got the survey, which makes it pretty clear that she's on your property line. She can't just go to court and say, 'The surveyor is wrong." (Based on what? How could she know?) She would have to get another survey done that shows the property line somewhere else, and then the judge gets to decide who is right. I don't know how much it will cost to restore your property, but you can sue for up to $2,500 in Small Claims Court, which tends to be very user-friendly. All you need is a couple of estimates, pictures of the fence, and the survey.

The third option is to send her a letter, via certified mail, demanding that she remove the fence or you will sue her for damage. That works in many cases, but from what you've said, it doesn't sound like it would be effective here. Still, you do have the right to try.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Can I sue for trespass if there is no significant damage that has been done by the installation of her fence? We just want to make sure we don't leave the fence in place and end up losing the ownership of the land via "grandfathering." (?) Not sure about this... and of course we want her fence gone and plan to place a fence on the property line.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Lucy was great, but she is not available right now...if someone else can help, I am happy to listen. If it would be better to wait for Lucy, I can do that too!
I sent Lucy an email and let her know you needed her so she will pick up as soon as she gets online.

I'm sorry that I didn't see your reply. I just had to step away briefly.

From a legal perspective, the "trespass" is the intrusion into the land. Technically, a person can sue for trespass if someone just steps onto his property (although, the damages would be $1, so most people don't). The fence itself is a trespass, even if it doesn't actually harm your land so, yes, you can go to court.

What you're talking about is called "adverse possession." It means that a person who occupies someone else's land, without permission, for an extended period of time, gains the right to do so. That time period in Kentucky is fifteen years, so it takes quite awhile. Kentucky Rev. Stat., Section 413.010. You can also avoid a claim of adverse possession by giving her permission to leave the fence there, but it may be better to go to court now to avoid a problem down the road.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 29822
Experience: Lawyer
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