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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38485
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
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Our property line is defined by a fence/retaining wall built

Customer Question

Our property line is 'defined' by a fence/retaining wall built by the neighbor before we purchased the property. our home sits about 6 feet below the duplex on that property (just to indicate we're living on quite a sloped area). the contractor that owns the neighboring duplex built a substandanrd retaining wall so that in the 4 years we've owned this property we've noticed his fence continually shifting/leaning into our property further and further. we started documenting this trend with photographs and contacted the contractor (with a certified letter and phone calls) to request that he replace the retaining wall and fence as soon as possible to prevent further damage to our property. 4 months later he still has not returned our calls or taken any steps to heed our request. we cannot afford a lawyer to persue this case for us. what can we do next to ensure a solution to the problem???
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Can you tell me, what wil it cost to fix this? Do you have any idea? Your in OR?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
i'm sorry i really don't know. we're talking about 80 feet of fence and a 4 ft tall retaining wall that needs to be replaced. it would probably require manual excavation since they built their duplex so close to the property line (about 10 ft) that they could never get an excavator back there. the project would cause pretty severe damage to our property in the process, in terms of our gardens and landscapes that would have to be moved/trampled on in order to access/remove/replace their fence. i have not sought a contractors bid for the job as my husband says it would be illegal for us to replace or do anything with the neighbor's fence.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 years ago.
Thanks

That is the start...you need to have a contractor come out and give a bid on cost to fix.

Then, you can determine what to do.

In OR, you can sue for up to $7.5K in small claims...so if you can get this fixed for near that amount you can save the lawyer fees and sue yourself in small claims. More info here

http://www.osbar.org/public/pamphlets/smallclaims.html

From what you describe, this sounds like your neighbors fault. If you can show the judge as much, the judge will order he (your neighbor) pay to have this fixed up to the $7.5K.

SO, get a bid and if you can settle for $7.5K, sue them in small claims.