How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask lwpat Your Own Question
lwpat, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 25387
Experience:  Practicing attorney with expertise in easements
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
lwpat is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I purchased my home 3 years ago using an existing survey. Ive

This answer was rated:

I purchased my home 3 years ago using an existing survey. I've recently come to learn through neighbors that prior to me owning the house my one neighbor moved the fence several feet in the middle of night. Since moving in my neighbor installed a new fence and sprinklers. I'm concerned if I don't address the problem I will unwillingly forfeit the property. What legal options do I have? Is theft of land a chargeable offence? I just need to know what my options are for when I speak to my neighbor.
Thanks for using JA. I will do my best to answer your questions. DON’T FORGET the your deposit is not used to compensate me until you rate my service.

I am sorry to hear of your situation. The good news is that the law recently changed in New York making it much more difficult for a party to claim land through adverse possession. Your first step is to contact a registered land surveyor and have him determine the exact property line. Until that is done you really don't know in a manner that can be proved in court that the fence is on your property. If the fence is on your property, your best option probably is to send your neighbor a certified letter asking him to remove the fence and giving him a certain length of time to do so or you will have it removed at his expense. If he does not, then I would suggest that you contact a local attorney for further assistance. Usually, the attorney will tell you that can remove the fence and place the material on his side of the property line. However, you should avoid a confrontation and if that appears likely, then have your attorney file suit for trespass.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The fence he moved was my fence. After moving the fence he put a shed against it, planted large shrubs ect, to make it look established like it had never been done. I can see from just looking at my survey that my property was taken. The survey shows an angle on the side that borders him and now my property is perfectly square. Is theft of this kind punishable? Can they be brought up on charges? I have at least 2 different neighbors that witnessed him moving the fence in the middle of the night. I plan on getting another survey but would like to have as much information as possible prior to alerting this neighbor that I'm aware of what he did. I'd like to talk to him first if at all possible. I'm not looking to start a war although I'm sure that's what will happen. I just want to have all the facts as far as my rights prior to starting this
It is not a criminal action if that is your question. While it should be a criminal trespass, law enforcement will tell you that it is a civil action. Just looking at a survey is not sufficient for a judge, you will need a surveyor that can actually testify as a witness. Hope that helps
lwpat and other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you