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Neighbor in back is hanging lights on our fence. They did…

Neighbor in back is hanging...
Neighbor in back is hanging lights on our fence. They did not ask permission to do this and that neighbor told us that she has the right to hang anything on her side of our fence. Is this true?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/2/2017
legalgems
legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,654
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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If the fence is entirely on one person's property and there is no dispute as to the property line, then the property owner where the fence is located is the owner of the fence.

A neighbor cannot utilize that fence for any reason as that would be considered a trespass.

The damages for trespass may include the following (based on common law tort):

1. actual economic damage

2. court costs

3. injunctive relief (an order precluding further trespass, a violation of which can result in sanctions such as daily fines, award of legal fees, even jail time)

Please see:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/fe/fe88900.pdf

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legalgems
legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,654
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
5 Stars. Thank you. It was extremely difficult to get an answer from the St John's County offices. No one knew what dept. would answer my questions. I am assuming that your answer would hold true for St. John's County, FL. ?

Yes, as property ownership issues are not controlled by local ordinance but are rather common law issues that are addressed in case law. An ordinance cannot "take away" one's property without due compensation under the law of eminent domain.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you for following up. I wrote a letter to this neighbor explaining the information you sent and also about her bushes and trees that a extremely close to the fence. She hasn't removed the lights and hasn't addressed the letter at all. What is the next step? I'm concerned about two Camphor tree seedlings that have grown very close to the fence. I explained that these seedlings will grow to be very big trees and need to be removed. She hasn't responded.

If a neighbor won't respond to a request then the next step is to seek an injunction from the court which directs the person to remove the items. If they fail to do so they can be held in contempt, which can include sanctions such as the award of attorney fees and costs, daily fines for non compliance.

Seedlings are not actionable until they actually encroach. At that point the neighbor whose land is being encroached upon may trim the overhanging limbs but must take care to not damage the tree or face liability.

Here is an overview on these laws:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe962

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