Market Wise Q&A: New Buyer Claims Fence is Not the Correct Boundary


Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News  

Q:  The former next door neighbors were original owners who recently sold their home after residing there for over fifty years.  The new buyers are now claiming that our mutual fence is just shy of one foot into their property.  They are insisting that we move the fence back into our yard and split the cost.  The former owners told us that the fences have been replaced a few times, but never moved.  We just replaced the fence in question less than 2 years ago.  Wouldn’t this fence and its boundary have been 'grandfathered -in"?



A:  Legal questions in your very common case will be answered by a Real Estate Attorney and/or, eventually, a mediator, arbitrator or judge.  At each juncture the costs sharply increase.  Conversely, hiring your own surveyor and maybe even requesting a county surveyor will confirm or deny the existence of a border dispute.  Two things you can count on if the fence is on the wrong property line. The issue will not go away and paying for a surveyor and half of the “good neighbor” fence is considerably less expensive than the alternative.


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Pat Kapowich. Broker/Owner CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL BROKER ABR, CRS, GRI & SRES Home Sales Expertise and Experience (408) 245-7700