neighbor fence

Inside the Law: Adverse Possession Fence

August 21, 2018 - 3:15 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Good fences don't always make happy neighbors. 

Two neighbors in Colorado have twice called the police on each other because of a dispute over a fence. 

Two fences, really. 

The first was a wire fence owned by a man who had lived on the property for 21 years. When a new neighbor moved in next door, he had a survey done, discovered that the old neighbor's fence was on his property, removed the wire fence and began to put up a new fence several feet onto what the old owner believed was his property.  

Forget politics. You've never seen a border dispute over a fence until you've seen two neighbors fighting over one.  

Many people would think that the survey would be definitive. But that's not necessarily true. The old owner is arguing he owns it through adverse possession, a legal concept that says that if someone comes onto your property and uses it as an owner would for a period of time, in most states 15 years, the person who's occupied it gets it even though he didn't buy it.  

Most neighbors don't like to fight with their neighbor and are willing to let the neighbor keep an encroaching fence. But it's up to you to say something or else you risk losing that land, but do so politely because no matter who wins, you still have to live next door.