The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Opinion

January 1, 2013

Boundary issues brings forth serious concerns

Ask An Attorney

Two years ago my next door neighbor built a concrete retaining wall and fence between our back-yard driveways.

My job was recently transferred to Oregon, so we got a survey of the property so we could get it ready to sell it.  The new survey says the fence and retaining wall are on our property, as is part of his driveway. What should I do? – L.F., Greenville

First, you need to remember that your knowledge of this problem must be disclosed to any buyer. Also, if the house is mortgaged, your contract with the bank may require you to notify a certain department within the bank’s mortgage-servicing section about the situation. That is a serious concern because failure to notify the bank might leave the bank handicapped in its legal ability to protect its interest in the property.  If that happens, they can sue you for any lost property value that could have been averted if you had notified them sooner.

The first action you need to consider is having another survey performed. Sometimes there are discrepancies in new surveys, especially if a considerable amount of time has passed since the last survey was completed or the survey was done by a non-local survey company.

There’s no use in going forward with legal action against your neighbor if you aren’t absolutely certain that an encroachment has occurred. If you have another survey performed and it confirms the finding that your neighbor has built his fence and carport on your property, then you have many options.

Initially, you should consider approaching your neighbor to work out a sale of some of your property.  You can have a surveyor figure the amount of property your neighbor has “wrongfully” used. You can then have a deed of sale drafted that conveys that land to him for an agreed upon purchase price. Essentially, he can buy the property he built his fence, wall and driveway on from you. If you or your neighbors are not interested in a sale, or if a mortgage contract prevents you from selling a portion of your property without prior approval (which is highly likely if you have a mortgage), then you have other options.

If your neighbor disputes where the boundary line really is, you can contact an attorney and bring a claim asking the court to rule on the location of the boundary line. If your neighbor claims he owns the land now because you failed to object when he built the fence and carport, then you will most likely have to file a claim to determine who has title to the property.

If the fence, wall and driveway were only built two years ago you likely won’t have to worry about your neighbor claiming ownership through adverse possession. Typically, when the rightful owner is still paying taxes on the property, the statute of limitations for an adverse possession claim is ten years.

Litigating a property dispute can be expensive, but courts may order the wrongful party to pay the rightful owner’s court costs, which often include the costs of the surveys.

My advice to you would be to notify your mortgage company and try to sell the land to your neighbor.  If that doesn’t work, then contact an attorney and have him advise you of your options based on the specific facts of your case.  You should handle this as quickly as possible to prevent it from interfering with the sale of the house.

Text Only
Opinion
  • School supplies, football signs of end of summer

    It is not here yet, but there are two landmarks on the horizon which traditionally indicate the end of summer is approaching.

    July 27, 2014

  • This is ... summer?

    Just sitting here, wondering what season this is again ...
    — Seriously, this is summer? In Texas?

    July 20, 2014

  • Why no to YMCA?

    Sometimes the lack of news can be just as disturbing as the daily barrage of bad news.

    July 5, 2014

  • Service members deserve our thanks

    More than two million active and reserve military personnel serve in the United States Military across the world: from just down the road in Fort Worth to the Forward Operating Base Jackson in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, U.S. men and women endure harsh conditions, potentially fatal missions, rigorous training and heart-aching separation.

    July 5, 2014

  • Texas should not have to face surge alone

    Texas political leaders recently announced an increase in funding and personnel to secure the Texas-Mexico border.

    June 27, 2014

  • Closer to Cliff than Homer on any Father’s Day

    It is Father’s Day, the one day a year when sons and daughters (hopefully) remember to thank Dear Old Dad for all he has meant to them over the years.

    June 15, 2014

  • Lives depend on how we drive

    Local roads and highways have been the scene of six motor vehicle accident fatalities over the past week.

    June 11, 2014

  • Summer’s here, ready or not

    Too late, summer’s here ...
    — The occupants of the Kellar Estate once again find themselves preparing for the annual onslaught of heat and humidity which is summer in Texas.

    June 8, 2014

  • YMCA 'ball' now in city's court

    The YMCA/event center project is now back on track, thanks to a $1 million pledge from L-3 Mission Integration. It has been more than a year since Greenville voters approved a $15 million bond to build to new Y.

    June 1, 2014

  • In just a flash, she's turned 15

    Shaking my head in disbelief once again ...
    Jaylynn is 15.
    Let that sink in for a minute.

    May 25, 2014

Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Yes
No
Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide