Many homes have fences surrounding the property. This can be a positive selling point for a home, especially if the buyer has pets or young children. However, the presence of a fence can also be a major headache when buying a home. A fence built inside the property line tends to be less problematic. In contrast, a fence built over the property line can cause major issues, depending on the property line fence laws that apply. It is important to understand the specific property line fence regulations to avoid having to deal with any fence on property line violations.
Hire a Surveyor to Perform a Property Line Survey
Established Property owners should have a property line survey prepared and construct their fence consistent with the property line to avoid a fence property line dispute. However, it is common that property owners skip the survey of property and install the fence based on their best guess of their boundary. In most cases, this oversight is not discovered until one of the property owners affected sells his or her home.
You should never rely on your best guess when it comes to defining your property lines. It is extremely important to hire a reputed surveyor. The cost of a skilled land surveyor generally ranges from $300 – $950. This cost varies depending on the location, size and shape of the area.
As a new home buyer, you have a lot on your mind. Aside from finding your dream home in the ideal neighborhood, you must deal with additional tasks such as inspections and legal document review, and hope that everything goes as planned with the property purchase. The last thing you need to concern yourself with is a fence on property line issue, but unfortunately, this occurs on a quite frequently.
What happens in a fence over property line situation?
The title search and survey will likely reveal if there is an issue with a fence. If there is and the fence is located less than twelve inches of the property line, most title companies are willing to make an exception. If it’s more than twelve inches, the current owner of the home will need to request an affidavit from the neighboring property owner stating they are aware of the issue and make no legal claim to the fence or the land between the fence and the property line. Once the affidavit is submitted to the title insurance company, they more often than not insure it as if the encroachment is less than twelve inches.
Neighbor Fence Dispute Over Fence and Property Line Disagreements
If your soon-to-be neighbor refuses to sign an affidavit, he or she can acquire the land on which the fence was built under adverse possession. New York’s adverse possession law was updated in 2008. Don’t be offended if your new neighbor requests a fee to sign the affidavit — it’s a common request. It is also common for your neighbor to ask for an easement, which gives them the right to use the land in exchange for signing the affidavit. Easements are recorded with the county in which the property is located and apply to all future owners of the homes in question. These situations raise significant and complex legal issues that you should consult with an attorney about.
We Specialize in Fence on Property Line Legal Issues
Fence and property line situations can raise a number of questions when it comes to the purchase of a home, while issues related to affidavits and easements can be complicated. Our real estate attorneys have deep experience in dealing with this area of law. If you have questions or if you are looking for legal guidance to ensure you are protected when buying a home, we can help you.