#1  
Old 10-20-2016, 05:54 PM
ronyrooman ronyrooman is offline
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Land Survey Help

I'm trying to work with my neighbor to put up a fence on the property line between us. Unfortunately, I think the neighbor is trying to be difficult so I need a little advice.

I have a plat survey that was provided when I bought my house. The survey clearly denotes positions of "1/2 rebar with cap". From my understanding, these show the positions of the property corners. My neighbor says they can't "make sense" of the survey. In a way I get this because "1/2 rebar with cap" is not super clear to the average person. If it said "property corner" or something like that, it would be much clearer.

Nothing has changed on the property since the survey, so I'm confident the survey is right. How can I convince my neighbor that the "1/2 rebar with cap" are the property boundaries? Is this language and practice standard in the land surveying industry? My neighbor says that we need a new survey but this seems unnecessary. Even worse, they're using the additional cost of the survey as a reason why they don't want to do it. Is it unreasonable for me to want to use the existing survey?

I'm unable to contact the original surveyor so I'm looking for suggestions. I tried calling up a local land surveying company and they told me that the rebar with cap is standard practice and should denote the property corners. I asked them if they could look at the survey give me a written statement, but they will not decipher a survey from another company.

I have a survey clearly shows the borders, but my neighbor refuses to accept the information in the survey. What can I do?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 10-20-2016, 05:59 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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The survey should be registered with your municipality. If he won't trust a registered, stamped document then you're out of luck I guess. Rebar is a piece of iron. I assume you knew that?
  #3  
Old 10-20-2016, 06:12 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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The rebar/cap is just a marker. Have you found the marker? Is your neighbor pretending that it can't be the marker, or that he can't tell if it's been moved since the survey?

Other boundary markers include nails driven into curbs and crosses scratched into sidewalks. So rebar or other metal markers are not at all odd.

You might be able to go down to the County Registrar and get a copy of the plat for his lot. It might refer to the same marker, or it might refer to another one. Either way, the two plats should match up.

Of course if he doesn't want to pay for half a fence, there's no way to force him to agree.
  #4  
Old 10-20-2016, 06:27 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Go ahead and build your fence a few inches to the inside of the property line ... if the neighbor wishes to contest the fence, the burden of proof lies with them ... they have to hire a new survey crew to prove your fence crosses the boundary onto to his property.

In my jurisdiction, these survey marks like you've described are common and I've yet to find one in the wrong position ... HOWEVER ... here we also have complete written descriptions starting with some local established baseline. It is this written description that is legally binding, not the survey markers at the corners of your property.

I owned a property in town and the map that was included with the escrow documents actually had bogus information on it. I had followed the written legal description to survey my property lines for my own fence when I discovered the discrepancy. It was a good five foot off from what the map said. When I brought this to the attention of the county survey office, they smiled and said the maps weren't binding, and that I was smart for following the written legal description.

I say I was just lucky ...

ETA: I missed that part about the neighbor paying for half ... they don't want to if they can get you to pay for the whole thing ... I see no other reason they would doubt "1/2 rebar with cap" as the corner.

Last edited by watchwolf49; 10-20-2016 at 06:31 PM.
  #5  
Old 10-20-2016, 06:29 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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If you found the rebar then check local code for any requirements, then put up the fence on your property. Don't expect your neighbor to cooperate.

What kind of fence do you want to put up?
  #6  
Old 10-20-2016, 06:42 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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Get hold of copies of the deeds for both properties. These should complement each other and make reference to the corner markers.

If (as is quite likely) they are consistent with the survey documents, you can have confidence that you know just where the property line is. Neighbor may not want to agree, but he'll have no way to defend any other opinion.
  #7  
Old 10-20-2016, 10:01 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronyrooman View Post
I have a survey clearly shows the borders, but my neighbor refuses to accept the information in the survey. What can I do?

Thanks in advance.
You can be disappointed that your neighbor will not be participating in your fence construction (or at least not in the $$$ side of it), pay for and put up the fence you want on or inside your property line and lastly decide to put on and keep on a smiling face for the rest of the time you live next door to them.

They don't want to spend the money on this fence and this is how they're telling you. Don't be surprised if they make their own fence choices down the line and attempt to rely on your goodwill/fence/property line at that time.
But if you press them now to the point they grudgingly agree to go along, something else will come up to make them back out and you will really start to feel a more permanent resentment. I have been there, w/ a crowbar in my bare hands first thing in the morning tearing down one side of my brand new fence.
  #8  
Old 10-20-2016, 10:12 PM
ronyrooman ronyrooman is offline
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Thanks everyone. You've been great. I was able to locate the marker. I had always wondered what that was. Duh. I'm confident it hasn't moved and that the survey I have is accurate and plenty clear. I think my neighbor is just being difficult and I'll have to move forward on my own.

Thanks again!
  #9  
Old 10-21-2016, 07:38 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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The neighbor doesn't want to share the cost of building a fence that you want. You're on your own. Pay for your own fence.
  #10  
Old 10-21-2016, 09:42 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Agree in general with what most folks have said. But ...

As I've written about before I had a boundary issue that could have gotten ugly.

When I bought this particular tract house the prior owner explained the three neighbors' boundaries of this irregularly shaped hillside lot. And pointed out the markers that were there. And provided a copy of the recorded plat map and legal description which originally came from the tract developer.

A few years later in the course of renovating my backyard we obtained a fresh survey. 100% of the earlier info was wrong. The plat maps were wrong. The markers on the ground were wrong. All the neighbors' unanimous agreement on the "traditional" boundaries were wrong.

The differences were a couple to a few feet. Each of us had something built on somebody else's land. I owned a sizeable piece of one neighbor's driveway. A driveway built by the original tract developer who made the original mistake(s). I had inadvertently moved my lakefront retaining wall onto somebody else's property and in fact had irretrievably dumped a couple hundred SF of his land into the community water.

Oops.

We agreed to let sleeping dogs lie. I know three of the four properties, including mine, have since changed hands. I have no idea whether the current owners are blissfully unaware, letting the dogs sleep on, or are locked in mortal combat over the discrepancies.


Bottom line:
You have a survey. You might not have the survey if you get my distinction.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 10-21-2016 at 09:44 AM.
  #11  
Old 10-21-2016, 10:34 AM
Xema Xema is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
... we obtained a fresh survey. 100% of the earlier info was wrong.
100% is unusual, but errors are not. Hence the wisdom of referring to the deeds, which contain the official description of property boundaries.

Quote:
We agreed to let sleeping dogs lie.
When neighbors are unsure where property lines actually lie but agree on where they should be, a simple solution is generally available: they exchange "quitclaim" deeds.

Such a deed says, in effect "Whatever interest I may currently own in the property on your side of the agreed-on line (specified herein), I hereby sell to you for $1." This neatly avoids the need to figure out where exactly the current line lies.
  #12  
Old 10-21-2016, 10:51 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
100% is unusual, but errors are not. Hence the wisdom of referring to the deeds, which contain the official description of property boundaries.
And the deeds may contain ambiguous and conflicting information also. Depending on where you are, and how old the deeds and surveys are, one or the other may be more useful. You take a chance either way, but in my limited experience when it comes to matters of inches the property owner who makes a fuss usually ends up wasting the most of their own time and money. OTOH if it's a significant amount of land, and your neighbor isn't the reasonable sort who will compromise to both of your advantages then it's worth it to pay for a new survey and even a lawyer if needed to straighten out the deeds.

Quote:
When neighbors are unsure where property lines actually lie but agree on where they should be, a simple solution is generally available: they exchange "quitclaim" deeds.

Such a deed says, in effect "Whatever interest I may currently own in the property on your side of the agreed-on line (specified herein), I hereby sell to you for $1." This neatly avoids the need to figure out where exactly the current line lies.
And it really is that easy. It gets done all the time. It's a good idea to get this taken care of with any sale of property as it usually costs absolutely nothing (except for the $1 if you actually exchange the money).

Last edited by TriPolar; 10-21-2016 at 10:54 AM.
  #13  
Old 10-21-2016, 11:26 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Agreed in general that's the best resolution.

But doing mutual quitclaims involves the group of neighbors paying a professional somebody to properly write up the "... agreed-on line (specified herein) ... " part.

Ours was further complicated by having actual structure subject to set-backs that was over or too close to the line. Even moving the lines to the "traditional" boundaries would still have left some folks noncompliant with set-backs. Yes, the tract developer was incompetent at best and a crook at worst.

Finally, three of the four affected properties were lakefront. To a community-owned lake. Which would make the community association = monster HOA a party to any formal change of the legal description of those properties. Not a prospect any of us relished even though the HOA was about as benign and effective as HOAs get.

As a wise old executive I used to work for was fond of saying: "Never open a can of worms unless you're prepared to eat all the worms."

Last edited by LSLGuy; 10-21-2016 at 11:30 AM.
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