Neighbor Issues (Massive Text Wall Ahead)

So, I’ve got a bit of a problem with a neighbor. With a bit of a complicated situation, so I humbly ask for some sort of much needed guidance in this situation.

First a poorly made ms paint map of the lot lines for reference, it’ll be needed :frowning:
The grey areas are roads (minus in between the green, that is explained further on), purple is an existing fence, right on the lot lines. The yellow is an alley that ceased to exist around 1975, the property was turned over to the property owners.

The rest of the colors denote individual property lots, as indicated on the county provided platt map i have.

The gray in between my properties is the driveway to the garage for building “A”
Whew, now that the preface is over, on to the issue.

Last tax sale season, a gentlemen purchased the 3 “red color” properties behind my properties (mine are green).

A bit of history first, All properties marked with a #1 were previously owned by the same man, he slowly lost all of them to taxes over the course of about 15 years.

I bought one building, another guy bought a house and the titular neighbor bought the 3 properties marked in red.

The only house on his property is “Blg H” all other lots are nicely landscaped empty lots

After the neighbor purchased the property at the tax sale I saw him and his consorts wandering around on my property south of “Blg H”

I knew they had just bought the property and probably didnt know where the lines were, so I went out and said hello, welcomed them to the town and tried to get the lot line issues out of the way.

I had had “Building A” surveyed before I bought it some 20 years ago, so I knew right where the pins were and all that, all along the purple line in the graphic is a prexisting fence right on the lot line.

The man initially was fairly cordial, he started talking about getting rid of the vehicles parked on my property, so I stopped him and told him that he was on my property. He dismissed me and told me he knew where all the lot lines were and that he owned 8ft south of the purple fence.

I told him he was wrong, but didnt feel like getting into an argument about it as they left my property anyway so I left.

Fastforward a few days and he has pulled his car across all of the lots to the east of my properties and parked on my property to unload his car.

He used the old alley entrance (yellow) to the west. Now this alley has long since been blocked off, with the properties starting with “building A” going east all having fences and buildings obstructing the passage

The only way into the back of the properties is through either my driveway(gray between green) or by moving a parking block at the far west side and crossing over 3 properties to get to where he was parked. My driveway is always blocked, I park in it, I park my RV in it, its almost 70ft long.

So i had another exchange with the neighbor, once again I tried to explain as calmly as I could, he immediatly adopted a “go shove it” attitude. I got pissed, told him to get his shit off my property. He says he’ll move it “when hes done”

I was pretty hot so I called the cops, they came told him to move his car and stay off my property.

Fastforward another 2 weeks, late sunday night he does the same thing, this time with a rented box truck. I was irate, I go out there again and he has the truck hung up on my utility lines, I call the cops and the utility company. The asshole they send out fixes the problem by cutting my phone and internet lines and telling my they need to be higher (No vehicles are allowed back there, and he smelled like a beer keg exploded on him)

I have a minor freak out as I wont have phone or internet for at least 2-3 days, I also have a business that relies on these utilities.

I tell them to move the truck immediately, they do. I have already called the cops but they never show. I called again to make sure they received my complaint. I also have video and picture evidence of this transgression.

Regardless, a few days later the guy comes over and tries to apologize, then asks me to move my vehicles so he can use “his” driveway and see out his front window (see what I thought, the garbage can area I have behind the buildings?).

I tell him no, obviously, and then tell him I’m putting up a fence this spring so we dont need to deal with each other. He mutters something about legal action and leaves.

So i havent seen much of him other than the footprints in the snow going from his door down my driveway to the main street. But at this point I dont even want to bother getting in another fight, spring is a few weeks away and that fence is going up.

So the issue is really this:

This building he now lives in, “H” is built nearly exactly on the property lines, with less than 1-2 feet to spare on any side. Problem being, one of two entrances to “H” (the white dots) is empties directly onto my property.

But he owns all the property up the the other street, and needs to put in a driveway. Also, his other door has easy access to his property. ( I have been in “Building H” many times previous to his purchase.)

If I put up this fence, he will essentially have about 1.5-2 feet to access his main entrance which goes absolutely nowhere but down my drive. I feel like a jackass doing something like that, but he will not listen, I doubt trespassing charges will make any difference. I feel like this fence is my only option. I am still considering leaving him 3 ft, but I just feel like he will try to take advantage of anything i give him.

Well, if anyone made it through that textwall, commendations and thanks,

Few other thoughts,

-all of my properties are zoned commercial

  • I planned on putting up the fence eventually anyway and making that area parking for tenants/customers.

-There are no easements or setbacks for fences.

-This felt like writing one of those bad logic questions. :rolleyes:

Does he have any legal recourse to block me?

Thanks for any thoughts, or even reading this long mess :stuck_out_tongue:

Whew! I read it all…and…it doesn’t sound like there is a “good” solution.

(Other than the obvious: keep cool, dude! Getting hot isn’t going to help any!)

It sounds as if your legal rights are just vaguely immoral: if you placed the fence where you’re legally able to, you all but cut the guy off from his entrance. That’s a rotten thing to do to him. But it’s completely legal.

Ideally, you and he would have coffee and talk it out. Maybe there could be a property line adjustment via quitclaim deeds. (That’s how my family coped with a situation where a neighbor owned a teensy little triangle of land adjacent to our land. We traded that 1/20th of an acre for another teensy 1/20th acre somewhere else. Everybody was happy.) Maybe you could rent him access to your space for some nominal fee: the contract makes it clear that this is not surrendering your rights to the land in any way, simply permitting him to cross it to come and go.

If that fails, you need a lawyer. You need to have a very clear idea in your mind what you want from the lawyer. If it goes that far, I’m afraid it would have to be “I want to build a fence on the edge of my property. Can I?” Once the lawyers come into the game, peaceful compromise is five times harder.

Good fences make good neighbors…or so the fence-builder companies tell us. You need a lawyer to make sure that the other guy doesn’t get a lawyer to sue you for “blocking his access” to his own property. If somebody built a fence that blocked my access to my door, I’d be cheesed.

Maybe you could get your lawyer to talk to him (or to his lawyer) to work out a compromise that suits everyone, if direct talks don’t work.

I think it’s mighty nice of you to think at all of the other guy’s needs and convenience.

But, seriously, man, stop getting angry. Bad for your blood pressure, and can put you into awkward legal positions.

Good luck! I wouldn’t want to be the lawyer for either of you guys!

Here’s the thing, though. That property has never had access through the driveway that he walks down all the time. It is my driveway always has been the previous multiple property owner had agreements with the people who owned my property 2 owners prior Loooong dead agreements.
The guy who previously owned the “1” properties allowed a walkway back there. He had no use of our driveway when he owned it, but had his renters drive across the two eastern properties for parking. That farthest east property has been sold, and those owners have blocked off their access with parking blocks again, 10 years or better ago.

That was his right, but he doesnt own the properties anymore, and 2, nobody has lived in that house for over 10 years.

Its like if allowed my renters to walk across one of my property to access the sidewalk, if i sell that property, the next owner shouldnt have to make concessions if the renters have another way around. Which this guy does, he just cant move things out of the main entrance anymore.
Its a really messed up situation, but he should have done his homework before buying it at auction.

Am I really supposed to move my life around so this guy can cross 70ft of my personal property, that I use constantly, at will? What if he falls on the ice on my property? Now I should need to plow a 70x15 area for someone elses use because they didnt do their homework?

I just hope reading these will break loose some fair solution, maybe a written agreement to put the fence 4 - 5ft from the house but still recognized as my land. Still afraid they will just abuse the priviledge

Its just a real bad situation, thanks for reading and replying though :o

Well, I thought I read it and looked over the pic somewhat carefully, but I’m still not entirely clear. Think you may have mixed up an East/Westin describing how he accessed the alley. But no matter - what does your lawyer say? You consulted a lawyer, didn’t you?

I’m not sure why he would have any kind of an easement over your property. It doesn’t appear as though his property is “landlocked.” And the previous allowed access was remote. What do your neighbors BCE) say?

Don’t know what a court would say about a fence blocking his main entrance, tho. I’d hope they’d say “Too bad,” but I simply don’t know whether any principles control.

But stop getting excited, DON’T confront him, consult with a lawyer (or 2), follow their advice, let THEM do the talking for you, and acknowledge that resolution is likely going to take time.

Professional survey. Send copy, certified mail to neighbour.

Go to zoning commission in your community and ask them what your options are, where you can put your fence etc. Tell them the truth, new owner being hugely unreasonable.

Contact a lawyer, show him survey, point out where you’re putting your new fence.

Contract with a fencing company for new fence. Set a date for construction to begin. Inform police, with documentation of all of the above, that you have cause to anticipate problems from neighbour, ask them nicely to attend ground breaking for new fence to insure conflict does not escalate.

Day before construction starts supply neighbour with copies of all documentation, inform that the police will be attending to insure there will be no interference.

Done and done!

Thanks everyone, I have had a survey done on “building A” and the back lot line for that property as shown on the platt map is laser straight from one street to the other. Just like the fences indicate.

I dont want to spend another $1000-2000 for a survey company to draw a straight line from the back pin. I just cant afford it if I wanted to.
Good catch on the directional mistake, they used to enter from the western side. The last person that lived there actually didn’t use the alley at all once it was blocked off in the west.

Zoning commission says I can put the fence right on the lot line, this whole thing was because the previous owner built his properties oddly, and he was also the one that had the properties split up in the odd manner shown in the graphic.

I think elbows has the right of it, except I have to put the fence up myself, so it will be extra fun dealing with the issues.

Besides, I know the construction of the house he bought, It wouldn’t be all that difficult to put in another door on the western side of the house. Where all his property is anyway.

Seems dickish, but I plan on getting an auger and throwing up the back portion of the fence while the owners are gone. Avoid them completely, then I just get to wait for the inevitable police and lawsuit :frowning:

I’m sure that approach will totally escalate the conflict to the max.

Good Luck!

Agreed, however I dont see an option that doesnt escalate the issue. They already completely disregard the rights of 2 other landowners and refuse to listen to law or man on the trespassing front.

I still plan on sending them all papers and permit, and the police will be informed.

I dont expect them to sit on site and protect me while I build a fence though.

I just dont want to take the chance of being attacked, crazy stuff happens in this world these neighbors have proven unstable to me, you just get the feeling when you talk to him.

Yeah. Please do us a favor and have video rolling, just for our entertainment. :rolleyes:

Be sure as to the rules re: fence placement. Some allow it right on the line, others require everything - including concrete in holes, be on your side. Considering everything involved, you might was to err on the side of placing it 6-12 inches further on your side than absolutely necessary. But your call.

If it were me, I’d:
-have a lawyer write a letter;
-obtain a new clean survey of that portion with flags identifying the pipes;
-clearly notify the zoning body of my intentions and obtain a permit if necessary;
-and I’d have it erected by a bonded/insured company.

You say you can’t afford it, but the headaches after might make the cost appear small in retrospect.

Just curious, in what general area is this property located?

I plan on everything my side, with some 6 inches or so leeway. Yeah when I mean I cant afford it, I cant afford it we barely pay our basic bills since my store closed down and I lost my management job 2 years ago, went from 50k to 18-24k a year. I cant afford $5000 in fees, not even remotely. Thats why I plan on leaving no chances on placement.

We live in michiganland, where the land is flat and the farms are plenty

In an ideal world, I would absolutely do what you have intended.

But this way if he takes me to court, he has to prove the fence is on his property, his fee for survey and not mine.

The property with the house on it has no access to any street. It happens that the current owner owns several properties adjacent to the one with the house on it, and the previous owner owned even more adjacent properties, but the deed for that house probably specifies how its owner is allowed to access it.

I’m betting it’s that alley.

I wish I could offer constructive advice, but all I’ve got (beyond the popular “get a lawyer”) is to see if the deeds or surveys are part of the public record: you know what yours says, but what does his say?

Maybe he just didn’t read too closely, and maybe you can help him understand what it says (through your lawyer probably), but maybe there was some screw-up generations ago, and you both hold a deed that claims you own the same land (the “8 feet” south of his wall).
That will be a lot harder to untangle.

I guess my response is, how can a deed just say it allows access through property that the previous owner never owned?

I think I ought to look it up in the deeds as suggested, but another thing to consider, the driveway between the green buildings was never maintained as part of the alley by the city. It’s always been private access to the garage and as an unloading bay for the old store.

I kinda think its ironic though, the other three properties the guy owns connected to the little house are really really nicely landscaped. The view from his front door is of a backlot of commercial properties; car storage, cement, gravel mud holes, infrastructure, and garbage cans.

If i had bought the properties Id have just put in another door and said hell with the mess out the front. Probably would have asked me to put up a fence to block the view of the stuff

At least check with the zoning commission that your interpretation is correct, that you’re within your rights to put the fence where you plan! It only costs time to do! Consider getting something in writing.

But if neither of you have a legit, current survey the police will not want anything to do with advocating between you, it will just amount to “he says vs he says”.

Just going ahead and building, without bothering to check with the zoning commission, could easily prove to be the most expensive option, in the long run. Something to think about. It’s how lawyers get rich, after all!

You raise a kinda curious point - and I have no idea as to the answer - as to what rights pertain to a specific property after it is aggregated with others. Prop law was 30+ years ago for me, so maybe someone else will have the answer.

In this case, the OP didn’t indicate when the various lots were purchased, or that there was any recorded or prescriptive easement to that house at any set time.

I know what I personally think the solution should be, but that is besides the point.

Looking at the map again (REALLY boring day at work!) it doesn’t look like the house was EVER landlocked. Originally, owner 1 owned all of the land. So even if he had used the driveway or old alley for access, he didn’t have to. Even after the green and brown lots were sold off, 1 could have accessed the house over either of the adjacent empty lots. Now that the new owner bought the 4 red lots, he has ready access either to the N or W.

Q for the OP: when is the last time anyone accessed the house down your driveway? Had that house been occupied prior to last year’s tax sale? If so, how did they access their house?

One question jumps out at me: how did the residential house get a building permit issued, with such weird problems?

You can check this out yourself; the city archives are public. Ask to see the file with the building permit for that lot,and the accompanying land survey map and architectural drawngs.
Those documents surely show the property boundaries and access road to the house, as it was legally approved by the authorities.

Does your fence line match those documents?
If not, the surveyor’s pins which you are relying on may not be the final authority. They are only one professional surveyor’s opinion. If there exist other documents which contradict each other, then you may need a judge to rule which documents serve as official record. Your neighbor’s surveyor (and lawyer!) might overrule your surveyor; and those pins which you think are official might not be the right line to build your fence.

(disclaimer: I didn’t study all the details in this complicated post—so I might be off-base about something.)

Ok so basically, I know the zoning guy, literally one guy. I am allowed to build a fence on the property line.

Second, the last time anyone lived in the house was over 10 years ago, and that renter did not access the house from the alley or my driveway, they parked on the other side.

Additionally, the renter before that only used the driveway a few times, mainly because we liked him well enough and let him, and we weren’t using the driveway to park at the time.

As for the building issues itself, all those properties were built in the 1920’s to 1960’s

There actually used to be a garage for those properties in red that faced the North South street, but it burned down probable 17-18 years ago at least.

As for the fence, most of the purple fence was erected by the previous owner of the “1” lots. He put them up when the city stopped maintenance of the alley way in the 70’s and sold the property to the individual owners.

All right, man - Mr 3130, put up that fence!

If he successfully challenges, hard to imagine anything worse than having to take it down. But I strongly urge not confronting the guy, and documenting everything.

Yeah, consider having a friend there with a phone to film any interaction and act as a witness to any shenanigans. Might go a long way to keeping angry neighbour in line somewhat.

(Glad to hear you’ve checked and gotten the go ahead! )

He has another entrance which should be his main entrance as it opens to his property, not to yours.

While it’s nice that you have a conscience, this would not even scratch the surface of jackassery compared to what this fellow is doing. I hereby absolve you of all guilt in this matter.

I agree wholeheartedly. I think you need to be firm and unyielding, otherwise this jerk will take from you. He certainly doesn’t appear to have a conscience.

I don’t know the legalities, but unless and until he demonstrates sincere remorse for what he’s done AND makes an earnest and believable effort to be reasonable, you have nothing to gain from being helpful to him.