How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

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Latest post Mon, Jun 22 2015 11:55 AM by KHartley82. 16 replies.
  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 5:09 PM

    • KHartley82
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    How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    My biker gang neighbor has decided to hate me and bully me, calling me a b**** and a c*** from across the fence, because I am "junking up his neighborhood" (I recently purchased an 80 Toyota pickup, and as a single mom I didn't get my lawn mowed fast enough and it got about a foot tall before I got to it).  The way the property lines run, apparently at one point, it was easier for him to put his fence up so that a small portion of his property is actually in my yard.  For this reason, he states that he is legally able to come into my yard any time he pleases to mow his small strip next to his house.  My problem is, that if he is going to be offensive towards me, I do not want him in my yard because it just gives him an excuse to degrade me more.  I would like to know if he truly is legally able to come onto my property.  If he is able to, I would like to know if I can legally make him move his fence or sell me his strip of property so that he is not allowed in my yard anymore.  Thank you so much.  I just want him as far away from me as possible, he makes me nervous.

  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 5:24 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    How long has his fence been up in your yard carving out a slice of your yard for his use?  About how many years?   

    If you get over being nervous you may be able to make his life very nervous and more...if he is on your lands and you clearly order him to get off and he refuses...not mere posting of no trespassing signs ..which is a class 2 misdemeanor, he is toying with a class 1 misdemeanor in SD and if convicted he can get up to,1 year in jail and $2000 fine ..look up,criminal trespass laws in SD. 

    But answer my question above...



  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 5:56 PM In reply to

    • KHartley82
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    I don't know when the fence was put up, long before I bought the house.  I have only owned it since April 2014. 

     I must have explained it wrong though, his fence is up so that a piece of his property is in my lawn unfenced.  So he takes it upon himself to mosey into my yard weekly to mow his little strip, and essentially use it to be a bully and a snoop, and proceed to tell me there is nothing I can do about it.  I'll attach a picture I uploaded to photobucket to explain.  I outlined his property in orange.  Note the cement wall, which is his.  He has told me that if I want to build a fence, it cannot touch his wall and must be several inches away or he will cause major problems.

    I feel I need to protect myself from this guy cause he is really a piece of work.  Thank you so much for your help.

    http://i25.photobucket...

  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 5:59 PM In reply to

    • KHartley82
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    He also has a rain gutter that comes off his house and the spout comes out into my yard (but still on his property, if that makes sense.  Just an extra bit of info for you.

  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 6:51 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    Whatever you do is only going to escalate hostilities so if you decide to escalate to keep him off your property you'd better be willing and able to engage in scorched earth battle with him.

    Otherwise you just ignore him and let him do what he does without letting it get a rise out of you.

    He'll keep at you as long as he knows it pushes your buttons. Ignore him and don't respond to anything he does and he'll eventually no longer have any fun with you and he'll move on to somebody else. The way to do that is just wave and smile whenever you see him then just turn away.

    Heck, bake him cookies and tell him he can mow whenever he likes, no problem. He won't know what hit him.

    But if you want to escalate, put up a cheap chain link fence on your property line and call the police every time he steps on your property. Get a restraining order if he doesn't stop. Call the police when he violates it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 7:06 PM In reply to

    • KHartley82
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    Thank you for that reply.  I would normally not have any issue with something like this because I'm not a nasty person.  But he is coming onto my property to take pictures and going to police (who in turn laugh at him, but never the less he has tried 4 times now.  I honestly have always and still do smile and wave, even left a bag of apples at his mailbox.

    But he has turned quite malicious.  He has also now put up a steel post barrier separating my parking area from his, which is making it very difficult for me to wiggle into my parking spot without hitting his posts, causing me to have to park slightly more on the street which infuriates him more.  

    I am a very nice person.  Had he come to me with his concerns I would have gladly had a civil conversation and done my absolute best to accommodate his wishes.  But the fact that he is now going to great lengths to make my life here miserable, as well as yelling derogatory comments at our about me whenever he sees my boyfriend or I, has made me want to keep him as far away as possible.  Not to be viscous, but to simply not be bullied and called names anymore, because that isn't OK in school, and it isn't OK in the real world either.

  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 7:29 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    I guess I'd like to start by pointing out that with someone like you describe, laws aren't likely to help you.  Getting all legal on him is likely to be a big mistake since it will just make him angry.  And the police are NOT going to send him off to jail for long - if at all - for trespassing on your property.

    KHartley82:

    He also has a rain gutter that comes off his house and the spout comes out into my yard (but still on his property, if that makes sense.  Just an extra bit of info for you.

    Is that his house in the photo, beyond the section of fence?  How far from the property line is that wall, and how far from the property line is the outer edge of his roof overhang?  Do you have survey pins from an official recorded survey so you can tell exactly where the property line is?

    You should be able to look up your city's zoning code, or your county's zoning code if you do not live in a city, online to see how close to the property line you could build a wall or a fence, or plant a hedge, if you wanted to do that.  It's a little more difficult to figure out whether HIS wall, fence, or house violate applicable zoning codes, since it's the code that was in effect when each of those was built (not the current code) that would apply.  The year the house was built is probably in the tax assessor's database, but if you didn't observe when the wall and fence were built I'm not sure how you'd find that out.

    Did you get a title report when you bought your house?  Are there any easements for your neighbor's benefit recorded in the county land records for your property?  If you don't have a title report to look through, you could try searching the property records online (not the assessor's website, this would have to be the county recorder or equivalent official), but usually only relatively recent documents are available online, so if you don't find anything online there could still BE something.

    Normally according to the law you don't have to let him walk on your property to get to his unless he has an easement giving him that right.

    But I still think that researching who has what legal rights here is not likely to help you much with someone who has anger management problems - and could even backfire severely, if you try to insist on your legal rights.

  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 7:30 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    Another option is to sell your house and move someplace else.

    I had to do that years ago when I finally resigned myself to the fact that my crappy neighbors would outlive and outlast me. Took me 11 years to figure that out. Sold the house and moved to a neighborhood where homes were a little further apart and everybody was nice.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, Jun 20 2015 7:44 PM In reply to

    • KHartley82
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    Thanks for the replies, everyone.  I did not realize I was moving in next to Satan.  I hate to sell and move, but if he continues to harass I may have to, and just hope that karma gives him truly awful new neighbors.  It just sucks because your property is supposed to be your safe haven, you know?  How frustrating.  However he is in his mid fifties, I am in my early thirties.  

    I will go find the paperwork for my property and try to find a survey report.  If I find it I will post a picture.  Yes, his house is the yellow one beyond the chain fence.  His rain spout is by the tree furthest away in the picture.  Thanks everyone!

  • Sun, Jun 21 2015 5:40 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    As as aside..if his fence is a bit inside his line the area past the fence remains his property and its his to maintain...now it may not be his "right" to trespass all over your side just to maintain his small strip...but it may be the nice thing to allow him liberal access to maintain what is rightfully his.

    Your next new neighbor could be worse....so running away is not a sure thing  unless you gets lots of space ..and even that is not absolute.

    Hey, the guy may be a bit nuts about his turf ..and that's not always a bad thing ...sort out how to tune in or tune out....



  • Sun, Jun 21 2015 8:54 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    KHartley82:
    Thanks for the replies, everyone.  I did not realize I was moving in next to Satan.  I hate to sell and move, but if he continues to harass I may have to, and just hope that karma gives him truly awful new neighbors.

    One thing to try, if you have the nerve:  talk to him to find out if he is planning to sell.  There's a possibility that he wants the neighborhood to look good now so he can sell for top dollar.  It's a long shot, but worth a try, since if it's true all you have to do is maintain your property well enough to get him to list his property, and wait to see who your new neighbors will be.

    KHartley82:
    I will go find the paperwork for my property and try to find a survey report.

    The plat map, a metal detector, and a shovel should be sufficient, though if you do find a survey report that should also be helpful.

    What you're looking to find are lengths of reinforcing steel bar driven into the ground at the corners of the property, capped with something to indicate that they are surveyor's markers (probably bright plastic or vinyl-ish caps).  If the property has not been surveyed in, say, the last 10 or 15 years, some or all of these markers may be missing or damaged, depending on the corrosiveness of your soil and how much digging has been done in the vicinity (by utility companies as well as homeowners and their contractors).

    If you can't find any of your markers, or the ones you do find look disturbed (bent or tilted), then to know exactly where the property line is, you would have to have a licensed land surveyor re-mark your corners.  That should cost less that a full survey, since the surveyor doesn't have to do a report and have it recorded.

  • Mon, Jun 22 2015 10:44 AM In reply to

    • KHartley82
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    I found the paperwork and found 2 stakes.  In the picture I posted earlier in this thread, I actually drew the property line nearly perfectly. 

    Really my only problem with this is that it is harassment to yell and degrade someone in their own backyard, and this is exactly what is happening. 

  • Mon, Jun 22 2015 10:58 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    As a matter of free speech I can probably stand in my yard and call out all sorts of unkind things about a neighbor..short of threats of harm ?...



  • Mon, Jun 22 2015 11:14 AM In reply to

    • KHartley82
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    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    So basically as long as he is standing on his strip of property in my yard, he can call me whatever he wants.  But if he is doing while standing on my property, and it happens several times, could I get a restraining order which voids his use of my property?  

     

    Not saying it will happen.  But this guy is off his rocker, he'll even talk trash to motorists across the street.  He comes across as the type of person who wouldn't hesitate to get right in my face or even smack me if I spoke out against him.  

  • Mon, Jun 22 2015 11:36 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I legally keep my neighbor off my property?

    KHartley82:
    The way the property lines run, apparently at one point, it was easier for him to put his fence up so that a small portion of his property is actually in my yard.

    While I understand it can be hard to describe property boundaries in words, this doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense.  If it's "his property," then it isn't "[your] yard."

     

    KHartley82:
    I would like to know if he truly is legally able to come onto my property.

    No, but he is entitled to come onto his property.

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