Author Topic: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property  (Read 1296 times)

LearningMustachian72

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« on: April 18, 2018, 08:49:26 AM »
Hi All,

I am putting in a 6 ft cedar privacy fence this summer for my dogs but upon having my corners staked, I noticed that my neighbors wooden retaining wall cuts into my property.  The retaining wall is stepped and the part that cuts into my property is approximately 2 ft tall, 5 ft long and angled at 45 degrees into my property.  There is also a downspout coming out of the retaining wall that if a line was drawn, is also on my property. 

I talked about it with him before having the property surveyed and he seemed to think it was on his property then.  He is an okay guy but I figure it may be a tough sell for him to remove the retaining wall...also a bit concerned about the water downspout.  I am planning on doing some drainage work myself and would not mind connecting that to mine underground.

Anyone have advice on how to approach this at (1) the onset and (2) if he refuses to help in any way?

Thank you in advance!


Lmoot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 700
    • Journal
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 09:12:58 AM »
I can't help with the how, but just to confirm what you already know...that it has to be addressed. You're building a fence so if there is ever going to be a time to put the boundary line issue to rest, it's gotta be now. For the sake of peace you could offer to help take it down or build or whatever, since whether or not it's supposed to be there, it's still going to be an inconvenience for him. If he's reasonable, he'll see what needs to be done and agree. If you're empathetic, you'll understand it's a pain in the butt and offer to lessen that pain. Reasoning and empathy is much needed in the world. Good luck.

pdxbator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 228
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 09:17:35 AM »
How long has this retaining wall been there? That can make a big difference. If it's old it is likely all up to you to have to move it.

LearningMustachian72

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 09:26:26 AM »
I was worried of that.  I moved in last year and the neighbor built and has lived in his home since the 1970s.

If it is my responsibility to move, can I simply take down something that is on my property?  How could I go about that?

It is the last step of the retaining wall and does not appear to be holding back much if anything.

SunnyDays

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 322
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 11:48:42 AM »
Check with your city to see what can/must be done?  This will possibly impact the sale of your house when the time comes, so better to address it now.

nwhiker

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 12:26:01 PM »
I was worried of that.  I moved in last year and the neighbor built and has lived in his home since the 1970s.

If it is my responsibility to move, can I simply take down something that is on my property?  How could I go about that?

It is the last step of the retaining wall and does not appear to be holding back much if anything.

If he isn't agreeable to take it down then I would get the survey done and talk with an attorney. Most states have adverse possession laws. If the retaining wall has been "trespassing" for 40 years  there is the potential that he now has claim to the property and could get a jury/judge to have the property line readjusted even if your survey is correct.

I think that being nice and as accommodating as possible will go a long way.

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4090
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2018, 12:42:25 PM »
The biggest interest you have in this is not going to court over it - that way madness and a serious loss of money lies.  So it is good that you have been able to discuss with your neighbour.  I would recommend doing almost anything else other than getting into the sort of argument over it that ends up in court.  On the other hand, your need for a fence for your dogs is a very reasonable reason for you to try to sort out the issue. 

I would start by talking to, or dropping a note around to, your neighbour just to let him know what you are proposing - eg "As you know, I have dogs, and I need to put a fence around my property in order to keep them safe and stop them from escaping.  I'm going to have a formal survey done and I'll let you know if there are any issues.  Thanks".  (NB Even if you've had the survey done I'd suggest not presenting your neighbour with a fait accompli at this stage.)

The follow up will be "I mentioned to you that I was going to have a survey done of the boundary between our properties before I put in a fence for my dogs.  The survey shows that a very short part of the lowest retaining wall that I think you had put in is in fact on my property:  I enclose a copy of the survey showing how the retaining wall relates to the proposed fencing line.   The new fencing will obviously need to take account of this small part of the retaining wall in some way: I hope we can discuss and agree how this can be done.  I will of course organise and pay for any necessary work."

After that it's a matter of negotiation between the two of you.  The fact that you are happy to connect the drainage at the bottom of the retaining wall is a plus as it will remove one of your neighbour's possible concerns.  That leaves the question of whether the retaining wall should stay where it is with the fencing cutting across it, or whether it should be relocated along the surveyed boundary, and if it is to be moved who is to do the work and who is to pay for it.

If your neighbour has been in his house since the 1970s then he is 1) elderly and 2) probably disinclined or unable to put in much effort to making major changes to "his" property.  As it is a relatively short length of retaining wall and not very high I think that the costs of you taking on any necessary work are probably minimal compared to the potential trouble of trying to get your neighbour to do it.

harvestbook

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
Re: Neighbors Retaining Wall on Property
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2018, 06:59:06 AM »
How much space are you losing by moving the fence slightly inside the retaining wall? Is it really that big a deal? (Of course you want to keep the fence inside the boundary on your side so that it is "yours.")

Obviously the water drain might become a problem at some point. I'd rather have a good neighbor than an extra few feet of land. I learned a couple of years ago part of my driveway is on the neighbors' property. I offered to move it over and he said, "Don't worry about it." I even helped him put up his cattle fence which is about six feet inside his boundary so he essentially "gave" me that much room.

I'd approach at as a situation that can be resolved jointly rather than as a right/wrong conflict. Seems to me you're creating a problem where there wasn't one before. There's a wise saying: "Better to be happy than right."
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 07:01:58 AM by harvestbook »