I will try to summarize this the best I can but if I’m missing any details feel free to ask. This entire situation has had our family really stressed out for the last month and I’m just hoping someone here might have an idea that we haven’t thought of yet.
My wife and I have been renting this old house (built in 1910) for about 6 years now. When we originally moved in we had a full fence in the backyard that separated and enclosed everything. We also had the option to put a gate up to close off the backyard from the house. When the neighbor lady realized we wanted to put this gate back up a couple of years ago, she hired a survey company to come out and mark “X’s” 4 inches into our driveway.
She is claiming that the original City surveys (from 1910) are incorrect, and that basically she is entitled to 4 inches of our driveway- which means we weren’t “allowed” to use that gate anymore, or our fence which had been there for at least 50+ years or longer.
Now, ever since this survey was done, over the last several months we have observed these neighbors slowly removing parts of the fence in sections at a time. As of right now the entire fence has been removed and our backyards have been conjoined. – see the picture here (first 2 are current, last 2 are from the tenants before us years ago so you can see what the fence and gate used to look like).
The reason all this is a big issue for us right now is that we are trying to purchase the home from the homeowner, and we can’t seem to agree on what a good solution is to resolve this because he doesn’t want to deal with the lady, and he’s already had bad interactions with her in the past.
Meanwhile this lady knows we are trying to buy the house and she has been telling us we will need to bust up the driveway and have it re-poured into a different direction away from her newfound property line. We are already needing to pay A LOT of money toward other repairs for the house, and we absolutely will not be adding a new driveway to that list.
The current homeowner was originally trying to sell us this house in 2019 for around 80k. At the time we were not positioned financially to do the down payment or closing costs- then the pandemic hit and we just sort of kept renting until last year when the homeowner asked if we could buy the house in April of this year. Now with this inflated market, our fixer upper just appraised for 130k, and the owner is trying to sell to us for 120k. It’s a multi-level 2000 sq ft house and it has plenty of room for our family (3 small kids, 2 adults).
The only thing I have heard or read about is a term called “Adverse Possession” which is basically the same as squatters rights. We tried communicating with the City about this and they have told us it’s a “civil matter”. I don’t understand how someone can just rip your backyard fence up and refuse to put up a new one just because a survey company says their property line comes into our driveway.
We don’t want to sign any purchase agreement for the house yet until we know this is resolved or have something in writing stating it will be at a later date. Without having to pay an attorney, what is our best course of action here? Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to answer!