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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:44 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
We live in a neighborhood here in Los Angeles that was built in the late 1940s. To save money, the builder attached the fences between the properties onto the adjoining neighbor's garage.

Here is what that looks like between myself and the neighbor to the South:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7547/156 ... e248_c.jpg

In 2010, we talked with the trustee of the trust that owns the house and came to an agreement so that we could add an extension to the existing cinder block fence (behind the vines.)

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7299/164 ... 3b7f_c.jpg

However, the residents, relatives of the trustee, didn't agree and for the past 4 years have been under the impression that we "stole their property."

Now they have created a "spite hedge" right up against our driveway:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7536/156 ... 7b0b_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7485/152 ... a386_c.jpg

We have hired an attorney. We have tried calling the property owner (who doesn't live there) and there has been no response. Our attorney has also called and is in the process of sending a letter.

But in the meantime, every time we are on our driveway, someone from the neighbor's house comes out to watch us. We were taking measurements today for our attorney using a tape measure and camera, standing on our driveway. One of the residents arrived home and immediately started harassing us. He threaten to take a sledge hammer to the wood portion of our fence to tear it down and we called the police. He wouldn't take the business card for our lawyer and have the property owner call us. He says that the property has changed hands but wouldn't give up the new owner's contact information.

Any advice for us?

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I just WantPeace. Apparently this is too much to ask from NFH.

You cannot love your brother across the world if you don't love your neighbor across the street.


Last edited by WantPeace on Thu May 07, 2015 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:55 pm 
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Yes peace tends to be too much to ask from a NFH. Having hired a lawyer, your issue will hopefully be resolved soon.

Do you have anything in writing with the trustee? Because it involves real estate any agreement should be in writing. Verbal won't cut it. Is the trustee now denying his agreement with the plan? What is 1) the owners' reasoning for not approving the plan or wooden fence and 2) their apparent ambition in setting up the driveway hedge?

Also, is the current resident renting from his relatives who own the property? As a non-owner and non-renter, he has little standing in any dispute with you. Get his threats on video and visit the police station with a copy, speak with a ranking officer and, if there's nothing police will do, file a harassment complaint with your local court clerk. He or she will set up a probable cause hearing and this neighbor will need to answer for making any threats.

If the hedge is on the neighbor's property and abides by any setback rules, etc., there's not much you can do about it. However, the Keep Out sign has to go. If you are not trespassing, meaning you have not been charged with unlawful entry onto their property, the sign can be argued by your lawyer as a method for harassment in a larger campaign to harass.

Keep us informed.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:25 pm 
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It is generally useful to have a local surveyor identify or set the property pins. This allows clear delineation of where the line is legally.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:25 pm 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
So our first mistake was not getting the agreement for our wooden fence with the trustee of the trust in writing. And as far as we know, he currently has no problem with our fence, but he also had not returned any of our calls, including calls from our lawyer. We sent him a certified letter as well; delivery was attempted on Monday and he hasn't gone to the post office to pick it up yet.

The people living in the house are his sister and a niece and nephew. The house belonged to his parents, who are now both deceased. I doubt anyone is paying rent over there. It is the sister and nephew who have planted the "spite hedge" and who are harassing us. We should have videoed the last horrible encounter with the nephew, but I didn't have my cell phone on me when it happened. We sent them a second Cease and Desist letter, but it is also sitting at the Post Office waiting to be picked up. (There was an incident in April 2014 with the sister that lead to the first Cease and Desist letter, which was probably the motivation behind the "spite hedge.")

We are getting the strong sense that there is some kind of family feud going on between all these people and our fence is part of that feud. The residents are mad that the trustee allowed us to build the fence 4 years ago. They are convinced we "stole their land."

We did try to get a property line survey done in August, but the surveyor declined to mark the points. He gave us an excuse about a problem with the City maintained landmarks, but I think the real reason is because the property line goes through our neighbors backyard and he was afraid it would cause a disagreement between us.

As I may have mentioned before, the fence lines and the property line are different up and down our street. So setting the line might get those plants removed along the side of our driveway, but will also open up a can of worms up and down the block.

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You cannot love your brother across the world if you don't love your neighbor across the street.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:01 pm 
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The statement by your surveyor may indicate that the city/county/state made a substantial error in setting the base monumentation. (Little brass disks in the streets are survey monuments) This would make restorative surveys difficult to impossible for properties that pre-date the error as the baselines don't match established property corners. Believe it or not, such things are common. If the property corners are obliterated as often is the case, the matter is even more complex.

The other possibility is that the occupation of the properties differs greatly from the actual legally described boundaries. When fences, sheds, driveway, houses, etc., encroach (cross) property lines things get messy. Some surveyors don't like being involved in such things because of the inevitable disputes.

It could be a combination of the above.

Fortunately there are a lot more surveyors out there if you chose to pursue that avenue.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:05 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
So.... this is still going on! Ugh.

A quick update: we finally found a surveyor who was able to successfully complete a survey in February. Yay! Here are the results

1) We discovered that the property line is NOT the edge of the driveway as the tenants of the house next door have been asserting this entire time. From the back of our property, the property line is 12 inches from the side of our garage. From the front of our garage, that 12 inches decreases in width along the length of the driveway. The driveway and property line meet at the sidewalk. So there is this weirdly shaped triangle of land between the edge of our driveway and the property line.

2) In consultation with the surveyor, I decided AGAINST putting a marker where the driveway and the property line meet because we felt it would give the tenants the wrong impression about where the property line is. The main reason is because one of the tenants has threatened to take a sledgehammer to our fence which is next to our driveway, and we didn't want to give him any justification for following through on his threat.

3) Oh yeah, I should mention that someone vandalized our fence in February, breaking one of the boards. We called the police and filed a report. Here is the thing: in order to get to that spot, the perpetrator had to walk right by the window of one of the other tenants. When the police questioned her about it, she seems completely unfazed that someone trespassed on her property to get to that location.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7587/170 ... 22e6_c.jpg

So clearly the NO TRESPASSING SIGN that is still on their lawn, pointed in our direction, is solely for our benefit.

In response, we shelled out the money to install 4 surveillance cameras. So if he tries this again, he better smile because he'll be caught on tape doing it.

4) The bad news -

a) in certain spots, our wooden fence is just a couple of inches over the property line. However, this is where the owner/trustee of the house next door suggested the fence should be placed back in 2010. We are the ones who paid for the fence; at the time his parents were still alive and we (erroneously) thought they didn't have the money to contribute to this project. The fence has been there 5 years, which is important for claiming a prescriptive easement...

b) our neighbor has a prescriptive easement on our property. Their cinder block wall attaches to our garage at the front and back walls. Our property extends 12 inches from the side of our garage, so they have approximately 1 foot by 20 feet of our property behind their wall. Because the wall was there when I bought my house almost 21 years ago, our lawyer says we don't have a good case for getting them to move their wall. BUT they cannot prevent us from access our property and we have let the trustee/owner know he needs to respond to us so we can access it as needed.

c) Prescriptive easements aren't an easy thing to remedy...and I really don't understand why that is! Also, California seems to be the ONLY state that doesn't require a property line survey when a house is sold. I wish I had known to get one so I could have known this problems up front.

d) The tenants are still engaging in what I feel is harassment. The NO TRESSPASSING sign is completely unnecessary. We don't trespass on their property, but they sure do come onto our driveway whenever they feel like it! They are also watching us every time we are in our front yard, often taking pictures of us. I'm tempted to take a picture right back, but I really don't want to provoke the pot-smoking (he claims medical marijuana), 36 year old, "I'm living in my grandma's house" dude who threatened to take a sledge hammer to our fence. Most recently, they have also placed some reflective tinting in their front window so they can watch us without being seen. Before the tint, I would stare right back until they got uncomfortable and closed their blinds.

Our lawyer is a handful too. To her credit, she has gotten the trustee/owner to call and email her. But she is a complete scatterbrain. We found her through the legal plan offered at my husband's work and she is the second lawyer we have hired to help us. The first one, supposedly trained by her, was borderline incompetent.

So right now, our lawyer sent a letter with the survey results, but can't follow up on the letter with the trustee/owner because her mother-in-law is dying and in hospice care. So she sent an email reply to him asking him to contact us directly to work out the details and settle this matter. And no surprise here -- the trustee/owner hasn't called or emailed us.

Also, on a rather bizarre note, his email address is linked to a fake profile on Facebook! And the name associated with the email is a fake name too - Joe Guido. Why would you use an email address like that to correspond with a lawyer? We actually used our surveillance cameras to verify it was him behind the emails -- he sent our lawyer pictures and we saw him taking them on the footage. But still, what is up with that?!?

Any and all ideas, suggestions and support welcomed.

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I just WantPeace. Apparently this is too much to ask from NFH.

You cannot love your brother across the world if you don't love your neighbor across the street.


Last edited by WantPeace on Thu May 07, 2015 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:11 pm 
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The fence is just a couple of inches from where the surveyor placed the line?

If I read your post correctly there is no monumentation or pins at the property corners?

Depending upon the equipment used and the surveyors practices, the acceptable error (deviation) should be +/- 0.2 feet. In other words, your fence is within the margin of error of the measurements made. I could repeat that measurement 100 times with sub-centimeter GPS equipment and put the fence on your side +/-35% of the time.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:53 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
bob_o wrote:
The fence is just a couple of inches from where the surveyor placed the line?

If I read your post correctly there is no monumentation or pins at the property corners?

Depending upon the equipment used and the surveyors practices, the acceptable error (deviation) should be +/- 0.2 feet. In other words, your fence is within the margin of error of the measurements made. I could repeat that measurement 100 times with sub-centimeter GPS equipment and put the fence on your side +/-35% of the time.



That's good to know! Thanks for this information.

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I just WantPeace. Apparently this is too much to ask from NFH.

You cannot love your brother across the world if you don't love your neighbor across the street.


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:11 am 
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So, much to our surprise, the trustee of the trust that owns the house next door met the demands in our letter and moved all the plants away from our driveway, removed the brick edging and decorative metal fencing and (temporarily) removed the No Trespassing sign. Yay!

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8695/167 ... d70e_c.jpg

When one of the residents came home later that afternoon, she immediately put the No Trespassing sign back. You can see the sign disappear and reappear on this video courtesy of our new video surveillance system.

https://flic.kr/p/svDFmw <-- you'll need to copy and paste this link into a new tab to see this video

Then the following day, these signs appeared in the windows of her bathroom and bedroom, which are directly across from our kitchen window and back door.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8763/167 ... 9530_c.jpg
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8857/174 ... 41f1_c.jpg

When we brought this up with the lawyer we hired, she told us that these signs are "freedom of speech" and there isn't anything she can legally do about them?!?

I swear the lawyer we hired has made this whole process even more stressful for us. *sigh*

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I just WantPeace. Apparently this is too much to ask from NFH.

You cannot love your brother across the world if you don't love your neighbor across the street.


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