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.