My Goddamn Neighbor (Any Lawyers in the house?)

Discussion in 'Community' started by GimmeSlack12, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #1
    Our neighbor is adding to his house, but to get to his house his dirt driveway crosses our land. He is going to pave this road whether we like it or not, which is not kosher, or legal for that matter. And this morning (6am) we are awaken by bulldozers moving land and driving around. Anyone familiar with Easements (sp?)? Lawyers in the forums perhaps?
     
  2. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #2
    wait... he's on your land building a road or driveway...... umm yea...its time u see an attorney....
    If i remember when i see my dad i'll ask him...

    edit - also take pictures now, so incase you do go to court you have something.... plus i think it would help to visualize this.
     
  3. broken_keyboard macrumors 65816

    broken_keyboard

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    Secret Moon base
    #3
    So whaaaat... put up with the bulldozers for a few days and you get a nice paved driveway. Sounds like a good deal to me.
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #4
    sp is fine. Over here, we'd get an injunction immediately. But pictures is an excellent idea.
     
  5. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #5
    Call the building inspector and have a Cease and Desist ordered.
     
  6. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #6
    Or do something novel and TALK to your neighbor before involving the authorities. Work something out with him, like "no bulldozing before 9am." This could all be a misunderstanding. Maybe he could pave part or all of your drive way too?

    Take some pictures just in case, but never underestimate the power of communication.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #7
    Never underestimate the power of an injunction. Your neighbour obviously doesn't believe in communication.
     
  8. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #8
    Also if you talk to him neighbor to neighbor things could get out of hand worse then they already are, Your best bet is to call someone from the town and have them handle it.
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    Does he have easement rights over your property? If so your deeds probably describe the legal responsibilities you have to each other. The local building authorities might want to have nothing to do with your dispute in this case as it would be an entirely civil matter. Do some research before you take your next step.

    Can you talk to this person, or is he the classic Crazy Neighbor? (I've got one of those, so I know being reasonable usually does no good with this type.)
     
  10. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #10
    We had something similar here, but WE had to cross another's property to get to a field. There IS indeed a law that allows free access to "landlocked" property, and it's ALWAYS on the plat maps. Make sure you get a copy of the plat map from the county seat. Might surprise you. If it ISN'T landlocked, he has no right to do that. You can take two paths... fight it or go visit him. Take the map, prove it to him/her but be VERY civil. If he turns out to be an ass, get your lawyer. But he might turn out to be a great guy, right?
    Our person, alas, turned out to be an ass. Put up a fence across the access road so we couldn't bring in farm equipment to plant 100 acres. We used a bulldozer to clear a nice path to the field. Legally.
    A freind of mine in town has a neighbor who built a little 6" high stone wall next to his driveway. Turns out it was THREE INCHES on an adjoining neighbors land. THAT neighbor told him he had to move it! THAT is an example of how neighbors CAN'T live togther in harmony when one is a total ass. My response would have been "Nice wall, just leave it neighbor!" Oh, and there is no such thing as "squaters rights" in the US, in case you hear that little urban myth.
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #11
    That is a good point, his driveway must cut your land for a reason, unless it is an illegal driveway to begin with.
     
  12. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    Near the Singularity
    #12
    I was going to say essentially the same thing, your neighbor has to apply for an "easement" which you normally have the right to approve or not. I know somebody right now who is going through this. The neighbor is being a serious pain in the ass. He would like to put in a paved access road through the property in question so he can build a development of 4 houses behind my friends house. Increased traffic, noise etc. The "crazy neighbor" has gone to the county and tried to get it pushed through but was unable to, due to the fact that the bottom line is my friend is the owner of the land and if the neighbor wants access he needs approval to do so. Definitely do some research though before firing a salvo across your neighbors bow.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #13
    Sadly, this can be true. Our Crazy Neighbor insisted on burning his garden waste in his back yard, pouring gasoline over it to make it burn -- creating a regular smoky blaze right under a tree on our common property line. Outside burning is illegal in our city, and even if it wasn't, well... it's just plan dumb and rude. After about the tenth time, we decided to ask him politely if he couldn't please just put it in the barrels the city provides for yard waste like everybody else does. He threw a hissy fit, and for years since has engaged in a nonstop campaign of petty retribution against us. So you have to be careful with confrontation. If an individual is already engaged in antisocial behavior, the chances of him being amenable to negotiation are fairly small. This is what I learned the hard way.
     
  14. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Location:
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    #14
    Grab a 12 gauge shotgun and run out there wild eyed and with foam
    at the edge of your mouth.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #15
    The easement would be recorded in the deeds. It probably would have been granted before you bought the property, quite possibly decades before. The most common sorts of easements are granted to utility companies for access to power poles, telephone lines and the like, but they can also be granted to adjoining property owners for private streets and driveways and so forth.
     
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #16
    He is paving the driveway across your land and you have a problem with that?

    If he has easement rights, there isn't much you can do. Especially if he wishes to maintain this road out of his own pocket.

    It's also a reasonable method for maintaining some easements if it is prone to erosion or flooding.

    But if he tries to charge you for it, then that's where the lawyers can come in.

    I don't think there is anything requiring the landowner to maintain the easements (unless there are some trees and such that can block it), just provide free access across the land.

    Usually the big fights are the shared driveways, when somebody tries upgrading them or they are ill-maintained.

    ---

    But see a lawyer.

    Edit: since it is strange that you didn't get notice of major upgrade in the driveway across your property, and any failure by him to pay the contractors in a timely manner can affect you. Plus it still doesn't give him a right to make major changes without your input, since something as simple as moving rocks and trees can nix the upgrade.
     
  17. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #17
    Wow, quite a quick response. Thanks guys.

    Ok, some more background. Yes, we have talked with him and yes, he's an ass. As for the Easement that we do have it allows for one accessible building (his house). And now that he is adding a granny unit (2nd house basically) it will, from my understanding, break the easement agreement once the road is paved. But he can't have a 2nd unit unless there is a paved road. Once the road is paved, though, the small bit of land that is encompassed on the other side of the driveway pretty much becomes useless to us. The road is on our property, yet it is not the same road that Our driveway is on, so that he will not pave any road that is of use to us. I do have pictures, but I'm not sure if I will get them online here, they are currently in the hands of an attorney. This is my Parents property, and they are scratching their heads on what to do. It will come down to spending money and that is what they are hesitant on, cause Lawyers are not cheap (like I really have to say that). As for the land value we live on 3.75 acres on the Central Coast of California, this land is quite valuable and therefore giving up any land is not something we are about to do.
    He has access to build another road to his land and this is where he is being an ass. If he moved the driveway over about 30 feet he would be on his land, and then we would be good.
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #18
    The terms of an easement may allow access across your property to another party, but they don't necessarily give the holder of the easement the right to improve your property without your permission. Again, the specifics may be in the deed. I'm sure most people who had a neighbor pull a stunt like this would have a problem with it. Even if the improvement provided some benefit to you, undertaking such a thing without your permission would be very unneighborly behavior. I can't imagine a good excuse for it.
     
  19. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #19
    What if you neighbor is a dickhead? That seems to be his excuse.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #20
    It sounds like a civil matter to me, and based on your description of the situation, it will be for the lawyers to handle not the local government (unless he's building that granny flat illegally). With a bit of luck, a brief nastigram from your parents' attorney will put the fear into him.
     
  21. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #21
    I thought he was paving a drive he was currently using. :confused:

    Since it's California, it should be resolved sometime by 2020. :rolleyes:

    But just wait, if he decides to rent the 2nd unit out without getting a variance -- you might be able to nail him. :D
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #22
    Notice I said "good excuse." ;)

    I can really sympathize with your plight. We've been dealing with a worst case scenario neighbor situation for years now. All we can do at this point is shake our heads in amazement at the lengths some people will go to be irritants. What a reason for living. For all he's done to annoy us over the years, we still wave hello to our Crazy Neighbor whenever we get a chance. I'm sure he finds this behavior very puzzling.
     
  23. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    #23
    my advice is to have a lawyer fire off a letter to him immediately.

    secondly, he MUST get a permit to pour a driveway and i'm 100% sure he can't get one for property he doesn't own...get the city( usually the office of license and code) involved asap. believe me, their inspectors live for this stuff.

    make sure that any contractor that comes to the site gets a copy of your attorney's letter to mr. dickhead. no serious GC will do any work if there is a property dispute involved...this seriously diminishes their chances of being paid and also makes their leins worthless. ntm, the GC may have to pay the removal costs of the driveway...plus, your neighbor may already be liable for damage to your property.

    also, mr. dickhead will likely need a variance to build that second unit which usually involves notification of the neighbors and a hearing before the planning board. maybe he just forgot...yea, right.

    bottom line, he has a right to an easment but not the right to make improvements on your property.

    as you can probably tell, i've had a dispute with my neighbor from hell.
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #24
    Drawing on my previous life as a city planner...

    Flatwork rarely requires a permit, unless it involves grading or is structural in nature. Also, in California, local governments must allow second units in single family zones subject to limited restrictions and limited discretion. This "granny flat" law has been in effect for at least 20 years.

    A variance, FWIW, is a very specific authority for allowing relief from codes in hardship situations. They can't be granted to give one property owner permission to use their property in way which is different from other property owners in the same zone. In particular, they can never be granted to allow uses of land which would not otherwise be allowed in the zone, but only for relief from a land use standard, such as a building setback. A variance is entirely discretionary on the part of the local agency (meaning, it can be denied).

    I'm sure everyone finds this quite fascinating... I guess I don't either, or I'd still be a city planner. ;)
     
  25. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #25
    Its on the agenda for Monday, and I like how you referred to him as Mr. Dickhead twice. :) That's rad.
    Also IJ Reilly great info, I knew we'd have some people on the board that new the real nitty gritty on this sort of stuff. Stay tuned.
     

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