Consumer

/

Home & Leisure

Real estate Q&A: What can we do when new neighbors step over the line?

Gary M. Singer, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: A few months ago, a nice family bought the house next door. We were happy when they began sprucing up the landscaping -- until they removed the thick hedge that ran down the line between the two properties. We liked the privacy it gave our backyard and are upset they did this without even speaking to us. What should we do? -- Mary

A: I frequently receive calls on this issue. When someone moves into a new home, their first instinct is to make it their own. Sometimes they add landscaping and others they open the property. Other times the existing neighbor will use the opportunity of an old neighbor moving out to make a change their prior neighbor would have objected to.

Fortunately, this is relatively easy to deal with. In doing so, you should remember that you will need to live next to this family for the foreseeable future and tread lightly.

Your first step is to determine where your property line is. If the removed bushes were on their side of the line, your neighbor had every right to remove them. However, if they were on your side, or even straddling the line, the situation becomes more complicated.

Your first step, as in most neighbor disputes, is to try to speak to them about it. You might learn that they were planning on replacing the hedge with something more beautiful or are about to put up a fence. If the hedge was on the property line, or their side of it, your options will be limited to putting up a new hedge on your side. While I understand that the prior hedge may have been straddling the line, it is best to move it a foot or two onto your side to avoid future problems.

If the removed hedge was on your side, and your new neighbors do not step up and replace it after you speak with them, you will have to do it yourself and seek reimbursement. Make sure to keep good records and take a lot of photos.

If they refuse to pay you back for the replacements, you will have to decide if it is worth it to sue your next-door neighbor knowing that even if you get your money back, you will still have to live next to them for years to come.

 

About The Writer

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

(c)2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus