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Neighbor encroaching on my property

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#1 lionluvr


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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:45 AM

I live in Galveston County.  The neighbor behind me has moved the trailer he and family occupy onto my property.  When he first moved in, we had a visit.  We each have a 6 ft easement and he was piling a lot of materials he uses for his business onto the entire 12 ft of the easement.  He said he wouldn't have anything permanent, and he wouldn't let it encroach onto my property.  A couple months ago when I was gone for a few days, he moved several trailers onto his property for his family.  But - he moved his trailer onto the end of the easement and about 6-8 ft onto my property.  Then he piled all of his extra supplies and other stuff - lawnmower, lots of wood, all kinds of metal, etc. onto my property.  He even cleared a lot of bushes I had at the back of my property so he could do all this.  A neighbor saw him moving onto my property, one of his workers told him he was on my property, to which he replied "They can go f*** off I don't give a **** what they do".  I have sent him a certified, return-receipt requested letter about his encroachment.  But now I'm planning on putting up a fence, which would go right thru the middle of his trailer and all of his stuff.  If he doesn't respond - or if he does nothing which is what everyone is telling me he's going to do - nothing - then what recourse do I have?  I'm disabled and don't have money for an attorney.  Is there someone I could call about his living on the easement?  Thanks in advance for any help!


ps: I do have a property survey and my property lines were clearly marked - it appears he removed the markers.  I explained to him in the letter that I did have a survey done and told him where my property boundaries were.

#2 deacon_law_1969



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Posted 23 December 2013 - 11:44 AM

There is probably a free legal services office that provide the assistance you need.  Just make sure it handles civil matters and not just criminal issues.  Or try your local university with a law school; they have clinics that can provide a law student to handle it for you.  Its not that ambiguous, if he's building on your property outside of the easement, you can evict him.  You don't need a high powered attorney to get this done...but having an attorney fill out your paperwork would make sure its all done right is ideal. 


You'll need an accurate boundary line, and from there get a court order for him to clear off and the sheriff you enforce it.  And you really can't wait too long to kick him off also, after 10 or so years (depending on the state) , a court might consider such inaction as a further easement grant.


Once you have the official boundary and the sheriff knows of your dispute, you could feasibly bring a bulldozer in and drive it right along the edge of your property and clear it off.  But its probably better to have the sheriff make him move.  And if you could get your neighbor to go on the record with that conversation, so much the better.  That neighbor does not have right to encroach on your property for any reason except with your permission.  But you have to exercise those property rights. 


You tried the nice way by sending that letter, not the gloves can come off. 

#3 Fallen


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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:49 PM

"There is probably a free legal services office that provide the assistance you need."

I seriously doubt that, though there may be in fact a local law school where a senior student program will offer some helpful advice.  Not sure what is meant by "fill out paperwork" (as if it were a matter of forms) vs. draft requisite pleadings should legal action be required.


You don't tell us what the purpose of the easement is, but there are usually setoffs from property lines to prohibit someone having a mobile home or trailer (or even a shed) within an easement.  Have you pestered local county folks about this?

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)

#4 lionluvr


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Posted 23 December 2013 - 03:13 PM

I did find out the easement is controlled by the fire department and only the fire chief can have anything removed.  So my next step will be to contact the fire department and see if they can do anything.  I've tried making several calls, but no one seemed to know what to do about it - that's why I asked in this forum.  There apparently are several neighbors who don't care for the one that's on my property and have offered to bulldoze his items for free!  Of course I would rather have an amicable alternative, so I will try the fire dept first.  If he continues cutting down my bushes - or touches the 5 large trees I have at the back of my property, he will have me in his face - which I'm trying to avoid.  If/when something occurs, I will keep everyone informed. 


I really appreciate your help and ideas.  I live alone and I'm disabled, so he probably figures he can get by with anything he wishes to do - which he will find out very soon that is not the case...

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