Please help if you can!
My parents bought property in Northern Michigan over 25 years ago and reside in Southwest Ohio. In Michigan, they bought a small lot with a cabin in a remote area on a river from a couple who had developed the land. The remaining parcel of land, on the east side of my parents lot, the couple kept, along with the other of the two cabins they had built. There are about 10 properties in all in this area. Many are unoccupied most of the year and used only for vacations. In addition to the original lot, my parents purchased land on the west side of their property from a neighbor who was selling out and moving away. Included in this parcel is a deer blind which looks like a small shack. There has never been any trouble with anyone in the neighborhood until last Fall.
The couple who had developed the land have both passed away and the property was passed down to their heirs. My parents were notified about a year and a half ago that they would be selling the land to the east. All of these years, the two cabins even shared a common electric line and when informed of the sale, my parents had to install their own electric service to their lot. One day last November, my parents received a phone call from a woman who said she bought the land. (We have since learned that she is buying the property on land contract from the daughter of the original owners.)
When the woman first called, she started making trouble. My parents were out of town and my brother got the phone call. She claims that part of our driveway is on her property and that the deer blind is hers. She said that she lives across the state but that her son lives nearby. She made the statement that my parents might burn down the deer blind if it was hers because her son said that people do that (Why?). My parents had just recently closed up the cabin for the winter and had not planned on returning until Spring.
The woman then mailed a document that came from the surveyor who my parents had hired when they bought the property on the west side. She marked the area where she thought the deer blind was located, and she marked it on her property. My dad called the surveyor and he made the statement that he thought the woman wanted my dad to pay to have a survey done to determine the property line. My dad called the woman and told her that he would not return until Spring and would meet with her then.
Several weeks ago, the woman called again. She said that someone threw something up on her roof and broke into her cabin. She also claimed that someone had been ice fishing from her property and had a fire on her lot. Last, she claimed someone broke into the deer blind. We had a neighbor who lives there check these things out and she took pictures. From what we could see from the pictures there was a storm door with a cracked window on her cabin and there were three 100 pound propane tanks missing from outside of the deer blind. My dad and I drove up there two weeks ago to check things out for ourselves without contacting the woman.
This is what we learned:
1. There was a new roof on the woman's cabin. According to a neighbor, there had been a large tree branch on the roof which the roofers burned in the woman's yard.
2. There is no way for anyone to ice fish from the woman's property because the river flows too fast through that part of the river.
3. Someone had removed my dad's lock on the deer blind and replaced it with a new lock in addition to stealing the propane tanks. The deer blind is back in the woods and cannot be seen from the road.
4. A wooden sign that someone had made for my parents with their names on it and placed on a tree at the end of the driveway was gone.
My dad is now 80 years old and my mom is 76. They are both retired. I cannot tell you how upset they are, along with the rest of our family. We have poured over what documents we have, such as the deed and surveys, and nothing seems to be coming out the same. We even paid for a GPS photo from the county but that is different, too. It appears that the original survey/purchase left them landlocked but it is unclear. It was never an issue before. Quite frankly, we don't understand why it should be an issue now, but we all aren't nice people. We do not understand how property that they had surveyed and purchased on the west side could belong to someone on the east side.
What should my parents do? Should they be the ones who pay for a survey? Where should they go for the most accurate recording of the boundaries between them and this woman? If they do not own the end of their driveway, how should this be handled with what appears to be an unpleasant person? They have been using it for years with no problems (implied easement). The same applies to the deer blind. What if it should turn out to not belong to my parents? Since the woman does not technically own the property yet, should the actual owner/seller be notified of the problems? Is there anything she can do?
I apologize for this lengthy description. My questions should be clear, but if not I will clarify. Thank you for your consideration!