Possible Legal Issue with Neighbor - Posted by Eric G.

Posted by John Merchant on July 10, 2003 at 12:53:15:

If I were you I’d mail him a letter,
certified-with- receipt, copy of which you keep in your files, telling him that you give him temporary right to string his wire across your property, but it can be revoked at any time you so notify him, and if he does not then remove wires, you will simply remove whatever wire or other apparatus that might still remain on your property.

Also send copy to the cable company to alert them what’s going on. Keep proof of that copy to them also.

You might also give him another option, that of a written lease for his wires, for certain length of time, for $x per month. This way he’d know that he’s got his rights nailed down, with no problems for x # of months or years and he can relax.

And I’d make it a very pleasant letter, no threatening tone at all, just telling him that while you want to help him, your lawyer advises you NOT to let anything like this screw up any possible resale that you might find, etc…and tell him that your lawyer insisted on the certified mail garbage, etc…so you make your lawyer the bad guy, while you remain Mr. Friendly Neighbor.

Thus he’s notified that he really has a pretty tenuous & flimsy “right” that he might want to rethink.

I once had a client with a similar problem. He bought a lot in the country and exploring it one day, came across an odd setup where a neighbor had hooked up a hose/pipeline from this guy’s lot to the neighbor, and the guy was using MY guy’s natural gas, and my guy was having to pay the gas bill.

He checked with the neighbor and told the guy he wanted to either have the line removed from my guy’s property, or he wanted the neighbor to pay his fair share. The neighbor refused to do either one.

After scratching my head, and talking to the gas company lawyer, who had no clue as to what to do, it finally dawned on me: I just told the guy to turn off the gas leading to that line, since the tap was on MY guy’s side of the fence! My guy had every right to do with his lot whatever he wanted, and to remove anything leading off his property, other than regular utility wires, pipes, etc.

He followed my advice. The neighbor came over hollering and fussing and my guy told him to beat it. Period. End of story.

Possible Legal Issue with Neighbor - Posted by Eric G.

Posted by Eric G. on July 10, 2003 at 08:35:28:

I live in a center townhouse. My neighbor to the left was having trouble with his satelite TV reception so he asked the neighbor to my right if he could put his dish on their porch. The neighbors on the right said sure.

As a result the coax cables for the TV are now hanging across my backyard. The neighbor to the left fixed them under our porch with some tacks, and then they are strung through the air to the porch on the right.

To get to the point, the neighbor on the left has said that if we have a problem with the wires he will bury them outside our property, but we do not want to have a bad relationship with our neighbor and the wires don’t bother us that much. Is there any legal implication to allowing him to string the cables across our yard? And once we give him permission can we then at some point in the future (like when we sell the house) tell him that he has to remove them? Or does he incur some sort of sqatter’s rights to always have them there? And finallly, can this be an issue for a clean title?

Re: Possible Legal Issue with Neighbor - Posted by Mason

Posted by Mason on August 07, 2003 at 20:52:34:

My mother has lived in her house for 38 years. Her neighbor comes up to me today, as I was doing some landscaping around her home, he told me that I had better not put anymore mulch to the side of the porch because it was on his land. Weird situation, but because my Mom has remarried, he doesn’t like her new husband. I told him that I was just trying to make the house look good. Since she has lived there for 38 years, is it possible to claim sqatter’s rights on this property. His land comes a foot from the edge of her front porch. We keep the grass cut and keep the place looking good. What’s his problem? Can I do anything to protect her, or would it be worth even trying? There are no written agreements. He said as long as she paid him $1 a year, that she could do anything. This is so stupid!!!