What would you do? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by Ryan on November 02, 2005 at 16:00:22:

You should at least talk face to face with him before doing anything else. I wouldn’t threaten him or force him into doing anything unless you don’t want to get his 3 ft strip of land.

Just be really really nice to him such that he’d feel guilty if he doesn’t do something nice back to you.


What would you do? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on November 02, 2005 at 05:51:11:

Bought a vacant lot, which used to be 3 lots. I can’t find an original platbook anywhere, so I don’t have the original dimensions. Zoning requires 40’ roadfrontage per lot. I have 117’. So, I’m trying to get 3’ from the next door neighbor.
The neighbor’s fence is about 6" on my property. It’s a rental and the renters won’t give me the owner’s contact info. They offered to give my phone# to the owner, but he never called.
The tax address is the house. I did find addresses of several people with the same name and wrote letters, telling them, that I bought the lot and that their fence is on the property. But that I’d have a win-win proposal: If they gave me officially 3’ of their property in a wedge up front, I would give them an easement, which would keep them from having to take down their fence and spend money on putting up a new one. It was not threatening, but a nice letter, offering a solution. Asked him to cotnact me. Never heard anything back.

The addresses, that I have are more than an hour from where I am, so driving by for a chance, that he might be home is feasable, but kind of a hassle.

Any other suggestions on how to handle that?

I do need to go through ‘Quit Title’, so I have some time in that anyway.



Re: What would you do? - Posted by JohnS

Posted by JohnS on November 03, 2005 at 14:30:45:

The issue isn’t the owner next door or the fence, it’s the three lots needing 120’, you’re 3’ short. Since you say it used to be platted as 3 lots, the platting survey crew should have left the iron rods to delinate(you do have a metal detector, don’t you), which may give a clue to whether the original 3 lots were at 120’ as required (but were usurpted(sic?) by fence construction on both sides over time), or if the original platt was truly 117’, in which case a reasonable cause for variance exists, because the restriction should have grandfathered the 3 39’ lots if the restriction came after the platt, or if the restriction came before the platt, a variance was granted de facto by acceptance of the platt with the reduced lot widths.
I’m not a lawyer, but this would be my take. The appraisal district and school districts would support the variance as a way to get value added to the properties, so it could be win-win-win thoughout without having to involve Mr. landlord next door. BTW, DOES his lot have 3’ to spare before he violates the 40’ rule? Good luck.

Re: In the long run - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on November 03, 2005 at 08:57:58:

I would seek a zoning variance to build on 3, 39 foot lots rather than deal with the unresponsive person. When people are unresponsive it is usually a play for cash (your cash). In this case you have disclosed your purpose so he already knows what you want.

If I were granted a zoning variance I would that day, have the fence removed by my bulldozer crew. No doubt he would be able to contact you then but it would be too late.

Clearification - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on November 02, 2005 at 12:51:30:

Thanks to all, that responded. I think I wasn’t clear enough. I’m not really concerned about finding the owner. I’m sure he’s gotten my message as well as my letter.

My concern is, what to do with an owner, that doesn’t want to be bothered with this, who has no interest in talking to me about this. Should I send a few more letters and with no reply then start doing something to force him to take down his fence, so that he has to deal with me? I’d prefer to keep this nice and make it a win-win. At what point would you try to put pressure on him and how?



Re: What would you do? - Posted by Ryan

Posted by Ryan on November 02, 2005 at 11:57:15:

I’d give the tenant $50 or so if he helps you get in touch with the owner. Money talks I guess.


Re: What would you do? - Posted by Rob

Posted by Rob on November 02, 2005 at 10:59:28:

I’ve tracked down property owners like this by looking at the mortgage at the recorders office. Our records are on-line so its pretty convenient. Doesn’t always work, but probably 90% of the time.

Re: What would you do? - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on November 02, 2005 at 10:07:29:

If the tax address is the property address I would go ahead and send
the letter to the property. If you think it won’t get delivered you can
try: Name of Property Owner, c/o Resident. At least that works for

Lots of people keep the tax address at the property (because of loan
apps as owner occupied or they just never get around to changing it.)
Where I am there is a good chance that the letter will get to the owner.
It’s worked for me a few times. My tenants always forward everything
that comes to the properties in our names–even junk mail. And I’ve
never asked them to do that. They give it to the property manager
when he collects rents or they mail it to the PO box.

Might be worth a shot. Kristine

Re: What would you do? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on November 03, 2005 at 15:15:56:


yes, the neighbor has 65’ road frontage. No problem there. There’s also another house on the other side (corner lot), who could possibly give me 3’ off the back yard. His lot would also still conform.

The idea about the metal detector is a good one. I bet, if I could get the appraiser to start looking for it and certify it, if they found it, that might help.

I’m just trying to go for the easiest way, since I’ve never done any sibdividing before. I have no idea how to go about getting a variance. I know ti would be easier, if I could resubdivide into the original 3 lots.

In fact, it was someone from the City, that told me to just get a 3’ wide piece from the neighbor, in a wedge shape - it doesn’t even have to go all the way alongside the property. Then it would be very easy to split this up.

I will talk to a surveyor.



Have your BOSS go after him… - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on November 02, 2005 at 23:31:18:

In a situation like this I’d have to treat him like a tenant (it’s probably too late for this since you already mailed him). I’d tell him that I work for a company owned by these rich people who don’t give a damm about anything or anyone. I’d like to resolve this before my boss finds out and he drags them into court like he did the last guy. Don’t make yourself the bad guy. It usually works.