My neighbor is moving off Long Island, NY and wants me to acknowledge that his fence is 1 ft over the property line. Should I sign anything stating that 1 ft beyond the fence belongs to my neighbor?
When I handle these type of cases, I will usually get a copy of the client's survey and a copy of his/her neighbor's survey along with copies of the deeds to both properties. I then review these documents against each other for discrepancies. If there are discrepancies then that opens up a whole set of issues for a later discussion. If we are dealing with property on Long Island, then it is likely that the property lots are on a subdivision map and more likely than not there is no real boundary dispute. It may just be a fence that is not properly placed on the record boundary line and the surveys may show this assuming the fence in its current location existed at the time the survey(s) were commissioned. Sometimes neighbors will agree that if the fence does encroach onto adjoining property then the fence can remain so long as it is standing and when it is replaced the new fence will be installed on the record line. This would likely apply in your situation. If, however, your neighbor wants you to acknowledge that the property line is to be where his fence is then that could be problematic. Signing a boundary agreement could potentially result in serious zoning law issues. Also, if there is a mortgage on your property, signing a boundary agreement with your neighbor could create issues with the bank. Lastly, depending on the circumstances, your neighbor may have a basis to assert adverse possession. I recommend that you speak with an attorney experienced in real estate litigation. My firm handles these situations, and I would be happy to help you.