In 1980 we bought, on a Michigan land contract, a parcel of 4 residential lots adjoining a neighbor's 2 lots. In May, 1983, we decided to build a home on the 2 easternmost lots with 2 lots to the west left vacant between the neighbor's property and ours. A survey was done by a reputable surveyor; the house was built and "set" on the property by the same surveyor in Sept., 1983, and recertified twice when we refinanced. No property line disputes for 17 yrs. with the neighbors, who didn't even know where their property lines were. In June, 2000, the neighbors sold their home. The new neighbors had a survey done by another surveyor who placed their eastern property line 11 ft. onto our property. Our surveyor has resurveyed and stands behind his work. So does the neighbor's surveyor. The neighbor's surveyor says he used different controlling points, which may have moved in recent years, but he believes he is right. Our surveyor shot from monument markers for 2 different counties - one a 1/4 sect. marker, the other a corner section marker. He says the 11 ft. difference is caused by the placement of the street right-of-way in front of the neighbor's house. The original plat map, 130 yrs. old, clearly shows the right-of-way split 44 ft. West and 22 ft. east of the county corner section line. The present property lines on both sides of the street are set at 33 ft. east and west of the section line - a difference of 11 ft. in our direction. We are faced with going to court to settle this since the neighbors won't quit-claim the property, and since moving in, they've sunk an invisible dog fence in the disputed area. An attorney suggested we could offer them some money to quit-claim the property over to us - the same property I already bought and paid taxes on for 20 yrs. This lawyer also advised us that a circuit court judge could make a determination on where the property line should be, or we could pursue a case for adverse possession. The neighbors built their home in '71. We built our home in 1983, and we maintained that land by burning off the brush, growing, mowing, and watering the grass, starting in '83. In subsequent years, we planted trees and shrubs, and edged, weeded, and mulched around them, and did fertilizing and pruning. We planted flowers and bulbs and put up a ****** house, but the lawyer says we need to document that we've done that, and we don't have any pictures or documentation, other than we know we've been using that land since '83. It could cost us $10K to fight this in circuit court, and we don't seem to have anybody to go after if we win or lose. Our title insurance has an exclusionary clause in it for boundary disputes not disclosed of record or matters which may be settled by a clear and accurate survey,and we can't sue their surveyor in small claims because he didn't enter into a contract with us. I am told that we could pursue their surveyor with a slander of title case, but they are seldom used and difficult to prosecute. It's killing us that we have to fight to hang onto something we believe is ours. Do we have a leg to stand on? Is there any way we can recoup our legal costs?
This is the problem: There are 2 conflicting surveys. If the neighbors win the dispute, we lose 11 ft. (1660sq. ft.), 20 years of taxes, 17 years of work, and the value of landscaping I've done in the disputed area. I believe our survey is right. How do I prove that? I don't want to press a case for adverse possession, because I believe the problem is an inaccurate survey, but I believe we have a good case for it. How can we pursue it? How can I recoup my legal expenses resulting from someone else's faulty work?
Sorry, I thought I made that clear in my original post. The neighbors had their work done by July 6, 2000. Our surveyor was done by the end of July, 2000. The two surveyors hold to different controlling points, and both insist they are correct. Our surveyor holds to 2 county monument markers which agree with platted dimensions. The neighbor's surveyor holds to irons placed 33 ft. east and west of a line projected from the county corner section marker for a street right-of-way. The 130 yr. old plat map clearly shows the r.o.w. split 22 ft. east and 44 ft. west of that line - a difference of 11 ft., which is the amount in dispute. We can't get the neighbor's surveyor to amend the survey, so we face a court decision.
I did not read your original post because it was too long. Anyway, see if you can get the 2 surveyors to talk. If not then both could be right because of using different control points. They key is to determine which surveyor is using the correct demark. Check the legal descriptions on the title reports of the 2 properties.
Both surveyors have talked, but neither one will back down. Obviously, I don't want mine to back down, but stand behind his work. I don't know what a demark is, but both properties have legal descriptions on the titles which match the records at the County Register of Deeds. The plat maps show I'm supposed to have 240 ft., and the neighbor 132 ft. Those dimensions all work when the street right-of-way in front of the neighbor's is set the way it was platted and legally recorded 130 yrs. ago. The county markers used as control points by my surveyor were just recertified this summer before my surveyor did his work, and they were dead on. The other surveyor writes to my lawyer, "We think that some of the controlling irons in this area may have moved in recent years, but this is impossible to tell." Yet he maintains his work is correct.
I am having the same situation with my neighbor. I had a survey done 5 years ago and she had her's done 3 months ago. One property marker is now in dispute and she wants me to move mu driveway.
I'm curious if you have found a resolution to your situation yet and how you did it. We have offered to split the difference and offered to buy the small piece of land in dispute for $1.00 but she wants to build on the lot and does not want to negotiate.
Our surveyors are also each positive that their survey is accurate. Please help
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