My Neighbors Moved My Fence Line . . .

Shortly after moving into my home in Los Angeles County in 2003, I discovered a strange situation. 

One exterior side of my home was extremely close to the neighbor’s fence line.   In fact, there was only just enough width for my trash and recycling bins to sit there.    This had to be wrong.  Something seemed amiss and I decided to investigate.

After walking my property line and comparing the distance between one side of my house and the other, and then studying the plat map, I realized that my fence line had been altered!  Part of my property had been narrowed to the benefit of my neighbor, and the space between my house and the fence line had been drastically reduced.   It looked like it had been this way for many years.  Maybe because the residents had been tenants and not owners they didn’t care, but as the new property owner, I most certainly did.

I checked the City zoning ordinances and the setback requirements for a residential property were 5 feet for the “side yard”.   Yet my side yard had been reduced to just 3 feet!  Somehow the owner of the house next to me had successfully “acquired” two feet of my property!

Los Angeles zoning code defines the area between a property line and building as a yard. A typical single-family residential home in an R1 zone consists of three yards – a front, rear and side. Per the code standards, this typical R1 home is required to have the following:

§  a front yard that is at least 20 feet deep

§  a side yard that is at least 5 feet

§  a rear yard that is at least 15 feet

These dimensions are the setback requirements.

I was able to track down the owners and discuss the issue with them and we came to an agreement for the fence line to be restored to its correct position.   By moving the fence line in the side yard, they had effectively also moved the fence line for the front yard and narrowed the driveway.  So, my project also included widening my driveway from a two-car driveway to a four-car driveway. 

I was fortunate, that I discovered this early on and took the necessary action to correct it. 

 When you are buying a new home, please be sure to check the boundaries and property lines.    Ask your realtor and appraiser to be sure to assist you with that, or even hire a surveyor.  This is especially important in rural areas where those lines can be hard to define.    

 #whomovedmypropertyline?  #houseboundaries   #sideyard 

STELLA CROXON

Branch Manager

Arizona NMLS: 0938975       California NMLS: 238972        Nevada NMLS: 5760

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