Legal Issue- Need advice

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Author: [General Discussion] Topic: Legal Issue- Need advice
Irish08 PM Irish08
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Posted: 6/4/2012 3:44:15 PM

Bought a home in 2009 that was in the process of being built. Guy finished it in time when I returned from the war. We will call our builder "Joe." Joe finished the home and we closed in November 2009. Had an attorney handle the closing, bought the title insurance.

Fast-forward to today. I moved to DC where I currently work. I rent my home out to tenants (home is in TN). Got a call from another builder, Mark, who owns the lot next to my home. Mark is building a home there and he tells me that my fence and driveway are "feet" into his lot. According to him, I need to:

1. Move my fence over (fence was installed in 2010 through a big company that does this. Fence has no ties to my builder).

2. Cut into my driveway (3 feet).

I call my attorney who handled the closing. He tells me that my builder went out there to check it out and sure enough, my fence needs to move and my driveway needs to be cut. The driveway was built with the rest of the home. No modifications were ever made. The lawyer also tells me that he can't really help me much more because since he did the closing, there is a conflict of interest. Basically, he works for Joe all the time. He even told me that "these things happen" and Joe would cut my driveway for me, "no big deal." He kept focusing on the fence even after I told him that I dont care about the fence, the fencing company will have to move it. I care about the driveway which was made with the home. He said Joe will call me this week.

Now what? Joe is surely going to feed me bullshit. I paid a certain price for this freakin house and now I'm cutting three feet into my driveway. Should I expect not to be compensated here? Do I need to get my own lawyer? How did this builder darn this us when the lot is surveyed professionally? I'm livid, especially because I have tenants who are going to be caught in the middle of this friggin mess.

Thanks in advance.

I_Need_A_Detox PM I_Need_A_Detox
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Posted: 6/4/2012 3:56:55 PM

Damn, i'd be livid too.

Will Joe cut the driveway and make everything right for free?

You're just going to lose land and have a fucked up looking driveway .... or you're going to lose land, have a fucked up looking driveway AND you need to pay for the fence to be removed + driveway cut?

Gunners PM Gunners
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Posted: 6/4/2012 4:45:56 PM

you should have found this out a LOOONG time ago.  Like when you closed on the house, your title insurance guy, who should have reviewed the as-built survey prior to closing, should have noticed that you were severely encroaching on your neighbor's lot.  and you should have never closed without either negotiating an easement with the neighbor or buying a portion of the neighbor's land. 

If the lots were parted out at the time (like this is a master development), there is a chance that you actually did purchase that land and then someone else sold the neighboring lot to someone and double sold that portion of land.  if you actually bought the land, your title should supercede his. 

break out that as-built survey and do some learnin

dassad PM dassad
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Posted: 6/4/2012 5:14:56 PM

Sounds like whoever did the improvement survey screwed up or the builder screwed up.  You should have an improvement survey (8.5x14 size paper) survey sealed by a land surveryor which shows your lot and the footprint of your house in relation to it with all the dimensions and so forth.  It should have been included with your closing papers. The title company requests these whenever as house is bought/sold. 

It should have been caught at that time, unless like mentioned above, the remaining lots around your house were"re-platted" - they modified or sub-divided the size of the lots abuting your property. 

Have Joe go back to the title company and research this chit....

kaponofor3 PM kaponofor3
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Posted: 6/4/2012 5:23:32 PM
I'm not offering legal advice, but maybe you call the opposing homeowner or their representative and ask the guy if he'll grant you an easement so you don't have to demolish the driveway in exchange for a nominal sum.
HutchEmAll PM HutchEmAll
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Posted: 6/4/2012 5:24:42 PM
Agree with gunners.  This should have been caught a long time ago. Don't the builders have access to the prints that came when the land was surveyed?  How can you build a home on land unless you know the dimensions of that land/property lines, etc.  IMO, it would be the builder/contractors responsibility to know this.....thus I would expect them to be responsible.  

Like gunners said, you need to educate yourself on who is responsible for what.  But it sounds to me like you're probably gonna need a lawyer.  Even if you appear to be in the right, it's unlikely the builder or the contractor is going to just cave and give you everything you want.  

The idea of buying a portion of your neighbor's land seems like a good one. 

Good luck.  I am on our Townhome Assn. and we sued our builder for almost $1.75 million.  Ended up settling for $500K of which we saw about $300K.  

I am going to have to replace or coat our garage floor as it's falling apart because of the garbage concrete they used.  I am going to have to foot the bill for it because we can only afford to fix the critical things (50 grand worth of trim that was trash because it was installed incorrectly....leaking windows, leaking patio doors, front pillars had to be replaced in all 52 units due to water damage).  Just sucks. 

Did I mention that shingles they used were organic and starting falling apart.  So we had to replace all the roofs.  We negotiated all free materials from the manufacturer, but it still is costing $250K just for labor and misc. materials.   

You rarely win with those person.  
kaponofor3 PM kaponofor3
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Posted: 6/4/2012 5:24:52 PM
Any funds you expend on this you should probably be able to eventually recover from either the builder (who would have screwed up the plans by the surveyor) or the surveyor (who may have screwed up the surveying portion).
Irish08 PM Irish08
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Posted: 6/4/2012 9:48:04 PM

Thanks for the advice guys.

Joe is going to call me tomorrow, I will be interested to hear what he has to say. According to his lawyer, Joe will cut my driveway for me, no charge. As for the fence, I contacted the company that installed the fence to see if they would be willing to make the adjustment for me. We will see what they come back with.

The lot that is next door was a bunch of weeds and dirt when i bought my home. There was nothing there. I think the builder next door recently bought the lot which makes me wonder if that sliver of land was sold twice. I really dont know. I am livid. Sounds like I should contact a lawyer. Which also makes me wonder how my conversation with Joe should go tomorrow.

standuley PM standuley
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Posted: 6/4/2012 9:49:46 PM
Burn it.
Pucksrus PM Pucksrus
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Posted: 6/4/2012 10:44:09 PM
Before anything get changed. You should contact the town or city hall to make sure the builder isn't screwing you over.

End of the day this is all on the builder imo. He should be doing the fixing since he gave you the pricing and lot size from the get go.

Get a new lawyer and drag it out. You should get back pay from the city for paying taxes on property that wasn't yours too. Get the money from the builder. Fight the guy tooth and nails.  
michaelpaul1 PM michaelpaul1
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Posted: 6/5/2012 1:38:57 AM
QUOTE Originally Posted by standuley:

Burn it.
MaineRoad PM MaineRoad
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Posted: 6/5/2012 9:58:05 AM
QUOTE

Originally Posted by michaelpaul1:

It's Covers.  Don't ask too many questions. 

Title insurance is a great little scam - you pay for it and it doens't protect you from anything. 

Who paid this lawyer who "did the closing?" 

HutchEmAll PM HutchEmAll
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Posted: 6/5/2012 12:41:35 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by MaineRoad:

It's Covers.  Don't ask too many questions. 

Title insurance is a great little scam - you pay for it and it doens't protect you from anything. 

Who paid this lawyer who "did the closing?" 


100% correct. 
HutchEmAll PM HutchEmAll
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Posted: 6/5/2012 12:45:40 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by Irish08:

Thanks for the advice guys.

Joe is going to call me tomorrow, I will be interested to hear what he has to say. According to his lawyer, Joe will cut my driveway for me, no charge. As for the fence, I contacted the company that installed the fence to see if they would be willing to make the adjustment for me. We will see what they come back with.

The lot that is next door was a bunch of weeds and dirt when i bought my home. There was nothing there. I think the builder next door recently bought the lot which makes me wonder if that sliver of land was sold twice. I really dont know. I am livid. Sounds like I should contact a lawyer. Which also makes me wonder how my conversation with Joe should go tomorrow.


Before you start paying a lawyer, I'd think about contracting the people who did the work and find out what prints they were using when they did the job (both the people who did the work on your lot and the ones who did the work on your neighbor's lot).  Someone 
F-d it up.  If I had my druthers, I'd try and schedule a meeting with all parties who were involved and make them show you the prints and explain what they did and why they did it.  
baronman PM baronman
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Posted: 6/7/2012 3:37:28 PM
im realtor ,i would first call title company explained what happened,get all info out of them.be nice to joe because you dont want to piss him off.maybe he can do the fence cheaper than fence company for small fee.check with surveyor at city hall get the lot map. i think its combination of faults title,lawyer & yourself.joe i dont know he & fence were going by your orders.good luck
TRAIN69 PM TRAIN69
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Posted: 6/7/2012 6:25:59 PM
QUOTE

Originally Posted by kaponofor3:

Any funds you expend on this you should probably be able to eventually recover from either the builder (who would have screwed up the plans by the surveyor) or the surveyor (who may have screwed up the surveying portion).

If he does have to pay for any of this, is it tax deductable?

Skubishack PM Skubishack
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Posted: 6/7/2012 8:49:43 PM

First thing that comes to my mind is that the builder should not only cut the 3 feet of driveway for free but also ADD an additional 3 feet to the other side to make up for it... After all... It's his darn up... so he should make all needed corrections for free.

I don't know how it will look but he can also add any needed landscaping to make it look proper.

Good Luck

Rocafella PM Rocafella
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Posted: 6/7/2012 9:44:43 PM
Joe sounds like a friggin fool
Gunners PM Gunners
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Posted: 6/19/2012 8:44:13 AM
what's the update here?
Irish08 PM Irish08
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Posted: 6/19/2012 10:42:51 AM

Not much of an update.

On the advice of my attorney, I asked Mark to produce of a plat of survey on his lot next door. He refused. Cursed me out via text message and told me to "be a man and own up for my mistake." Then he texted me "move that friggin fence." I again asked why I can see his survey and he told me "I don't need to get a fuckin survey."

I also called and sent a letter to Joe the builder. Asked him to explain how this is happening and why I would have land and my driveway in land that did not belong to me. He has not responded and is ducking my calls. He owns a major company and is having his secretary tell me that he will get back to me.

Just emailed my tenant asking for an update from his side. Told him to keep working his garden next to the fence, I don't see this thing happening overnight. I am curious as to why I have not heard a thing in almost 2 weeks. Will keep you guys posted.

wmi799 PM wmi799
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Posted: 6/19/2012 10:46:26 AM
Pretty pathetic these guys are supposed to be professionals and are not cooperating with you
mattbrot PM mattbrot
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Posted: 6/19/2012 10:51:14 AM
QUOTE Originally Posted by Irish08:

Not much of an update.

On the advice of my attorney, I asked Mark to produce of a plat of survey on his lot next door. He refused. Cursed me out via text message and told me to "be a man and own up for my mistake." Then he texted me "move that friggin fence." I again asked why I can see his survey and he told me "I don't need to get a fuckin survey."

I also called and sent a letter to Joe the builder. Asked him to explain how this is happening and why I would have land and my driveway in land that did not belong to me. He has not responded and is ducking my calls. He owns a major company and is having his secretary tell me that he will get back to me.

Just emailed my tenant asking for an update from his side. Told him to keep working his garden next to the fence, I don't see this thing happening overnight. I am curious as to why I have not heard a thing in almost 2 weeks. Will keep you guys posted.



seems strange. Even though it sounds like you are on their plot line I would still personally want official verification of this before I go cutting up my driveway and moving my fence. Seems like a reasonable request.  I would ask your tenant to keep an eye out as well for any signs of shenanigans from Mark.
umgmu PM umgmu
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Posted: 6/19/2012 4:50:56 PM

As a former Realtor, if you get NO Satisfaction or it takes too much time, CALL the Local Realtor Board or the NAR (National Assiociation of Realtors ) in your new home town, and report the Builder.

Threaten to take this to the local media in Tenessee, the Builder will cave...

And I hope your ATTY is based in Tennessee. ..

BTW, I live in Fairfax, Va if you ever want to grab a beer

 

 

Irish08 PM Irish08
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Posted: 6/23/2012 10:37:34 AM
umgmu: Thanks for the advice. I'll PM you soon- we can grab a beer over a ballgame sometime.
Irish08 PM Irish08
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Posted: 6/23/2012 10:41:59 AM

By the way guys, I found out that NO survey was ever done by the builders when he built my home.

No survey done on my home and the builder next door refuses to get a survey done on his lot. He says he doesnt need a survey because "the pins do not lie." He is referring to the magnetic pin line that he found with his little detector. He put a wooden stick where the pin is located and that is how he determined that I have several feet over my line and into his property. He wants me to pay for his survey. Not a chance it is happening.

In the meantime, I'm doing little. My neighbors have not heard from him and he continues to build the foundation of the new home. Not sure how this is going to end but I'm sure it's not going to simply just go away. It does keep me up at night a little. Honestly, I wish I never bought the home. Market won't improve by the time I retire in 20 years and it's just a real pain in my behind.

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