Badly Placed Fences Make For Angry Neighbours

Badly Placed Fences Make for Bad Neighbours

When the Lipischaks bought their house in 1969, there was a wire fence running north-south separating the two properties. Shortly afterward, Frank Lipischak replaced it with a new chain link fence in the same location. The fence that was intended to divide the two lots along the property line in fact extended into the DeWolf property by about 3.6 inches.

Due to this misalignment of the boundary fence over a period of many years, the Lipischaks claimed ownership by adverse possession (also known as “squatter’s rights”) to two specific areas of the DeWolf and Russ property, measuring a total of 192 square feet.

In Ontario, the right to acquire title to a part of a neighbour’s property requires exclusive, open, continuous and obvious use without the neighbour’s permission for a period of 10 years prior to the date title to the property was converted to the electronic Land Titles system.

DeWolf and Russ objected to the misalignment and eventually the boundary dispute wound up in court before Justice Anthony E. Cusinato in Windsor. The Lipischaks asked the court for a declaration that DeWolf and Russ had lost their title to the disputed area. Click here to view the full article.

 

Here’s a cautionary tale if there ever was one. Hundreds of thousands in legal costs over several years over a fence that was misplaced by a few inches, representing less than 200 sq ft of property. While lawyers and the courts may be unavoidable in settling some real estate disputes, this example clearly shows why this should be an extreme last resort. A little common sense and goodwill goes a long way in situations like this, and can save enormous cost & stress for all concerned.