I have lived here in Kiserain for three years. It is a beautiful house tiny little windows and its roof shimmers in the evening sun. The house was originally surrounded by plain land which had sparse short shrubs. That was until the person who sold it to me started fencing off several land parcels which he subsequently sold to other people. Though it’s a beautiful place, I have lived out here without any neighbours for the past three years.
Recently, some people came to my house and said they were the owners of the parcel next to mine. I was glad to know, given that it seemed like a good prospect to have neighbours. Soon after, they started clearing their parcel, in preparation for the construction of their house.
I have been gardening for all the years I have lived here. Recently, I planted a garden of daffodils (just near the drive way to my house). While I bent my back in the afternoon sun removing some weeds, one of the gentlemen came and suggested that I move the flowers further into my compound because I was planting the flowers in his land. He also pointed out that my fence was on his land.
I was baffled. I thought he was being a bully. I then told him that could not be so because I have the original survey plan which shows that there are about three feet left from my fence. However, yesterday he sent a notice telling me that if I don’t remove my flowers and fence, he will be constrained to remove them himself so that he can develop his land.
This is clearly a neighbour from hell. I now don’t know what to do. Can he really remove my fence? Can he uproot my flowers? Please advise.
Dear Pendo Masai,
It is unfortunate that you are starting on a bad note with your neighbour.
You should reply to his letter with a view to amicably solve this problem. The most viable way of solving your problem, one which will work for both you and your neighbour is to do a land survey.
A land survey will help to ascertain the measurement and definition of the boundaries of your properties. The surveyor will use the property’s legal description as is in government records to point out the benchmarks on the ground that define the exact dimensions of each piece of land.
Knowing the exact specifications of your properties will help to ascertain whether you can grow more flowers on your property and if your neighbour is really warranted to uproot your fence and flowers.
A survey will also help you both to know if there are any easements on any of your properties. An easement is a right given to another person allowing them to use the property. It may be a right of way, a right to transmit electricity or water through the land or even a right to graze cattle. Easements may be general or specific. General easements allow another person to enter your property while specific easements give them a particular right to use your property. It is important to note that an easement can limit your ability to use your property however you wish.
A survey also helps you to establish where your property is most vulnerable for encroachment. Encroachment is an infringement of the rights of a land owner by another person. For example, upon carrying out a survey, it may be ascertained that someone has built or intends to builds their house three feet into an easement. This will help you both to negotiate and know how to live well together.
It is therefore important to do a survey of land before you purchase it. This will help you to know the boundaries and even to be sure that what the seller purports to sell is what is on ground.
Get together with your neighbour and engage a surveyor jointly. Or, you can both engage your own surveyors and compare notes.
All the best!