5 On Your Side

His driveway is on her property, and it's holding up her sale

Posted July 2, 2020 1:51 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2020 12:01 a.m. EDT

— There’s an old saying "good fences make good neighbors."

Unless the neighbor’s fence, is in your yard.

5 On Your Side’s Monica Laliberte is looking into a property line dispute in Cary, that’s a lesson in real estate for all of us.

"I’ve lost sleep over it, I’ve really felt bad," said homeowner Charlotte Tyson. "It just wears on your health."

Tyson wants to sell the Cary home she’s lived in for 37 years.

"I just need to get in a place that I can get around better, I have a lot of health issues."

She has a buyer, who smartly got a survey, which shows an encroachment issue.

The problem, the neighbor’s concrete driveway, fence and even landscaping, stretches five feet into Tyson’s property.

Tyson and her neighbors say it’s common knowledge that, from the start, grass driveways at multiple homes on the street were incorrectly aligned to encroach into neighboring properties.

Tyson moved her driveway.

Her neighbor, Ken Davenport, paved his.

"I had gone down to take care of my mother and came back and it was paved," she said. "I thought, `why did you do that’?"

In the 12 years since, Tyson paid the taxes on the land.

But she never said anything to Davenport about the property, which he claims makes it his.

"I do have a legal claim to the land," says Davenport. "The drive that I use has been here forever. It’s not like I have somehow commandeered this lady’s land, it was there."

Davenport’s attorney sent Tyson and her realtor a "notice of a claim for adverse possession of the land."

That’s a legal principle more commonly known as "squatter’s rights."

The attorney makes it clear "Davenport is not going to move the drive."

As for the landscaping, Davenport admits he planted bushes on Tyson’s yard.

But he calls it a "separate issue."

Monica asked Tyson why she never said anything to Davenport.

"I didn’t want to cause any conflict," she said" "I had no plans on moving, I figured I’d stay there."

Now, she has an even bigger conflict to deal with, which includes the deposit she paid on her new home.

"It’s going to mean thousands of dollars that I’m going to lose," Tyson said.

Her realtor, Marilyn Tschudi, says Tyson’s ordeal shows how important it is to take care of property line issues as they come up, and to get a survey to help find any that weren’t addressed.

"It protects you," said Tschudi. "Even if you’re not looking to put a fence in … this has been such a terrible experience that it’s worth the $500 or $600 for a survey."

The neighbor told 5 On Your Side his attorney plans to meet with the buyer’s attorney next week.

Monica will keep us posted on developments.

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