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  #1  
Old Sep 24, '10, 9:09 am
CatholicGeek CatholicGeek is offline
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Default Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

Ok, it seems that this is a silly issue, with so many other issues being so much more important, but let me solicit some advice here ...

I own a home with a shared driveway with our neighbors. They are nice enough folks, but not Catholic, raised Christian, I think, but they don't seem overly practicing any faith.

The shared driveway runs between our homes. On their side the driveway leads to a one-car garage placed maybe 30 feet back, with a fence next to their side of the driveway closing off their yard. Their side of the driveway extends a few feet beyond the width of their garage. On our side the driveway leads to a two-car garage placed about 60 feet back. On our side, we have a very LARGE driveway that expands the full width of the garage (and makes our yard pretty small) with no fence. (When we purchased the house, we thought that we might eventually want to make the driveway smaller to gain more yard space.)

For a while, the neighbors have been parking both of their cars in front of their garage. (They used to park one on the street, but they had an incident where the car was damaged by some vandalism.) When they park both cars in front of their garage, they most often park one of the cars over the property line on our side. In the beginning this was only a little, but they recently exchanged one of their cars for a larger vehicle. Now, they extend more and more over the property line. Typically about 1/3 of their vehicle is over the property line. (Our driveway is large enough to not be blocked by them parking their car there.)

This annoyed me some, even to the extent of losing a bit of sleep over it. (Oh, small minded me!)

My concerns are these:

1. They did not ask permission to do this. (ok, so only annoying)
2. Extended use of what they are doing can legally extend usage (easement) rights of this area to them (and to the next owners of their house) so they or future owners can always park there.
3. They can fit both cars on their property with more effort. (They are concerned with having room to open their car doors to not hit the other car or the fence.)
4. It does not seem right to use another's property without permission.

I did some reading and praying about it and finally talked to the neighbor husband.

I asked him not to park their cars over the property line. I told him that they could use our driveway to turn around in (like they do) and have their kids play in (like they do). I also told him that we have been trying to keep the driveway clear so that they can turn around in.

A while back the neighbor's wife asked us not to park our car next to our house (where there is an extra parking space that we use to unload groceries about 5 feet from the house instead of 40-50 feet), because it makes it harder for them to use our driveway to turn around in. I told the husband that we have consciously been trying to keep that space clear so they can turn around easier. (Although, in my mind, that is exactly what the space was built for - to unload near the house, not blocking any part of the shared driveway.) My wife's point is that it is Christian charity to do so, even though we have every right to park there. (Good for her.)

My impression of the neighbor's wife is that she does not back up a car very well. I've observed her trying to back down the long shared driveway, and she does not do it very smoothly.

When talking to the husband, asking them not to park over the property line, he offered some reasons why they do it, but I only responded that "I know that you'll be able to work it out", leaving the how-to and responsibility to them.

After talking to the husband, it seems to me that sometimes they are better, only parking over a little bit (which I don't like but can tolerate). But several times, they are back to parking one of the cars 1/3 over the property line.
I thought perhaps that they did not know where the property line was, as it is not explicitly marked out, but I donít think this is the case for two reasons. 1. The husband did not debate me about the location of the property line, as if he knew that he was indeed extending over the invisible line. 2. When theyíve held garage sales in the past few years, they have put tables right up to the property line, indicating that they know itís the property line.

I want to talk to them again (prior to parking my car on my driveway to block them from doing this), but I don't really know what to say.

Is this just an issue that I need to "die" to? It seems unimportant in the big picture, yet it irritates me.

What are your "constructive" thoughts/suggestions on this, in Christian charity? (I can figure out non-Christian responses very easily!)

God Bless!
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  #2  
Old Sep 24, '10, 9:12 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

this issue is spelled out in your deeds and applicable civil law.
if you allow them to encroach over a period of time you may actually be granting them a permanent easement to do so.
If you can't settle this amicably you may need a real estate lawyer, or a fence, or to start parking something on your own side--large toys, camper, portable storage shed, whatever, to reclaim the space. why not together do the research and paint a line down the actual property division (which both of you may be unclear on at this time).
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  #3  
Old Sep 24, '10, 10:44 am
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Julian0404 Julian0404 is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

In Christian charity first you need to protect your property rights. Go to legal zoom.com and see if they have a "License Agreement" for the use of your property by another. Your neighbors do not have to sign this or even know it exists. You fill it out and record it at the county office of records. Once recorded your neighbor will never be able to claim you owe them the right because you never contested. If legal zoom does not have one, see a local real estate attorney.

Secondly, in christian charity, if it is not interfering with your use of the driveway, then walk away and rest in knowing you've protected your property rights by the above.

Thirdly, if and when the neighbor should ever sell the home, then take action to place a barrier to avoid the same with the next neighbor.
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  #4  
Old Sep 24, '10, 10:50 am
Totterman Totterman is offline
 
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
This is NOT a religius question. But lets make it one. So they are not good christians,they did not ask if they can park the way they do,and that is a big thing for You. OK,I understand,but that is not a big deal. Read Matt.18:21 and sleep a nigth and go and make up whit Your neighbors. You are most likely a good catholic,act like one,I am sure You will feel better when You have forgive and forgot a matter that realy not is too big.
What bad can come if You are rigth,wich You are,but give in in the name of forgivness. Blessing,Totterman
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  #5  
Old Sep 24, '10, 11:54 am
redtech redtech is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

I would probably start parking next to my house so they can't turn around in it.

...and maybe spill a box of nails on my side of the property line.

I'm not always a good Christian.
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  #6  
Old Sep 24, '10, 6:29 pm
wjp984 wjp984 is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

I think your concerns are legitimate especially since you are aware of the consequences of taking no action. However, is the property line split or do you each have reciprical easements?
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  #7  
Old Sep 24, '10, 8:31 pm
Catholic1954 Catholic1954 is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

You need to protect yours and future owners property rights. I would put up some kind of pysical barrier to prevent them from parking over the line. We don't have a driveway and have to park on the city street; my husband leaves the trash cans out next to the curb in front of our house, over the weekend when street parking is a problem, it works most of the time! It would be a shame to have to put up a fence, but I would definitely consider it as a last resort.
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  #8  
Old Sep 25, '10, 8:45 am
Sabda Sabda is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

The wife was out of line when she asked you not to park on your own property. Doesn't matter where. If it's on your property, it's your property and she can't tell you where or where not to park on it.


Just a warning but my mother had to deal with something like this. Neighbors allowed friends and family to park in her yard. She ended up having to call the sheriff's department and they had to come out and tell the people to stay off her property. They told the neighbors that they could not put one tire on my mom's property. They eventually had a parking area built in their yard for their vistors.

The unfortunate truth is that things like can and at times do turn ugly so be prepared for that. No one wants to go there but some times you have to.
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  #9  
Old Sep 27, '10, 3:51 pm
CatholicGeek CatholicGeek is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

Thank you all for your input, it's appreciated. (Although, redtech, I don't think I can justify putting nails on the driveway, fun as it sounds!)

I'd like to have a decent conversation with the neighbors, but it's difficult to catch them and I don't want this topic to be our only conversation piece.

(The property line is in the middle of a 10 foot wide, or so, driveway, with "easements" going both ways.)

It seems on weekends, the issue is worse, with them parking more-so over the property line.

Sunday, I opted for a "shot over the bow" approach. (Ok, so not very direct here, but it may generate a conversation about it...) I just parked next to their car on my property. Both their cars were already parked, with one being only slightly over at the time, so it did not cause any issues with them backing out, for the most part. If, however, they had not already backed up in our driveway, it would have prevented them from doing so.

Perhaps this little, polite "warning", me parking my car on my property, edging up to the property line will generate some talk, or provide an opportunity. I don't think I'll do it much, yet. I'd much rather have a better, direct approach, but we'll see.

Thanks again and God Bless!
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  #10  
Old Oct 11, '10, 8:32 am
CatholicGeek CatholicGeek is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

...UPDATE...

For those interested.

Twice, I parked my car on my driveway next to where they usually park, not further in by my garage. Both times, I parked on my property with about 2 feet of clearance to the property line. The second time, they had one vehicle parked, and I could tell that the other vehicle would probably not fit very well. They'd either have to squeeze in or more their first vehicle a bit.

The next morning the wife had left a note on my car windshield. Here's the gist of the note (not exact, but close):
"Could you please be a little more considerate and park both of your vehicles close to your garage. .... We've never any problems with any of the other neighbors. ... Besides, you have so much room and a 2 car garage."
I showed the note to my wife, and after work I knocked on their door. The wife's car was in the driveway, but the daughter said that she was not home. I asked the daughter to let the wife know I stopped by and wanted to talk for a couple minutes.

The next day, after work, the wife was washing one of their cars in the driveway. I talked to her. She seemed rather upset, continuing to wash her car during the conversation, but she kept her it subdued (for the most part). I told her that yes, we could park the cars near the garage, so they could turn around, but I has spoken to the husband about not parking their cars on our side of the property line.

I don't recall explicitly, but I did point out that the property line could be clearly seen by using the roof lines of the garages (theirs, and the neighbor behind our property). She said that she knew where the property line was, that it was about 2 feet from the corner of their garage according to the "plat of survey". I told her it was at about the crack in the driveway, she said that it was a bit further than that. I said that I didn't want to argue about the details of the property line (since their car is often quite over the "details").

One of the details that I recall her saying was that she didn't need to explain to me the details of their parking (or something to that effect). I found this amusing a couple days later, as I realized what she was saying (in my understanding) was that we don't need to explain to you how we park our cars. But in the few "parking" conversations we've had, what she's been telling us how we can park our cars on our driveway.

After a little conversation, not necessarily going anywhere she said "ok, I think we've talked about this enough". And that she hoped that I understood her now.

Since this conversation, they have been keeping their cars on their property (for the most part). But I'm afraid that it has hurt our neighbor relationship.

I'm thinking that they think we are small minded (& inconsiderate) in not allowing they to part "over the property line", since "we have such a large driveway and a 2 car garage". I'm sure that on the occasions where we have left a car parked by the house, they have not liked it.

For my part, my thoughts are that it is inconsiderate to park one's car on another person's property (consistently) without asking permission. (It's not like a one-time thing where you have company over of something.) Just because the other person's space is bigger does not give me "the right".

A lot of the attitude I feel from them is "this is our right" and "you need to allow us to do this". Verses, "I know that it's your property and thank you for the use of it to turn around".

One last thing on the note: On "never had an issue with neighbors before" - There was one neighbor sharing the driveway with them before us. They put up the fence around their yard (which requires extra door space for their cars) about 6 months after we moved in. They used to park one vehicle on the street until a small vandalism occurrence about 1.5 years ago. They had a smaller vehicle.

A couple months ago, we had an event at our church where some relatives parked at our house. My wife went back to our house from the church to get the car to re-load supplies we had taken to church for the event. Well, the car was blocked in with our guests cars (who were at the church) and the neighbors car (which was half-way on our property). She didn't want to walk back to church (being pregnant and 1/2 block away), so she knocked on the neighbors door and asked them if they could move their car so she could get out. They told her that they had just come back from vacation, were just sitting down for dinner and would move it when they finished dinner.

It turned out that one of the guests returned from the church and was able to move the other blocking vehicle, so my wife told them "never mind". She only just recently told me this, good woman that she is. She said she fumed over it for a little while, but she is very forgiving. (When my wife told me, I recalled bringing the car home from the church that evening. The neighbor's car WAS very much in our driveway. I noted it because we had a car full of stuff to unload as well as two very tired children to unload.)

My personal moral of the story (so far): I should have talked to the neighbors again instead of provoking them to change. Mea culpa. It would have been better.

But for now, we wait and see. I'm hoping for an opportunity to talk to the husband to try to smooth things over, without saying, "sure, park anywhere you like".

In praying about this and thinking about this, I think of the scripture that says "if it is possible live at peace with those around you", and also of the Catholic philosophy of "peace is not possible without justice". Balance all of this with the idea of suffering and bearing with injustice.

Perhaps I'm failing in all this? We'll see.
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  #11  
Old Oct 11, '10, 8:42 am
mary bobo mary bobo is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

Maybe someone has already asked, but why does no one park in their garages?
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  #12  
Old Oct 11, '10, 9:02 am
CatholicGeek CatholicGeek is offline
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Default Re: Property Line, Parking and Neighbors ...

Park in the garage? Is that what they are for? I thought they were for storage and stuff. :-)

For us, we tend to park in the garage mostly in the winter and less in the summer. But the problem come that we put stuff in the garage that tends to clutter it up for cars. I need to clean it out before the snow comes!!!

As for the neighbors, probably much the same, with the added wrinkle that it's only a 1 car garage. It makes it difficult to get in/out with a one car garage. If you need car "A" and car "A" is in the garage, chances are that car "B" is in front of the garage and would need to be moved. :-(

Bless!
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