Can You Go On Your Neighbor’s Property?

(WSVN) - A South Florida homeowner runs into a bit of a property problem. She had to access her neighbor’s property, so crews could work on a section of her home, but her neighbor said, “No.” It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Daisy Fernandez: “No, no, I took down the roof. Does she know that the water piping goes through there?”

We first met Daisy back in a different era — back in January, when the only people who wore masks outside were bank robbers.

Daisy Fernandez: “Back there is where they had the efficiency.”

Daisy and her husband wanted to touch up their house.

Daisy Fernandez: “I need to finish the side of the house and the edge of the roof.”

Daisy lives in a zero lot line neighborhood, meaning you own the land of one side of your house, and your neighbor owns the property on the other side of the house.

Daisy Fernandez: “My husband started talking to her husband to make sure that we could, neighbor to neighbor, get everything straightened out.”

Then, when you need to work on the side of the house your neighbor controls, they have to give you access to the four feet near your home to do the work.

Patrick Fraser: “Did you ask her?”

Daisy Fernandez: “Yes.”

Patrick Fraser: “And?”

Daisy Fernandez: “No.”

Daisy called the county to complain. An inspector came out and uncovered a problem with her neighbor’s property.

Daisy Fernandez: “She had an efficiency, illegal. Her shed was illegal. The fence was illegal.”

Her neighbor had to remove the efficiency, this part of the roof and the fence, but now, her neighbor wasn’t about to let Daisy’s construction crew come in her yard.

Patrick Fraser: “So she’s not happy with you and you’re not happy with her?”

Daisy Fernandez: “I have to live next to her. I have to be happy. It’s just that I want to fix my house.”

But Daisy can’t fix the problem and has discovered no one else can help, either.

Daisy Fernandez: “I keep calling the zoning department. I keep calling my commissioner. They tell me they cannot do anything about it.”

It seems everyone tells Daisy she can’t force her neighbor to give her access to this side of the property, or Howard, can she?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Absolutely. In a zero lot line community, the law gives you access to four feet of your neighbor’s property to maintain it. If they won’t let you in, hire an attorney to ask a judge to order them to let you in. In most cases, your neighbor will have to pay your attorney and any courts costs you incurred. In Daisy’s case, it’s a slam dunk, and she will win.”

Daisy’s neighbors were not easy to work with.

They ignored our calls and emails asking them to follow the law.

Then, I sent them an email explaining that an attorney was going to sue them to get Daisy access to their property, and the judge could then order them to pay Daisy’s legal fees if she won.

That, apparently, is what did it.

A day later, they let the contractor in their yard to finish Daisy’s house.

Daisy Fernandez: “Everything looks fine and dandy.”

Look at before and after, the house does look great. It just took Daisy a while to get it that way.

Daisy Fernandez: “Thank you to all of you for helping us. After you guys got involved, the process went very smoothly, thank God.”

Glad we could help you, Daisy.

Now, how do you know if your property is in a zero lot line neighborhood? It should be on the property survey, and if you do not live in a zero lot line neighborhood, do you have the right to go through the side of your neighbor’s property? Say to bring equipment in to build a pool?

Nope, you need their permission.

Getting zero help trying to solve a problem? Need access to a solution? Survey the scene and contact us. Stepping up is the neighborly thing to do.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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