Someone’s Property On Your Yard

(WSVN) - Here is one for you. Her neighbor’s water meter was in her backyard and if she wanted it out of her yard, she had to pay to move it. Someone else’s property is in your yard and you have to pay to move it? It’s why we have Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser around here.

You don’t have to hear Yesenia’s words to know how she feels about buying a house. Her smile answers for her.

Yesenia Balseiro, water meter needs to move: “Yes, very excited. Can’t wait to move in.”

First though, Yesenia and her husband needed to update the house, beginning with a fence. That began her headache.

Yesenia Balseiro: “According to the survey, we noticed our neighbor’s water meter was within our property line.”

To be specific, her neighbor’s water meter was in Yesenia’s backyard.

Yesenia Balseiro: “I thought, ‘Not a problem. I will call the county and they could move it for us.'”

Yesenia said Miami-Dade Water and Sewer would move it, but there’s an expensive but…

Yesenia Balseiro: “They told me we were responsible for paying for the work. They sent me an order for $959.”

A letter from the county said not only would Yesenia have to pay the $959 to move her neighbor’s meter, that estimate did not include costs for engineering, inspection, survey and permits.

Yesenia Balseiro: “I said ‘There is no way I am going to pay for that.'”

Yesenia said fine, she would just build the fence and leave the neighbor’s water meter in her backyard.

Yesenia Balseiro: “They told us we could not put up our fence because we would have to give our neighbor’s access to the water meter.”

Yesenia said now she understands why the prior owner put a fence in many years ago that curved around the meter.

Yesenia Balseiro: “Maybe the previous owners had an issue also and that’s why they put the fence that way.”

A new home brings unexpected surprises. Someone else’s water meter in your backyard is certainly one. So Howard, legally who has to pay to move this thing?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “This is actually a very interesting area of the law. If an owner doesn’t want something on his property, it’s trespassing and whoever put it there has to pay to remove it. But if the prior owner knew it was there and objected, but allowed it to stay for 20 years, the law says the county has what’s called a prescriptive easement and the meter can stay. But the county would have to prove that. It would be difficult and expensive to do. It’s much cheaper for the county to just move the meter.”

I called Miami-Dade Water and Sewer. In the past, they have been remarkable to deal with and they were again.

Turns out the county did not put that meter in the wrong yard. A spokesperson wrote “this infrastructure was inherited when WASD took over the operation of Miami Springs water and sewer service area.”

Miami-Dade then moved the water meter out of Yesenia’s backyard and did not charge her a dime.

Yesenia Balseiro: “It was pretty easy. They just told me it would take a day and the work was done.”

With the meter out of her yard, Yesenia can now turn her attention to remodeling the house … after her call to Help Me Howard.

Yesenia Balseiro: “I couldn’t be happier that I called. I don’t think the problem would have been resolved without them. I probably would have ended up paying.”

Glad we could help, and nice to see Water and Sewer moved so quickly. Now Howard said if someone has something on your property, they normally have to move it. There is one exception … if they have an easement, like a cable, phone or power company. That easement gives them the right to keep it in your yard. To find out if they have the easement, check your property survey. You got one when you bought the house.

A problem got you fenced in? Ready to water it down? Contact us. No meter runs when we step in ’cause we are free.


Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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