Dear Monty: ‘For sale’ sign installed without permission
Reader question: Can my neighbor put up a 4 x 12 “for sale” sign on my property without my permission? What do you suggest I do about it? Monte
Monty's answer: Hello, Monte, thanks for your question. No one can put a sign up on your property without permission. My advice is to see, call or write to the neighbor and share your believe the sign is on the wrong property. After that conversation, your course of action will become clear. There are several different possibilities here, so approach the neighbor with caution:
1. Assuming you have seen the sign with your own eyes, and you believe it to be on you property, have you ever had a survey completed? If so, is there a hard copy of it? It is possible the neighbor placed the sign on property because they believe they own it. A lead pipe in the ground is not proof of the boundary; stakes get moved, but a legally recorded survey is proof.
2. Sign companies can and do make mistakes. Your neighbor or their real estate agent may have orally communicated the location to the installer, and was misunderstood. If someone called about the sign and shared the information over the telephone, it is possible they miscommunicated the sign location to you.
3. The neighbor may have a survey that demonstrates they own the property.
4. The issue could be with the surveyor or the survey itself. As and example, many years ago I sold a home only to discover months after closing the "lot line" went right through the home's living room. A surveyor made an error 80 years earlier.
Property owners subdivide the land, sell off chunks to neighbors, grant easements and more. Occasionally, vital documents were not recorded. Either of you could have an outdated document or the surveyor could have erred. These issues are uncovered when an action like installing a sign, or building a fence take place.
5. It is possible the neighbor deliberately placed the sign on your property. Could the neighbor be conspiring with one of your friends? For a practical joker, this would not be out of the ordinary. There are too many theories to list in this discussion.
Review your survey, make the phone call and take it from there. You should be able to work with the neighbor to resolve the issue.
I hope this information is helpful, Monte. Ask me if there are more questions. After the phone call I would be curious to learn what caused the error or if you still need advice. Good luck.
Richard Montgomery gives no-nonsense real estate advice to readers’ most pressing questions. He is a real estate industry veteran who has championed industry reform for more than a quarter century. You can ask him your questions at DearMonty.com by clicking the "Ask Monty" button."