WHAT THE HELL do you mean you’re not paying the rest of the survey fee? (I always get at least 50% retainer, for just this situation.)
So, you say my survey is wrong, why?
“The tax map says I have 152 feet of frontage and you show only 141 feet. Your survey is WRONG.”
The 141 feet ± shown, sir, is a straight line distance from one pin to the other. Your property actually is a series of 3 curves and a straight line. You actually have the 151 feet of frontage along the right-of-way that’s shown in red.
“So you’re saying my line is out in the street?
Well sir, in fact the pavement is actually built over your front line. Whoever paved it didn’t stay within the lines too well. (I said with a smile, trying to introduce some levity, which most times helps.)
“YOU’RE CRAZY, SO I CAN JUST PUT UP A FENCE OUT INTO THE ROAD AND BLOCK THE STREET?”
Well I wouldn’t advise it sir, but it is your land. I recommend you call the City or County first and discuss it with them.
“There’s no way that’s right. AND YOUR BILL IS WRONG TOO. Your guys were out here about an hour and they didn’t even know what they were doing.”
Sir, they were out there over 4 hours, you were with them the whole time. And, they are supposed to find as many corners as possible to check the pins that your neighbor’s surveyor set. They ended up shooting 3 or 4 pins on one side of your lot and all of your neighbors pins plus some more just to make sure yours was right. You asked for that right.? Plus, I discounted all that time off, down to our original contract amount. I ate that time.
“So you came off my neighbors corners? I told you I thought they moved them. I’M NOT PAYING YOU TO SURVEY HIS PROPERTY.”
Well sir, another surveyor actually set the two pins between your land and his. They appear, from the FOUR hours work we did, to be in the right location, maybe a few inches too far on you, but not significant.
“WELL I’M NOT PAYING YOU. You’ll have to talk to my lawyer. He’s my father-in-law.”
The conversation was similar to that but much longer, and more heated than I can illustrate with words. But you get it, the guy didn’t like the answer he got – his out building was over the line over 3 feet, just as the other surveyor found. So, he starts attacking my professionalism and integrity, along with the crew’s competence and that they lied about the time (or that I did.)
I’ve never been to the Supreme Court, and I’m not sure this case will make it, but I’d like to go as far as it takes with this guy, just to wave my $300 in his face after he pays it. In reality, it will cost me $3000 (attorney, my time, and lost opportunity) and a sleepless night or two. Not to mention the frustration each time I think about it.
So, do I take it all the way to the Supreme Court, or do I let this guy get away with $300 of my money?
7/26/2016: As an Update, I joined LegalShield (formerly Prepaid Legal) and spoke to an Alabama attorney. His opinion was that because I did work ON the property and left behind stakes and flagging that I met the requirements for filing a lien against the property in Alabama. He sent a letter to the guys attorney (father-in-law) on my behalf. We’ll see. I do recommend LegalShield for your business, and not just because I might get a couple of bucks if you join. Well worth $39/month.
J. Keith Maxwell is a Professional Land Surveyor and Engineer in Alabama and frequently has conversations with people just to get his heart pumping faster. It’s usually about money. (Aren’t they all?)