Suburban sharecropping

Discussion in 'Garden and Lawncare' started by Flyover, Aug 16, 2017.

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  1. Aug 16, 2017 #1

    Flyover

    Flyover

    Flyover

    Trying not to screw things up worse

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    I have a problem, and my neighbor has a problem.

    My problem is, I have way more lawn and garden space in back of my house than I want to take care of, or need. (Most of it is full sun, some of it is shade. It's all basically flat, and close to a water spigot.)

    My neighbor's problem is, he is trying to be self-sustaining and grow all his own food, but he doesn't have enough garden space.

    Solution: I will propose that my neighbor come over and use my extra lawn and garden space to grow his food, in exchange for a very small portion (a basket-full or two) of what he grows. I.e. sharecropping!

    Before my neighbor and I write up a contract, I wanted to reach out to y'all here and see if anyone's had experience with this kind of thing. What issues should I watch out for and be sure to include in our agreement?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  2. Aug 16, 2017 #2

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    Just a word of caution, once you allow encroachment, you could run into issues if something goes sour and you try to regain the property.

    I allowed a neighbor to encroach my property to allow an 80' tree to stay, and he wanted my property to build a planter around the tree. Of course, I agreed since it was only a 30' area for his tree. When I went to sell my property, somehow the deed reflected that that property was now maintained and considered dual ownership with my adjoining neighbor.

    I don't want to be a downer to what seems like a great idea, but please consult with a real estate attorney to protect your rights.
     
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  3. Aug 16, 2017 #3

    nealtw

    nealtw

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  4. Aug 17, 2017 #4

    Flyover

    Flyover

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    Trying not to screw things up worse

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    @havasu:

    I should mention, this isn't an adjoining neighbor. He's across the street. As I said, I definitely plan to write up a contract. From your story, I guess the advice would be to include something in there about what happens if I move or sell the house. Or maybe something more basic about the land still being mine no matter what.

    Kinda curious how your deed got changed without your knowing!
     
  5. Aug 17, 2017 #5

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    If you let the public cross your land for so many years with out interruption, it becomes a road.
    That would not apply when you have a lease or a contract.
    I does help to know the local laws some of this crap came from England.
     
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  6. Aug 19, 2017 #6

    slownsteady

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    Put a term limit in the agreement....maybe one year. You can always renew the agreement, but it will expire if the relationship breaks down.
     
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  7. Aug 20, 2017 #7

    JoeD

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    You need to consult an attorney.
    But my opinion is that if there is a written agreement that is different than just allowing someone to use your property, especially if rent(part of the crop) is collected. If someone rents your house for 30 years they don't become the owners.
     
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  8. Aug 21, 2017 #8

    Flyover

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    Yes, I repeat: I absolutely plan to have a written agreement.

    My question was about whether any of you have experience with this kind of thing and can recommend stuff to put in that agreement that I might not think of. But I guess I wasn't clear about that.

    Here's kind of a list of stuff I will make sure the agreement covers:


    • Work share
    • Produce share
    • Use of...equipment, tool, water, hose, shed
    • Who's responsible for pests, acceptable ways to control them
    • Area/zone
    • Acceptable uses of land
    • Time (as in what times/days he may or may not come on my property)
    • Contingencies ("What happens if...")
    • Terms for modifying/terminating the agreement

    That's what will be on it so far. Suggestions welcome.
     
  9. Aug 21, 2017 #9

    bud16415

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    I must be a throwback to another time. If I had a neighbor I liked and trusted and he wanted to plant a garden on our property I would just tell him to go for it. If I didn’t like him or didn’t trust him and thought I needed to get a lawyer involved and a contract, I would just say no. for what a lawyer charges per hour I could buy all the vegies I eat in a year. Unless you are lawyer any contract you write up likely isn’t worth the price of the paper. I can’t envision a situation where letting someone use your yard for a garden is going to make it their land.

    But what do I know I’m from a generation where my old man told me to go weed the neighbors garden for them because they needed the help.
     
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  10. Aug 21, 2017 #10

    Flyover

    Flyover

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    If I'm reading you right, I'm not from the same generation as you, but I have a similar personal ethos, and have a similar relationship with my neighbors.

    However, the contract isn't there to make it all formal and uncomfortable, and obviously my neighbor and I can work out most misunderstandings man to man in a friendly way. The written agreement is there so that things don't get really ugly if there is some kind of major problem, which is more of a risk since this would be a lot more involved than one of us borrowing the other guy's shovel. It protects both of us. Any lawyer will tell you it's dumb to enter into these kind of arrangements without a written agreement. It doesn't have to be drafted by a lawyer, as long as lawyers can make sense out of it later if they need to. 99.9999% positive it will never come to that, but we'd both be sorry if it wasn't there when we needed it.
     
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  11. Aug 21, 2017 #11

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Of course you are correct it is the world we live now. I come home every day and at 4:30 judge Judy has flown people half way across the country paid them up to $5000 and put them up in hotels for just these type of cases, and she always tells them to have a written contract. You can’t be too careful as it is no longer 1965 when the neighborhood kids would meet at the vacant sand lot for an impromptu game of baseball. Complete with hardwood bats and hardballs. The owners of these properties seemed to never care, and if a kid did get hurt his parents took care of him or took him to the doctor assuming it was his own fault. They never thought of taking the land owner to court because they knew the judge would throw it out.

    Now I think you are underestimating your neighbors in loaning them a shovel. They are digging away and the handle snaps and they hurt their wrist say. You knowingly and willingly lent them a tool that was not in proper working condition hoping it would break and they being decent people would buy you a new one. But you miscalculated the injury aspect and in your quest for a new shovel YOU not them caused them bodily harm and pain and suffering and missed time on the job. I rule for the plaintiff $5000 and nothing for you on your counter claim for a new shovel. Case dismissed.
    :p:):p
     
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  12. Aug 21, 2017 #12

    Flyover

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    If not enough people sue, the little guy gets screwed. If too many people sue, the productive taxpayers get screwed. We'll probably never get it exactly right, the news media wouldn't tell us if we did, and the grass is always greener, I guess.
     
  13. Aug 22, 2017 #13

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    The only guy making out is the guy I see on TV fifty times a night. He points his bony finger at the camera and says “You pay nothing unless I get money for you!” What he doesn’t say is he takes 60% or more of what he gets for you.

    Just out of curiosity how many acres are we talking about?
     
  14. Aug 22, 2017 #14

    Flyover

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    Somewhere between about 1100 and 3000 square feet depending how much my neighbor wants. Not that much really. Like I said, this is suburban sharecropping.
     
  15. Aug 22, 2017 #15

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    So are you going to share the same plot or have your own plots.
    You have asked some interesting questions on things to work out.
    I think it would be a plot of land for $X per year, What happens on rental land would be the responsibility of the tenant.
    He might want the right to build a tool shed of sorts.
    Water might be a problem, maybe a meter so the cost of that could be watched and what ever deal is worked out that might be adjusted after a year.
    X% of crop in exchange for rent.

    Up here we have farmers that rent fields for hay or silage and some have plots to rent out for city folks to grow a garden but I don't know anyone that has been involved with any of it.
     
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  16. Aug 22, 2017 #16

    oldognewtrick

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    Make sure to have him sign a release form to absolve you of any liability should harm come to him or his guests that enter your property.
     
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  17. Aug 24, 2017 #17

    slownsteady

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    Just wouldn't be worth it to involve an attorney. Just like the bunch of us trying to imagine every scenario that could possibly happen, the lawyer would come up with ten pages of stuff, and then your neighbor would get worried and want to hire a lawyer to check your lawyers work and protect his rights. Pretty soon it gets ridiculous. And even if you write the agreement yourself, if it gets to complicated I wouldn't be surprised if your neighbor decides not to sign.
    My advice is keep it as simple as possible - in plain language. Just give him permission to use your property on a seasonal basis and don't offer any tools or anything. Your share should cover your water expenses, because it would be impossible for your neighbor to provide his own water unless he is right next door.
     

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