Has your neighbor put in a new fence that seems closer to your home than the old one? Or does he or she have a tree whose roots and branches extend into your yard? If you have a situation like either of these or a similar one, the time has come to pull out your home’s deed. Issues like this might qualify as a boundary dispute.
What Is a Boundary Dispute Exactly?
Boundary disputes occur when different property owners claim to own the same piece of land. They also occur when property owners disagree with how neighboring land is used (such as a tree extending into your yard). These important disagreements can sometimes be solved amicably. However, they often turn into contentious debates that require legal intervention.
For that reason, if you think you have a boundary dispute, you should approach it carefully. You need to protect your property and your interests. For the best results, follow the steps we’ve provided below. Hopefully, our approach can help you settle your dispute with ease.
Step #1: Recognize the Dispute
The first step towards resolving a property boundary problem is knowing it exists. You should always know where your property line is. Yet, people often don’t pay attention to their boundary lines and property deeds until an issue arises.
If you think there might be a problem, check your home’s documentation. You can even order a survey.
Step #2: Kindly Approach Your Neighbor
If you discover a boundary dispute, your next step should involve kindly approaching your neighbor about the boundary issue. Often, a simply and polite conversation can resolve a problem, or at least start the resolution process.
Remember not to do anything that could cause a legal issue in the future. Be careful and approach your neighbor with a conciliatory tone. Don’t agree to anything that doesn’t make you feel completely comfortable. You want to keep all your options open as you start the resolution process.
Step #3: Talk with a Lawyer
If you can’t find a simple solution to your property line dispute, you should talk to a real estate legal expert as soon as possible. A property lawyer will help you avoid any mistakes that would forfeit your case. They can also help you collect the necessary evidence and documentation to prove you side in a case.
Step #4: Pursue Mediation
Once you have a lawyer to advise you, it’s time to advance talks with your neighbor. First, have your attorney send a letter explaining the basics of the dispute. Ask to have a time to meet with an independent party to find a solution.
In mediation, you can create a specific agreement to survey and properly define property boundaries. With your neighbor, you can draft agreements and licenses to equitably divide the two properties. If you want a more formal solution, you can agree to have a judge draw a fair boundary line.
Step #5: File a Lawsuit
If negotiations get you nowhere, your last option is to file a lawsuit. Together with your lawyer, you can build a case to protect your property from your neighbor’s encroachment. From the start of the process, be sure to document each step. Take note of any proof of your claims and your neighbor’s responses. Keep these just in case, as these items can help you make a successful claim.
While boundary disputes can get tense, success allows you to fully enjoy your property. If you think you have a possible boundary dispute, talk to a legal professional today. He or she can give you personalized advice to guide you through each step of the process.