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How can a property owner successfully settle a neighborly boundary dispute?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2024 | Real Estate Law

Real property, including someone’s primary residence, could be the most valuable asset they own. Often, those with an interest in property derive as much value from the land as the improvements erected on that property.

Unfortunately, sometimes a property owner’s interest in their land could be vulnerable even though they have recorded a deed establishing their ownership. For example, neighbors may find themselves disagreeing about where the boundary between their parcels actually falls. That dispute could lead to the loss of land if someone builds over the property line.

How can someone currently disagreeing with a neighbor about where the boundary between parcels falls successfully resolve the issue?

Professional support may be necessary

Sometimes, all it takes to resolve a dispute about a property boundary is an in-depth review of the deeds for the properties. Deeds typically include legal descriptions, and those descriptions typically clarify the exact boundaries of a parcel.

However, legal descriptions can include jargon that the average person may not understand. When a review of a deed does not quickly resolve a boundary dispute, a real estate professional could help. Surveyors have special training and equipment that allow them to establish where the boundary for a property falls.

They can review the legal description and then take measurements before placing boundary markers. A survey could effectively establish the correct placement of a boundary and could prevent the completion of a project that might infringe on someone’s parcel.

Occasionally, a survey is not enough to stop one neighbor from erecting a fence or expanding their home onto land that belongs to a neighbor. It may be necessary to go to court to prevent a project from moving forward or to demand that a property owner revise improvements so that they no longer cross the boundary onto a neighbor’s land.

Just ignoring a neighbor’s decision to overstep a boundary could be a major mistake. They could eventually lay claim to the property that they misappropriated. Adverse possession laws sometimes allow one party to change the ownership of land after years of open use of the property. Boundary violations can also impact the resale value of someone’s property even if the encroaching neighbor doesn’t try to secure legal ownership of part of a neighbor’s parcel.

Due to all of these considerations, taking legal action is sometimes necessary to protect what someone has previously invested in real property.