Boundary disputes are common among property owners who neighbor each other. As a property owner, it is important to understand how to navigate a boundary dispute in order to resolve the matter amicably.
One of the best ways to start the process is by fully understanding the type of dispute at hand.
What are the most common boundary issues?
The type of problem you have will have a lot to do with your individual circumstances. Common boundary disputes include:
- Access disputes: Issues with land access arise when a property owner needs access to the neighboring owner’s property—for instance, using a neighbor’s driveway to access your house or as a parking lot for your business customers. In that case, your neighbor may feel like you are infringing on their property rights.
- Lot line disputes: When a landowner surveys their property for purposes of moving ahead with a building project or for refinancing, and they realize the lot line is not where they previously believed it was, it may give rise to a boundary dispute. Such disputes often center around a misconception about the lot line, which is brought to light after a survey.
- Fence, landscaping, or outbuilding disputes: These kinds of disputes arise when a landowner claims that their neighbor’s fence, landscape, or outbuilding crosses the boundary line. It is almost similar to a lot line dispute, but it comes with the additional challenge of what to do with the improperly allocated items.
- Adverse possession claims: By law, if a person uses a neglected property openly and continuously without the owner’s consent for a considerable time, then they may lay claim to it. If your neighbor’s been using part of your property for a vegetable garden for the last 20 years, for example, that could lead to an adverse possession claim.
Resolving your boundary dispute
When resolving a boundary dispute. You can either engage directly with your neighbor to find common ground or use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Litigation is usually a last resort.
At the end of it all, protecting your legal rights is the most crucial bit if you are involved in a boundary dispute. Learning more about what the law says will help you navigate your case and anticipate any issues that may arise along the way.