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Boundary Disputes

Neighbors sometimes get into arguments over property boundaries. These arguments can escalate. They can cause additional problems. We can't always prevent these disputes. But the following information will help you resolve issues. It will help you avoid problems with your neighbors. Laws related to real estate can be confusing.

Sometimes, consulting with your homeowners association might not be enough. Sometimes, doing things on your own won't work. Continue reading to get clarity on laws related to neighbor disputes over boundaries. If you still have questions after reading this article, contact an attorney for more help. Laws related to land use can be hard to understand. It's difficult to know what to do when you're facing legal action from your neighbor. It's also difficult to know when to take legal action. It's hard to know how to deal with real estate litigation.

Property Surveys

Surveys done at the time of any property purchase should reflect the boundary lines. Before erecting a fence on a boundary line, order an updated survey to determine the accurate boundary lines. You don't want to allege that your neighbor's property is your own accidentally. You might put up an expensive fence but then have to remove it. You might even have to pay damages to your neighbor. If your neighbor files a lawsuit, you could end up shouldering a large bill to settle the lawsuit, or you might pay out damages.

Such surveys may be impossible in some cases. Remember that the property's age can cause confusion in reviews of past surveys. Some older deeds can contain legal descriptions such as "52 feet from the bend in the stream" on a piece of land. But that referenced stream might now only be a dry riverbed where a stream once existed.

See also Top 10 Reasons to Have Your Property Surveyed to learn more.

Quiet Title Lawsuits

In certain situations, a property owner may file a quiet title lawsuit. This might occur when a survey will not resolve a boundary dispute. A request may be needed and placed before a judge to determine the boundary lines of the property. This procedure is generally more expensive than a survey due to the legal filing fees. These can involve title searches. These can be hard to conduct on your own. It's important to consult with an attorney if you need more help.

To learn more about land titles, see What Does Title Mean?.

Agreement on Boundary Lines

Another alternative in a boundary dispute is for adjacent property owners to agree on a physical object. Such a physical object could be a fence. This could serve as the boundary line between the properties. Each owner would then sign a quitclaim deed to the other. This would grant the neighbor ownership to any land on the other side of the line agreed upon. You'll always want to check your city's zoning charts when making decisions about an object that can serve as a boundary. You and your neighbor do not want to accidentally use an object that belongs to the city, for example.

See Property Boundaries, Lines, and Neighbors FAQ for more details and clarity on this issue.

Adverse Possession

If the piece of property in dispute has been used by someone other than the owner for a number of years, the doctrine of adverse possession may apply. State laws vary with respect to time requirements. But typically, the possession by the non-owner must be open, notorious, and under a claim of right. In some states, the non-owner must also pay the property taxes on the occupied land. A permissive use of property eliminates the ability to claim adverse possession. This area of real estate law can be a particularly confusing one. You'll need to review the laws of your state to verify them.

See Adverse Possession: Continuous Trespassers' Rights for more details.

Need More Help? Contact a Lawyer

Whatever your issue, boundary dispute issues can be hard to handle. Whether you're facing an issue related to an encroachment, an easement, liens, or an ejectment, boundary line disputes are a difficult area of law to navigate on your own. Contact a real estate attorney for help. They can assist you in resolving your property line disputes or any legal boundary issues you may be facing. They can help you reach a solution for your legal issues and provide legal advice. Working with an experienced real estate attorney is usually the way to go.

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