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Glossary: Shared Boundaries

When negotiating boundaries or settling a boundary dispute with a neighbor, it helps to understand the terminology that applies to shared boundaries. For example, "consideration" in this context refers to money or other compensation given in exchange for permission to enter or use another's property.  

Air space right. The granted right to use the air space above real estate.

Boundary The separating or dividing line or mark between two adjoining properties.

Consideration. Money, right, or other thing of value given in exchange for entering into the property agreement.

Dominant estate. The land that benefits from an easement on a servient estate.

Easement. The right to use the property of another person.

Easement by necessity. The right to use another's property that comes about when that person grants property and either the grantor's property or the grantor's property and a third person's property cuts off access of the granted land to any road.

Easement by prescription. A method of acquiring the title to real estate by way of personal continued use for a long period of time.

Easement of access. The right of a landowner to cross over another person's land in order to access the street.

Environmental indemnity. Part of an easement in which the parties agree that the person to whom an easement is granted will indemnify and hold harmless the person granting the easement with regard to any environmental liability caused by the grantee's use of the property.

Improvement. An addition to real estate that improves its value.

Lateral support. The right of a property owner to have his or her land supported by the land that lies next to it.

Monument. The indicator of the boundary lines and corners on real property that takes the form of a pillar, marker, stake, or post, or a natural object such as a tree or boulder.

Nuisance. The unlawful or unreasonable use of one's own property in a manner that causes such inconvenience, annoyance, and discomfort as to injure or damage the rights of another person or of the public in general.

Partition. Dividing real estate between co-owners, such as joint tenants, into individually owned portions.

Restrictive covenant. An agreement about the permitted and prohibited uses of the property.

Right-of-way. The right to pass over or across the property of another person.

Riparian rights. The rights of the property owner whose land is on the bank of a river, stream, or other watercourse to use the water for any beneficial purpose.

Servient estate. The land that is burdened by an easement.

Spite fence. A fence with no useful purpose that a property owner erects and maintains for the sole purpose of annoying his or her neighbor by obstructing the neighbor's view or access to light.

Subjacent support. The right of a property owner to have his or her land supported by the land that lies under it.

Survey. To ascertain where the boundaries, corners, and dividing lines are on a piece of real estate by using measurements and distances; also, the name for the map, plat, or statement of the results of a survey.

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