Real property has commanded a premium price in recent years. Every square foot of interior space and acreage increases the overall value of someone’s real property. Many people will act to protect their investment or enhance it by adding improvements, like fencing or barns.
Changes to an existing property often lead to disputes between neighbors. It is common, especially in rural areas, for people to rely on unofficial boundary lines to establish where their properties begin and end. When someone wants to install a fence or expand their kitchen, disagreements about where the boundary falls can quickly complicate the situation.
How can people resolve a boundary issue with a neighbor?
Refer to their deeds
The deed that someone signs when taking possession of a property includes a legal description. That legal description will explain the size of the parcel and where the boundaries fall. In some cases, people may be able to review their deeds and establish the location of the boundary line between their property and a neighbor’s property. Other times, the description of the property will be hard to decipher, which means people may require professional support.
Bring in surveyors
A surveyor is a licensed real estate professional who has training and special equipment. They use their resources to interpret property records and determine the exact boundaries of someone’s parcel. A surveyor will put in posts or other markers that clearly establish where one property ends and the other begins. Their assistance can often help establish whether a proposed building expansion will cross a boundary line or whether the placement of a fence is inappropriate.
Take the matter to court
Sometimes, even with the input of a surveyor, property owners are unable to settle a disagreement with their neighbors. It is sometimes necessary to take a boundary dispute to civil court. Judges can settle the matter and may even order the removal of improvements that violate the boundary between the properties, typically at the expense of the party who overstepped the boundary.
Many people find navigating such conflicts to be relatively challenging. Having an appropriate plan, and seeking legal guidance when necessary, can make a big difference for those dealing with a boundary dispute with a neighbor.