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What are your options if a neighbor encroaches on your property?

There's nothing like a fence, wall, hedge, tree or structure that encroaches on someone's land to bring out the worst in people. An encroachment is defined as anything that intrudes on someone else's property.

Land has value. We want to be able to use every square inch we've paid for. If a neighbor puts up a fence that's on your side of the border between your properties, you may rightly feel that your quality of life is compromised.

You may remember the incident where U.S. Senator Rand Paul was attacked by his neighbor after the man reportedly saw the senator put a pile of brush on his lawn. Paul suffered multiple fractures in the attack. His neighbor reached a plea agreement after being charged with the felony of assaulting a congressperson.

Many people aren't bothered by a relatively small encroachment. They decide it's not worthwhile to damage goodwill with their neighbors.

If the encroachment is substantial, however, there are steps you can take short of going to court. You can ask your neighbor to move the encroachment. If that's not possible or if your neighbor is insistent on leaving it in place, you may suggest that he or she pay you for the amount of your property being used. You may decide to just give your neighbor permission to use the property.

If you choose one of these resolutions, it's a good idea to put an official document in place. You should consult with a Tennessee real estate attorney -- particularly if you sell your neighbor a section of your land.

If you want your land back and your neighbor won't budge, you may need to go to court. You'll have to provide evidence that you own the land and that your neighbor is improperly using it.

It may seem like this would be an easy win if you can prove those two things. However, if your neighbor has been using this section of your property for some time, the court may allow continued use. Win or lose, you're likely to expend a good deal of time and money and will likely irreparably damage any neighborly goodwill.

If you have a case of encroachment that you can't resolve on your own, an attorney can help you determine what your best options are and what your likelihood of success is if you take legal action.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can You Do About an Encroachment?," accessed May 16, 2018

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