Living next door to someone often comes with challenges, particularly if you cannot agree on where the line is between your property and theirs. Issues may arise if you check your property records and discover that your neighbor has built a fence or addition to their property on your land. In other cases, you yourself may have plans to build a fence or an addition to your home, but your project is stalled due to disagreement with your neighbor over boundary lines. In any case, it is important to settle disputes as quickly as possible, before they get out of hand.
The first step to settling a property dispute is to perform a title search and hire a surveyor to determine where the boundaries are. While a property survey may have been completed when you first purchased, an updated survey can be beneficial, particularly if you are planning to put up a fence or build an addition to your home. A real estate lawyer in your area can review your deed and help set up a survey to settle your dispute outside of the courtroom, if at all possible.
In cases where an updated survey is not possible, your real estate litigation attorney can help you file a quiet title lawsuit to have a judge decide where the boundary lines are. To avoid going to court, you and your neighbor may be able to agree on where the boundary line should be and build a fence on that line. Both of you will then sign quitclaim deeds, essentially saying that whatever is on your side of the fence is your property and visaversa.
If your neighbor has already encroached upon your property, your attorney can determine whether they are entitled to that portion of the land under the laws of adverse possession or an underlying easement. If this is not the case, you may be able to purchase the encroached upon land from your neighbor to change the boundaries and avoid court. However, in more complex cases, you and your attorney may have to go in front of a judge to settle the dispute.