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My neighbor is encroaching on my property. What should I do?

You’ve probably heard the adage, “good fences make good neighbors.” And for most home and landowners, this is absolutely true. However, it is not uncommon to have a neighbor who does not respect borders. When a neighbor unjustifiably encroaches on your property, you may have a boundary dispute on your hands to deal with.

Basically, boundary or property line disputes happen when neighbors cannot agree on where one’s property starts and ends. This can be triggered by a number of factors such as a change of property ownership, discrepancies in the mapping methods or lack of proper property divide documentation. Here are two steps you can take if you are caught up in a boundary dispute with your neighbor.

Understand the boundary dispute in question

Start off by having a sound understanding of the genesis and the nature of the boundary dispute in question. You may want to bring on board a professional to shed light on who is actually encroaching on the other party’s property. Next, find out how much land is being encroached upon as well as how long the encroachment has gone on. A survey, an appraisal as well as a title search can help you answer these questions.

Talk to your neighbor

Sometimes, the encroachment or the cause of the dispute can be small enough that the issue is best resolved through mediation rather than heading to court. Keep in mind that the cost of litigation can add up so quickly. Additionally, the matter can drag on for years, meaning that your activity on the property may be limited while the matter is still in court. For instance, you cannot use the property as collateral for the duration that it has an active boundary dispute. So if you and your neighbor are on good terms, try to settle the matter out of court.

Boundary disputes can be quite frustrating and confusing. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while litigating a boundary dispute with your neighbor.