Humans can be territorial like a wild beast when it comes to a property line. Sometimes, in spite a person’s best efforts to be a good neighbor, property dispute arise especially when there is a change of ownership to a property. Neighbors sometimes argue over property boundaries, which can get out of control and cause more problems. Boundary disputes can be costly as well and sometimes the cost of dispute far outweigh the value of the property being disputed. We cannot always avoid these conflicts, but the following information will help solve problems and avoid problems with your neighbors.
Measurements made at the time of purchase of a property should reflect the boundaries. Before erecting a fence over a dividing line, an updated measurement should be requested to determine the exact boundaries. This may be impossible in some cases due to the age of ownership or the writing of the deed. Some ancient scriptures may contain legal descriptions such as “52 feet from the bend in the creek” on a portion of land that now has a dry basin where a stream once existed.
Demand to determine the validity of a title
In certain situations, even when a measure can not resolve a boundary dispute, an owner may initiate a lawsuit to determine the validity of the title and request that the judge dictates the dividing lines of the property. In general, this procedure is more expensive than a measurement because of court fees.
Agreement on boundaries
Another alternative for boundary conflicts is for owners of adjacent properties to agree on a physical object, such as a fence, which will serve as a dividing line between properties. Then, each owner signs a deed in favor of the other where he grants the neighbor the domain of any territory that is on the other side of the agreed limit.
If the disputed property has been used by a person who is not the owner for a certain number of years, the doctrine of an acquisitive prescription may apply. State laws vary from time to time. But usually, possession by the non-owner must be open, notorious and subject to a claim of right. In some states, this person must also pay taxes on the occupied property. Any permitted use of the property eliminates the ability to claim the purchasing prescription.
Disputes Between Neighbors: Consult a lawyer
Considering that you may get stuck with your neighbors for quite some time, it is advisable that issues will be settled amicably. However, if you can no longer resolve the dispute, a property dispute attorney can help you ease the stress of these conflicts and negotiate an acceptable settlement with your neighbors, or make sure your rights are properly protected in any lawsuit that may arise.
Try to consult a real estate attorney in case you have a dispute with a neighbor that you can not resolve on your own.