How do you settle a boundary dispute with a neighbor?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2022 | Residential Real Estate |

Even if you have lived in your home for years, you never know when a boundary dispute might suddenly arise with your neighbors. For example, given that you both simply mow the lawns near your boundary area and have never thought to make any other improvements on the property, you never had to affirm where the boundary between your properties actually fell.

However, now that you want to put in a pole barn or they hope to install fencing, it has become clear that the two of you do not agree about the actual boundary between your properties. How do you resolve a disagreement about where your property ends and your neighbor’s property begins?

Review your deeds

When you sign a deed establishing your ownership of the property a piece of real estate, there will be a legal description included in the documents. This legal description is the verbal representation of the property you purchased. It will typically describe the location of the property and how much area it covers.

Depending on where you live and how old your property is, it could be rather difficult to decipher the legal description on your own in some cases. If you cannot figure out the boundary clearly based on your mortgage paperwork, you may then want to talk to a surveyor.

Have a professional mark the boundaries

Surveyors have both the education to make sense of complex legal description language and the equipment to properly measure land. A surveyor can come out and place markers to establish the boundaries of your property. Those markers will then influence what happens with any projects on your land or your neighbor’s.

Ignoring encroachment is dangerous

While allowing your neighbor to install a fence that falls a few feet over the property line may not seem like a big deal, it could effectively deprive you of that land in the future. Once they have tacitly assumed ownership of the property, they could eventually go to court and request that the title records for the property reflect the established boundaries based on the fence that they installed and that you ignored.

Maintaining and enforcing your boundaries is one of the only ways to protect the investment you have made in your real estate holdings.