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When A Neighborly Disagreement Becomes A Legal Matter: Tips For Managing A Difficult Situation

Boundary disputes are a common cause of stress between neighbors in both rural and urban areas. These issues sometimes crop up unexpectedly over simple actions such as the location of a new fence or issues with a tree or shed.

Boundary line disputes can also occur when one party or another is in the process of selling their property and a question arises regarding lot size, dimensions, or deed information. If your neighbor has just notified you of a problem with the existing boundary line between their property and yours, this information can help you determine your next move. 

Order a new survey for your property 

When approached by a neighbor claiming encroachment issues, whether yours or theirs, it is important to gather the most accurate information possible before making any decision as to how you should proceed. In most instances, this will mean having a new survey performed by a properly licensed surveying firm.

Since it can take a few weeks to receive the finished survey, homeowners should consider informing their neighbor that a survey has been ordered and that they will provide them a copy as soon as it is completed and will then work with them to solve any problem found. 

Review your title insurance documentation 

While awaiting the survey's completion, homeowners should review the title insurance documentation they received when buying their property. This information can provide information that may be helpful, such as existing easements or deed issues that may be responsible for the current boundary dispute. 

Strive to keep the relationship agreeable 

Even if the relationship has previously been agreeable, boundary line issues can be stressful and result in arguments and strained interactions. Homeowners in this situation may want to consider having a frank discussion with their neighbors to see if they can work together to gather the information needed to solve the problem in a manner that will be agreeable to both parties. 

Discuss potential options with a real estate attorney

Homeowners who find that they are dealing with a neighbor who is being unreasonable should immediately seek the legal advice of a reputable real estate legal services firm. In addition to accessing and reviewing all existing information regarding the boundary between the parties involved in the dispute, an attorney specializing in real estate law will be able to help the homeowner understand their best options for addressing the problem and how they might be able to settle them through appropriate legal action. 

Representation by a real estate attorney will also allow the homeowner to step back and allow all discussions and negotiations with the neighbor to go through the attorney, which can help to reduce the stress of the situation. Reach out to a law firm to get started.