You own a piece of property. Maybe it’s a quarter-acre plot that your home sits on, or maybe it’s a vast estate, ranch or farm that stretches for acres. Wherever and whatever your property consists of, it will have specific boundaries, and you will most likely have neighbors. That means there is always the chance that you may have an issue with property boundaries. A property boundary is an invisible but very real line that legally defines where your property ends and your neighbors’ properties begin. If those lines are not naturally defined by a road, river, or some other established physical boundary, there can always be a question or disagreement as to where that line is, and sometimes those arguments lead to a need for real estate litigation.
Disputes over property boundaries usually start with one neighbor deciding to make some kind of change or improvement such as erecting a fence or planting a tree. The best way to avoid an argument about this type of action is to check in with your neighbor first to make sure you both agree on the boundary, but if you haven’t done that or you find that there is a dispute, you need to know what your next step should be.
Disputes can be based on who has used the property regardless of actual ownership, previously granted consent to use the property that has been withdrawn, or a simple misunderstanding of where the property line is. If you find that there is a disagreement, the best thing to do is to retrieve copies of your property survey and other legal documents to see if you can easily find the answer. This often is all you need to clear up the issue, but if you don’t understand the documents or there is still a dispute, the next step is probably to hire a surveyor to provide you with a straightforward answer.
If even a property survey doesn’t smooth the way between you and your neighbor, your next step is to hire either a mediator or an attorney to resolve the issue. You may be able to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution or, failing that, you may need to turn to real estate litigation in court. If you need to move somebody off of your property or prevent them from building on your property, you can sue for ejectment or continuing trespass, or you can sue for a declaratory judgment, which puts the decision in the hands of a judge.
Whichever route you choose, an experienced attorney can help. Contact us today for help with your real estate litigation issue.