New York is experiencing a construction boom, with new buildings going up all over the city. But, as construction heats up, so does the possibility of disputes between adjoining landowners. One common real estate dispute arises when a new structure encroaches onto
another owner’s land. When this happens, the owner of the adjoining property has several remedies available under New York law.
In some cases, the property dispute may result from a disagreement over who actually owns the land in question. If this is the case, the party claiming encroachment can bring a quiet title action. The plaintiff commences the action by filing a complaint and serving it on all parties known to claim an interest in the property. The other parties have the opportunity to come forward and present evidence in support of their own claims. The court then issues a judgment that establishes who has valid title to the property.
If clear title is established, the plaintiff can bring an ejectment action and seek an injunction compelling the encroaching neighbor to remove the structure. Under New York law, the court has the option of awarding monetary damages in lieu of an injunction.
In many cases it makes sense to try and negotiate a solution to the dispute with the other property owner. Real estate litigation can be expensive, and a negotiated solution can save the property owner some money in attorney fees and litigation costs. But, to negotiate effectively a property owner should be able to present a convincing argument that they would be successful if they went to court.
Source: Findlaw.com, “What Can You Do About an Encroachment?” accessed Sept. 13, 2015