Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

How can you prevent property boundary disputes?

Usually, neighbors get along. Boundaries are set up to make that happen. You stay in your home and yard and your neighbor does the same. What happens when a boundary is in dispute, though? That's when things get contentious.

Some neighbors are peaceful and happy to work with each other to resolve the situation. Some require mediation or arbitration to discuss the issues. Others require a full-blown court case. Of course, disputes can't be prevented entirely, but there are a few things you can do to prevent them in most cases.

First, start out by having a property survey performed. This needs to be done when you purchase a property. At that point, you'll have distinct property lines. If you have lived at your home for a significant amount of time, consider having an updated survey performed, especially if you want to install a fence or lay down a foundation for a building.

If a survey doesn't help resolve your case, you may want to go through a quiet title lawsuit. This is where a judge determines the boundary lines of the property for you. This is more expensive than a survey, but what a judge decides is legally binding.

There are some cases where the neighbor's use of the land over time may end up resulting in him or her owning or continuing to be able to use that property. If you're not sure about this or other factors in your case, your attorney can help you understand how the law applies. In most situations, a survey or quiet title lawsuit is enough to take care of any dispute.

Source: FindLaw, "Boundary Disputes," accessed April 07, 2017

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