What should I do if my neighbor encroaches on my real estate property? This is a question that many property owners ask themselves when they find out their neighbor has been using part of their property. Encroachment can be a serious issue that can lead to legal disputes if not resolved promptly.
As a property owner, you’ll agree that it is quite frustrating. The good news is that there is a way to resolve this without blowing things out of proportion.
Identify the problem
The first step in addressing an encroachment issue is to identify the problem. This means determining the exact location of the encroachment and the extent of the intrusion onto your property. Once you’ve identified the encroachment, you should review your property documents, including the property survey, to determine the exact boundaries of your property. This will give you the assurance you need as you tackle the issue.
Speak with your neighbor
Once you confirm your suspicions, the next step you should take is to talk to your neighbor. There is a possibility that they were unaware of using your property or mistakenly believed it was theirs. If your neighbor is reasonable, they may be willing to remove an encroaching structure or pay for the portion of your property they are using.
Send a demand letter
If talking to your neighbor doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to send a demand letter. This formal letter outlines your claim to the property and demands that your neighbor remove the encroachment. The letter should include a deadline for your neighbor to respond before you take legal action.
File a lawsuit
You may need to file a lawsuit to resolve the issue, if all else fails. This should be a last resort, as litigation can be time-consuming, expensive and emotionally draining. However, if your neighbor is clearly adamant, a lawsuit may be your only option.
If you suspect that your neighbor has encroached onto your property, there are steps you can take to resolve the problem amicably. However, if your neighbor isn’t cooperative, you can seek legal guidance to better assess whether it is time to take legal action.