The movies often depict interactions with neighbors as either friendly and cooperative or conflictive and tumultuous. While dealing with a bad or nuisance neighbor is certainly not unheard of, it is possible to encounter a property dispute with a neighbor you have no issue with. This is often the case with encroachment, and property owners may need to take legal action to ensure their property rights are protected when an encroachment is discovered.
What is encroachment?
When it comes to real estate disputes, an encroachment refers to a situation where another property owner has something on their property that intrudes on or over your property. This could happen in a variety of situations.
For example, an encroachment could occur when a neighbor builds a shed or a porch on their property and it goes over the property line into your property. It could also occur with vegetation. Such as when large tree branches hang over into the neighboring property, a large plant grows over the property line or landscaping goes over the property line.
Similar to trespassing, there are civil actions that could be taken to address the invasion of personal real property. Minor encroachments happen rather frequently and often do not require a legal action to remedy them. However, when a severe encroachment occurs, interfering with a property owner’s right to quiet enjoyment of their land, legal action might be the best course to take.
If a survey of the land proves that an encroachment occurred, there are several courses of action you could take. If possible, you could have the encroachment removed. If such action cannot easily be completed, an alternative arrangement could be established.
This could look like providing the neighbor with written permission or a revocable license to use your property. Doing this will help prevent a later claim of adverse possession. Finally, the portion of the land encroached on could be sold.
This real estate dispute could easily develop into a complex matter. As such, it is important that you consider your legal rights and options to ensure your property rights are protected. Furthermore, it could help avoid having a negative relationship with a neighbor.