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Common types of boundary disputes among neighboring properties

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Real Estate Law |

Most neighborhoods have fences or markers showing each property’s boundaries. Homeowners expect their property to be just for their use. So, when someone crosses over, disagreements are very likely. 

Boundary disputes between neighbors can happen for different reasons. Resolving them quickly before conflicts escalate into bigger issues or legal battles is beneficial. 

Here are four common types of boundary disputes between neighboring homeowners. 

Encroachment issues

Encroachment happens when a structure or fence on one property extends over the legal property line onto the neighbor’s land. This can occur due to inaccurate surveys, miscalculations during construction or a lack of clear property markers. 

Encroachments can lead to disputes over the affected land’s use and potential demands for removal or compensation. 

Disagreements over boundary line location

Neighbors sometimes disagree on exactly where the property line between their homes is located. This can happen because of: 

  • Old or incorrect property surveys 
  • Unclear deed descriptions of the property 
  • No visible markers showing the boundary 

The neighbors usually need to hire a licensed surveyor to resolve these disputes. The surveyor can determine and mark the exact property boundary lines. 

Easement disputes

An easement gives one property owner the right to use part of a neighbor’s land for a certain purpose. Common easements allow access to a driveway or utility lines. Disputes can happen when it’s unclear what the easement covers or if someone blocks the other’s easement rights. 

Adverse possession claims

Sometimes, a person may try to claim ownership of part of their neighbor’s property. This can happen due to two reasons. First, they have been openly using or occupying that area for many years. Second, the neighbor did not give permission and did not object to this use of their land.

These claims aim to gain legal title to property through long-term, unchallenged possession. 

Legally proving boundaries

Resolving boundary disputes is important to keeping good neighbor relationships. Negotiation is a good start. However, if talking doesn’t work, there are other legal options. Many disputing neighbors can file a quiet title lawsuit or seek a court order to remove encroachments. 

An experienced real estate attorney can offer valuable guidance during negotiation or litigation. They can review property records, hire surveyors, and explore all options to establish clear and legally enforceable property boundaries. 



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