Property boundary disputes can be expensive and time consuming, not to mention damaging for relationships between neighbors who once got along well.
Survey and land records can provide invaluable information regarding the location and history of property lines, which may help resolve a dispute more efficiently than litigation. Nonetheless, for optimal results it is always preferable to collaborate with your neighbor through mediation and negotiation processes.
1. Verify the Boundary Line
Property boundary disputes can quickly turn sour, so it is always wiser to reach an amicable resolution as soon as possible. The longer that a dispute goes unresolved, the deeper each party becomes entrenched and more contentious it becomes.
McDaniels suggests that just because someone pushes back against your boundaries or seems hostile is not necessarily evidence they are correct – they could simply be shocked to learn you’ve set limits and require time to adapt.
Historical records, deeds and old maps can provide insight into property lines and disputed areas. A professional surveyor can conduct an in-depth investigation to pinpoint the precise location of any boundary lines; if one party appears to be encroaching upon another’s land through unlawful means they may be entitled to claim adverse possession.
Avoiding boundary disputes whenever possible; however, should one arise, approaching your neighbor with calm communication is key to keeping tensions down and tension-free. Communicate about what’s at stake while seeking permission to build something on shared property (like fencing or walls ).
Bring any property-line documents you possess and discuss them with your neighbour to determine whether there was an inconsistency on either side or whether your neighbour is trying to gain ownership through adverse possession, which is illegal in most jurisdictions. It may save both of you time and money from hiring an attorney later to resolve their disagreement in court.
3. Explore Compromise
Achieved agreement by both sides in a boundary dispute can often prove far more efficient than having it decided by a judge. Litigation can often be avoided for property boundary disputes as this lengthy, costly, and bitter process could often be resolved amicably through compromise.
Litigation involves six streams of information coming to a judge who must then make sense of it all, weigh opinions against one another and decide which pieces of evidence are relevant or irrelevant – something which can be extremely stressful for all involved parties involved in litigation proceedings.
An effective mediation process should require each party to share the history of their dispute and then identify areas in common, so they can see that their differences may not be as substantial.
When boundary disputes between neighbors arise, communication and negotiation are the best ways to settle it – these methods tend to be much cheaper than legal battles over property lines.
However, when in a boundary dispute with someone who doesn’t want to work with you, negotiations can become more challenging than usual. It is essential that when discussing differences with neighbors, kindness and consideration must be shown both ways – even when disagreements exist between you.
An experienced mediator can assist in working through differences and finding an amicable settlement that benefits all parties involved. Unlike some alternative dispute resolution methods, mediation leaves decision making up to each party involved – this helps avoid situations in which one side gains an unfair advantage over the other.
5. Consult an Attorney
An attorney can be of great assistance in helping to settle boundary disputes when necessary, reviewing your property line survey and offering advice about next steps; in addition to helping draft documents reflecting any verbal agreements reached between neighbors.
Alternative dispute resolution methods should also be explored, as they tend to be both less expensive and stressful than going directly to court. A neutral mediator can assist both parties in working through their differences to reach an amicable agreement that serves both of them equally; this method may prove particularly helpful when dialogue has failed to produce results. A lawyer can also provide legal advice as well as represent you if necessary in court, providing invaluable protection of property owner rights.