Boundary Disputes Are Not Pleasant

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Arguments about your property boundaries are never pleasant – it’s you against your neighbors, after all.

Boundary disputes can take many forms: disagreements over the property lines, encroachments, fences, easements for right-of-way (like a joint driveway), trespass, adverse possession. Lawsuits may be filed, but hopefully not. (See Findlaw and for some additional basic information.)

Three Important Things to Remember

When dealing with boundary disputes, please remember three very important things:

  • Maintain your perspective. Yes, property and property rights are important. Your relationship with your neighbors may be inconvenient and unpleasant, at least until the disputes are solved. But it’s about property, not life and death. You don’t want you and your neighbors to be the Hatfields or McCoys.
  • If you cannot work it out directly with your neighbors, get a lawyer who wants to help your solve the problems in the least litigious way possible, and in a way that will save your neighborly relationship. Preferably me.
  • Do you best to insure that problems will never occur. When buying a home, obtain new surverys and good title reports from a reputable title agency. Remember that with a residential real estate purchase, if you don’t have a good contract and clear title, everything that comes later (like defects and cosmetic issues) may be irrelevant or moot. Again, get an attorney who understands these issues.

Hopefully you have good neighbors with whom you can work out any problems. No boundary problem is insurmountable if you approach it the right way.