If you have a good relationship with your neighbor, the exact placement of your property boundaries may not matter that much. Both of you may collect the leaves or mow the grass that is close to the boundary lines, depending on which of you does yard work first.
However, if either of you wants to put in a fence, expand your driveway or add a new wing to your house, suddenly the exact location of the boundary line becomes more important. Many previously happy neighborly relationships turned sour quickly over disputes regarding boundary lines.
How can you potentially settle a boundary dispute with your neighbor?
Review the property records
The documents from when you purchased your property will include a legal description. Depending on how old your legal description is, it may or may not include language that you can easily decipher.
Some people can determine from reading that legal description exactly where the boundary line falls and resolve the dispute with their neighbor. Others may struggle to make sense of the complicated language used or may find that their documents conflict with their neighbor’s records. What happens then?
You can bring in a surveyor
Surveyors are professionals who can read legal descriptions and establish exactly where the edge of a property is. They have the education as the specialized tools necessary to officially mark the edge of your property. They also carry professional insurance in case they make a mistake.
You and your neighbor may agree to split the cost of a surveyor, or you may each hire your own if the dispute becomes serious.
You may have to go to court
If your neighbor won’t respect your legal description or the report provided by the surveyor, they may interfere in your attempts to improve your own property or move forward with their development plans even though they affect your property.
Sometimes, you may have to go to court over a boundary dispute to force your neighbor to change their plans are to accept the current boundary placement. You may be able to stop construction on a neighbor’s project or get court permission to move forward with your own projects.
Understanding the steps to take during the boundary dispute can help protect you as a residential real estate owner.