A property dispute can quickly escalate, making it very uncomfortable in your own home. The problem is that once the lines are drawn most people do not want to give any ground for fear of being perceived as weak. In fact, giving a little can help you to reach a compromise that will restore your relationship with your neighbor, and make you feel good about going home again.
If you refuse to back down then the most likely outcome is an expensive legal dispute which you probably don’t want.
Fortunately, there are 5 steps you can take to avoid your property dispute reaching the courts.
- Know The Facts
Most disputes arise when one party builds something on the other one’s land. This may be a cage of erecting a fence, or it could be some decking or even a shed. The point is that each person will believe that part of the structure is on their land.
Before you can do anything you need to contact a service avoidance specialist. They will survey your land and verify the presence of any utilities under it, allowing you to plan around them if you build anything. More importantly, as part of the survey, they will provide you with your boundary lines as filed with the state.
This will allow you to ascertain if the structure really has crossed the boundary line or not. If it has you can talk pleasantly to your neighbor and give them a copy of your survey.
- Ignore It
You need to consider the option of ignoring the issue. If the neighbor has erected a fence that runs half a foot inside your land is it really going to cause you an issue or heartache? It may be that you are better to accept it and move on, rather than causing a lot of tension for no real purpose.
There are specialist negotiators/mediators that you can contact. These will sit down with you and your neighbor to discuss the issue and look at all the facts. They cannot make a decision and enforce it, but they can try to get both sides to reach a mutually acceptable compromise.
In fact, in some states, this is a legal requirement before court action can happen.
- The Money Option
If you are the one who has built the fence in the wrong place, allegedly, then you can offer a financial solution to your neighbor. This may be a small fee to lease the land from them or simply purchase the piece of land in question. This will be substantially cheaper than court action and can be a great way to resolve the issue without having to tear down the fence and start again.
- The Legal Option
The final option is to have a legal contract drawn up which acknowledges that the structure is built on your neighbors land but that neither party needs to do anything about it. This confirms who owns the land but also acknowledges that it makes no real difference to your estate, allowing the problem to be addressed in the future; when the fence needs to be replaced.