The Ultimate Guide To Resolving Land Disputes Legally

Are you and one of your neighbors having an uncomfortable land dispute? Sometimes it happens to the gentlest of souls, and it can break neighborly friendships new and old. You may strongly feel as though you are correct; however, there are important steps that you need to take to legally determine which one of you is correct. The following information will aid you in resolving the dispute legally and with dignity.

Obtain a land survey.

A land survey is the favored method for determining where property boundaries lie. Some people residing on older properties may get surprises at the end of land surveys, especially if the original survey was performed in "yesteryear" or was never actually completed. For example, the homes in question could have been originally owned by one family who built homes and eventually sold the land and homes together. They may not have cared much about designating land plots since it was "family land." Contact a company like Burget & Associates Inc to have a land survey done.

Request to have land markers placed at the end of the survey.

In some jurisdictions, the placement of markers is required by law. You may live in an area that allows you to choose. It is wise to get the markers in your case because of the ongoing dispute. The markers may be made from iron or wood, and sometimes they are painted in bright colors or have bright fabric tied to them symbolizing their significance. 

Politely inform your neighbor that you would like to speak with them about the dispute.

You and your neighbor can review the placement of the stakes. You may be able to discuss a resolution especially if one of you has property such as a fence or shed that is legally on the other person's property. One example of a resolution would be agreeing to sell a portion of the land to the other person rather than requesting that they remove their fence or shed, which may have monetary and sentimental value. 

Be prepared for the worst response.

It is possible that your neighbor may still refuse to see things your way especially if you were right and they were wrong. Do not engage in shouting even if your neighbor becomes aggressive and does something illegal such as remove the survey stakes. Instead, you will need to make a police report if you feel threatened. You may also need to hire a real estate lawyer who can explain legal actions you can take. For example, you and your neighbor may be able to resolve your dispute by working with a mediator. 

Document all future actions between you and your neighbor pending legal resolution.

Buy a journal for the purpose of documentation. Include dates, verbal statements, whether police were called, and any potential witnesses that were present. Ensure you take photographs or video obscene behaviors such as removing property line stakes. Keep receipts for repairs or replacement bills you incur due to your neighbor's behavior.