When you become a homeowner you may find yourself involved in some form of boundary dispute along the way. Issues surrounding boundary lines can be small or big depending on the disagreement and the people involved.
In one example of a boundary dispute one neighbor planted some trees that were tall enough to block their neighbor’s water view. In this case there was the issue of the view loss as well as a potential decrease in property value because the view was impaired. When these types of boundary line disputes become heated it can be challenging for both parties to reach an agreement.
Boundary disputes are common and happen each day across the country. Most of the time, these disputes can be resolved if the property owners communicate with one another and are willing to concede some things to reach an agreement.
The most common causes for boundary disputes include:
- Entering neighbor’s property – When you live close to your neighbor there may come a time when you need to cross their property in order to complete repairs on your own home. This action can make people uncomfortable and potentially cause an issue if the neighbor does not want you to access their property to conduct the necessary repairs.
- Sharing costs – When there is a fence or something shared by the two properties that needs repair it can raise a disagreement about who is responsible for the cost. In this case it is best to consult legal property documents to determine where the responsibility falls.
- Walls you share – Some condos and townhouses have shared walls. This means that work you want to do to a wall in your home may involve you disturbing the wall in your neighbor’s home.
- Shared drive – Some homes share one driveway. This means that parking has to be organized and agreed upon. Driveway maintenance such as snow plowing has to be a shared chore or cost to avoid any disagreements.
- Plants and trees – When the branches of a tree hang onto your neighbor’s property or the roots of a tree spread onto their property it can be the start of a boundary dispute. It is within a homeowner’s right to request that plants or trees be trimmed at branch level or at the roots if the encroach on a neighbor’s property.
Most boundary disputes should be handled privately and reach an agreement both parties are satisfied with. Neighbors are typically here to stay so a big argument should be avoided. However emotions run high where property is involved and there are some cases where a resolution cannot be made between the two property owners.
If you cannot reach an amicable agreement you may seek the services of a professional dispute resolution method. This is a way to talk through a resolution that is ultimately the best choice for all and avoids further legal action.
If dispute resolution does not work the next step is legal action. Solving the problem in court will focus only on the property line facts and not take personal emotions into consideration.
Taking a boundary line issue to court should be a last resort. It is best to try and reach an agreement with your neighbor especially considering you will have to continue to live next to them after the dispute is resolved.