There is an old saying that “Good fences make for good neighbors.” There is a reason that this saying has stood the test of time, it is true. Boundary disputes are a lot more common than people realize. Part of the reason for is this that the information written on the deed may not be accurate. Because it was not corrected, years and years may go by before the problem is discovered.
- Issues surrounding boundary disputes are varied. Many times, one person will want to put up a fence or tear down a tree, who owns the land in either case? That may seem like a simple question to answer but if often more challenging. Even when your neighbors seem like they are great friends, the issues that arise when there are problems establishing the accurate boundaries of your property can be difficult to work out. Here are some tips to help you deal with your issues:
- Stay calm. This advice works as well when it comes to settling boundary disputes as it does with any situation that has the potential to get ugly. If you start out angry, your conversations with your neighbors will not go in any good way. At least start out in a calm mental space.
- See if you can talk things out with your neighbor. You never know, until you talk to them, if the issue is a simple case of being a misunderstanding. If your neighbor starts to build on your property, if you start off mad, before you talk to them, you can be making a mountain out of a mole hill. Have a friendly chat about your issue and see if you cannot work things out in a friendly manner without getting anyone, such as real estate attorneys, involved.
- Set up a meeting in a neutral space. Ask if they have some time to talk about the matter and work out something where you can get together someplace that is totally neutral. If there is a local cafe or other public place, that will work better than meeting in either of your homes. You want each of you to be as comfortable as possible.
- Be in a mindset to compromise. There may be some middle ground that you can find with your neighbor regarding your boundary dispute. Even if you do not walk away with everything you want, this is a good way to avoid the stress and expense of going to court. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
- Bring in a neutral expert. If you find that you simply cannot see eye to eye with your neighbor, it may be time to bring in a surveyor to look over your situation. If you can still be friendly with your neighbor, you should try to work together to find one who can do the job without exhibiting any bias for either of you. If anyone knows how to settle a boundary dispute, it is a qualified surveyor. They have tons of experience in these cases.
- Think about hiring a lawyer. If you hire a surveyor and they come out and find that you are in the right but your neighbor refuses to budge, you may have to take your real estate dispute to a lawyer. They may recommend property dispute mediation or you may find that you have to take the neighbor to court. Now, even if you are right, if the amount of property in question is very small (say a few inches), you may not want to go to the expense of hiring a real estate law firm. The only reason to sue in cases where there is not much at stake is to keep your neighbor from doing more to take advantage of the situation.
Hiring a lawyer is never anything people want to do when they are dealing with their neighbors. The problem is that once you find that you have a boundary dispute with a neighbor, you may lose your chance to do something about it if you let it go. The good news is that there are ways to deal with the issues and to work out something between you and your neighbors.