How to Negotiate with a Neighbor Regarding a Boundary Dispute

A fenced house to draw a boundary

If your neighbor is using a parcel of your land, even a small thing like erecting a fence, you must act right away. Boundary lines are immensely crucial regarding land use. The main reason for this is that even a tiny encroachment on your property might lead to various consequences that you can’t foresee.

For example, if your neighbor built a new driveway or fence that encroaches on your land, even by a couple of inches, a title company might refuse to give your insurance if you want to sell your property.

Additionally, plenty of states enact laws that enable an individual using another individual’s property for a certain amount of time to obtain legal rights to remain using the property, or worse, under specific circumstances, obtain ownership of the property, warns an experienced real estate attorney in Denver, CO.

Working with Your Neighbor

As with everything in life, being calm and collected in the midst of a distressing situation might pay off in the end, and this also applies when trying to settle a boundary dispute with your neighbor. Inform your neighbor of the encroachment the minute you discover it.

Perhaps your neighbor wasn’t aware of the mistake and is willing to resolve the issue. In this scenario, you could even both agree on where the boundary lines should be and create a lot line adjustment agreement, also known as lot line agreement.

You and your neighbor could make this agreement legal and binding by writing in detail the agreed-upon boundary lines, signing it, and then filing it with your county’s Land Registry Office. Do note though that you need to check your subdivision and local zoning laws first before writing the agreement to ensure that you comply with them.

On the other hand, if you find that your neighbor is refusing to cooperate, you need to present evidence in the form of your property’s deed to point out the boundaries or get a land surveyor to assess your property to place new markers for the boundaries. If your neighbor still continues building on or using your land, then you have to consult a lawyer as soon as possible to get a judge to order your neighbor to stop construction until you could file a trespassing claim or get a declaratory judgment stating that you, in fact, own the disputed piece of land.

The Main Takeaway

Disputes regarding boundary lines could get heated and escalate very quickly. To prevent a boundary line dispute from escalating, you need to familiarize yourself with your obligations and rights as a property owner and a neighbor. Consult an experienced real estate attorney to discuss your boundary dispute and help you figure out the most appropriate way to deal it with.