A property line dispute can happen at any time in your life. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just moved in or have been there for years. The trigger is usually erecting or replacing fences, although building a driveway, adding a garden shed, or even putting some decking up can cause issues.
What all of these activities do is draw attention to where the boundary line is. Unfortunately, if your vision of where it should be is different from your neighbors, you’re going to have a dispute.
Of course, you can choose to ignore it. But, this could then encourage further encroachment, and you’re the one paying for the land.
That’s why it is important to take firm action, but at all times, to remain calm. You’ll still be living next to your neighbor after the dispute is resolved, you don’t really want to fall out over it.
Talk To Them
The first step is to simply talk to your neighbor, this is easier if you already get on with them. If you don’t, then you may want to consider inviting them for a drink, this will put you both on neutral ground.
The only ail at this point is to explain that where you thought the boundary is and how you think they are crossing the boundary line. A good neighbor may well not have realized they’ve made a mistake and you can look at the easiest way to remedy the situation, without financial burden.
Of course, it’s not always going to be this simple.
Get A Survey Done
If your neighbor disputes where the boundary line is and you can’t agree then you need to leave the situation as it is, maintaining the peace. It will then be time to enlist a local construction surveying firm. They will be able to look at local plans and other sources of information before providing you with a survey of your property; this will show all the boundary lines.
You’ll then be able to show this to your neighbor and explain that they have crossed the boundary.
This may be enough to get them to modify the structure they have created.
Enlist a Negotiator
If this step hasn’t worked then you’ll need to move onto professional negotiation. A professional negotiator will sit down with both parties and try to help you resolve the issue, in accordance with the law and the defined boundaries of your survey.
This is a difficult job but negotiators are well trained and can often avoid the next step being necessary. In fact, you’ll often find that you must try negotiation before you can take legal action.
The final step, if nothing else has worked, is to take your issue to the courts. This is the most expensive option but the judge will confirm the boundary line and order the removal of anything that has been created over the line.
It is worth noting that this will probably ruin your relationship with your neighbor forever.