Homeowners generally do not want neighbors to encroach on their property, although some may tolerate the situation to avoid a confrontation. Such an intrusion might involve a structure from adjoining land or the growth of nearby vegetation.
However, encroachments could lead to property loss, complications when selling a piece of land or other disputes. Understanding one’s options and taking appropriate action may circumvent issues later.
Approaching the issue with a neighbor
Allowing frustration to fester can lead to a quarrel or altercation. Unwarranted threats and overreactions can create additional legal troubles.
A landowner can start by reviewing the property title and determining the boundary lines. Knowing the facts and having substantial proof may be enough to get cooperation from the offending party. If boundary lines are not clear, a professional survey may be advisable.
Offering a sale or easement
In some cases, selling the piece of land is a suitable resolution. If the encroachment is unobtrusive, the property owner may consider allowing the neighbor permission to use the area by granting an easement.
The use of the land often involves a yearly fee. Both parties will want to review the contract carefully to understand all stipulations and concessions.
Attempting other legal options
When settling the issue involves complexities or situations the neighbors cannot agree on, the property owner may wish to take the matter to court. However, mediation can also present a favorable solution if both parties are willing. Mediation can be less costly and more peaceful than a trial. Using a mediator can also offer more confidentiality.
Landowners should be aware that someone who permits an encroachment for 15 years can lose control of the property due to adverse possession. Addressing the issue promptly is often beneficial.