Neighborly disputes are much more common than you may realize. In fact the government estimate that the majority of boundary fences are actually not positioned properly.
Of course this is not the only type of property dispute you can have with a neighbor. They may have built an extension which invades your property or misused a shared access space. They could even have refused you access even though you have an easement.
Once you know there is a problem it is important to act quickly and decisively:
Start With A Survey
You need to establish the boundary of your property; this will help you to argue that your neighbor has overstepped their mark. To do this you need to get a reputable firm like Geosurv to complete a property survey.
Their report will highlight the exact boundary of your property, any easements in place and any other pertinent facts.
You may be surprised to find the boundary is not where you think it should be!
Talk To Your Neighbor
It is important to speak to your neighbor; even if you feel nervous about doing it. Think about it the other way round; you would rather they came to you before anything else.
You’ll need to explain your position and why you believe they have overstepped their boundary. With the facts in front of you it will be hard to dispute although they may wish to undertake their own survey.
Once you’re in agreement that they have overstepped the boundary line you’re half way there.
Resolving The Issue
You have the right to take your neighbor to court and force them to remove the item hanging over your property land. However, this is a costly and time consuming process. Many cases can take years to get through the court system.
In the process you’ll probably damage your relationship with your neighbor; someone you have to live next to.
A better solution is to come to an amicable agreement. If it is difficult to talk to your neighbor then you can use a mediation service to help you.
There are several ways in which you can resolve the issue and remain friends or at least on speaking terms:
• Allow them the extra land, create a new boundary line and make sure all contracts are amended to reflect this.
• Sell them the extra land; again property contracts will need to be updated.
• Lease the land to your neighbor; you retain ownership but they don’t need to do anything to remove the structure.
• Accept a compensation payment from your neighbor.
Moving is an extreme option and may still give you issues when you sell if the boundary lines are disputed. This is not really a viable option unless you were planning on moving anyway.
The real question is how much do you use the land in question and how negative an impact will what your neighbor has built have on your life. The more sever it is the more likely it is you’ll need to make legal action. But it is always worth trying to resolve it amicably first.