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Resolving Property Boundary Disputes: A Comprehensive Guide

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Property boundary disputes with neighbors can be a common source of frustration for landowners. If left unresolved, these disputes may escalate into legal conflicts, making it essential to have a solid understanding of the situation and know how to address it within the bounds of the law.

What Is The Property Boundary?

Property boundary is defined by the boundary of a property in the most literal and simplest terms. It is concerned mainly with pinpointing the plot of land. Before buying, dissecting, and then improving, most people hire for the service of a professional surveyor. Generally, a land surveyor prepares a drawing after the completion of the boundary. The particular drawing contains some of the most vital elements.

The Lot dimensions are generally determined by the deed or survey depicting the exact line of the property. You need to complete the survey, which includes some of the enhancements made to the land by the other owner. Not only this, but fences also come in use to indicate the property’s location. The fences are used commonly to pinpoint or demarcate the exact location of your property. 

What Really Causes The Property Boundary Issues

Property boundary is a sensitive issue and requires the utmost focus and investment of time. However, an indifferent attitude to the property dimension leads to boundary issues. Some of the reasons that can be attributed to Causing boundary issues are as follows: They include:

  • Inaccurate maps.
  • Misunderstandings between neighbors.
  • Faulty construction.
  • Adverse possession.
  • Changing the line of property. 

These issues create a rift between both parties involved in the property division. 

Understanding Boundary Issues And Their Causes

Boundary disputes typically revolve around disagreements between owners or occupants of adjacent properties. Most often, they stem from conflicts related to the precise location of a property boundary. Such disputes can arise for various reasons, including material and cultural claims or significant changes in the domestic environment. When these disputes escalate to the point of requiring legal intervention, property dispute lawyers can provide essential guidance and resolution strategies.

Whether you’re planning to build a fence, erect a retaining wall, remove a tree, or create a new driveway, you must have a well-defined and marked property boundary. Misunderstandings or inaccuracies in property boundary demarcation can potentially lead to disputes with your neighbors.

Preventing Boundary Issues

To avoid potential boundary disputes, particularly when you’re making alterations to your property, ensure you establish a marked boundary. It’s advisable to engage a licensed surveyor to accurately delineate your property’s boundary. Surveyors employ specialized equipment and technology to align the physical boundary of your property with the information available at the Land Titles Office (LTO).

Additionally, conducting a thorough search of the LTO’s records can help uncover information about existing boundaries or any modifications made by previous property owners. By identifying these boundaries and developing a comprehensive plan, you can prevent accusations of encroachment and ensure a harmonious relationship with your neighbors.

Understanding Encroachment

Encroachment refers to an unauthorized intrusion onto a neighboring property through the creation or extension of a physical structure, either above or below the land’s surface. When your neighbor builds something that partially or completely encroaches on your property without permission, it constitutes an encroachment. Prolonged disputes over illegal encroachments may eventually lead to your neighbor legally claiming ownership of the encroached property.

Encroachment issues frequently arise along disputed property lines, often because property owners are unaware of their property boundaries.

Dealing With Suspected Encroachment

If you suspect that a neighbor has encroached upon your land, you have the right to dispute the placement of any unauthorized structure or object. Before consulting a lawyer, take the following steps:

  1. Clarify the dispute: Understand the nature of the dispute and accurately determine your property boundary. Engage a licensed surveyor to assess and physically mark the boundaries, measuring the location of all improvements on the site.
  1. Communicate with your neighbor: Initiate a discussion about the boundary issue with your neighbor. They may not be aware that they are encroaching on your land. Explain your perspective and concerns to them.

Dealing with Boundary Accusations

If a neighbor accuses you of encroaching on their property, follow these steps to address and potentially resolve the issue:

  1. Communicate: Have an open and honest conversation with your neighbor to understand their concerns. Engage a licensed surveyor to mark the boundaries accurately, which can often alleviate confusion.
  1. Property improvements: In cases where fence repairs or new construction are required along the shared boundary, provide your neighbor with adequate notice of the work. Consent should be obtained if you need to access their property for construction.
  1. Financial responsibility: While technically, fences are jointly owned by both neighbors, there is no legal obligation for both parties to share the cost of installation or repair. A licensed surveyor can help with accurate boundary demarcation, reducing the likelihood of future boundary disputes.

Preventing Boundary Disputes

The most effective way to avoid or minimize boundary disputes is to precisely identify your property boundary. A licensed surveyor can perform a boundary identification survey, which typically includes:

  1. Legal record search: Obtaining legal records to establish the property’s history.
  1. Site survey: Conducting a thorough on-site survey to accurately mark the property’s boundary.
  1. Plan preparation: Preparing a plan signed by a licensed surveyor that outlines the property’s boundaries.

Conclusion

Clear identification of property boundaries can prevent encroachment disputes. However, if disputes persist, it may be prudent to seek assistance from property dispute lawyers. They can tailor a solution to your specific situation, alleviating the stress, emotional strain, and financial burden associated with boundary conflicts, whether you’re an individual property owner or a property development company.

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