Real Estate Law and Property Boundary Disputes
By Michael Verna on September 12, 2019
Owning your own property can be rewarding and enriching, but it can also come with its own headaches. Maintenance and upkeep can be costly, but at least it’s something you can deal with yourself. When a neighbor’s property crosses over onto yours, disputes can arise. That’s when speaking with a Walnut Creek, CA real estate attorney can help.
The lawyers of Bowles & Verna LLP would like to go over some of the basics when it comes to property disputes and what steps you should consider if property lines are crossed.
Determining and Defining Your Property Lines
Surveys of the property at the time of purchase will determine where the property lines are located. Typically this will be delineated by fences on the property of a home that’s been purchased. If you need to be sure about property lines, an updated survey is generally a good idea.
Encroachment on Your Property
Encroachment refers to cases in which a neighbor builds a structure that winds up crossing over to your property lines. This could occur if a shed is placed along the property line, or a deck expansion extends into your edge of the property. Even trees and plants on one property may encroach on a neighbor’s land, whether it’s roots, branches, or the plantlife itself.
The encroachment could be substantial, and may even affect the space available to you or the general appearance of your own property. It’s important to make this problem known to your neighbor when it occurs.
Consider Hiring a Surveyor
When encouragement occurs, you have a number of options to consider. One of the first things you should do is hire a surveyor just to be certain there is a property line problem. They can verify the property lines as they stand and whether or not your neighbor is encroaching on your property.
Trying to Talk Things Through with Your Neighbor
Before getting our Walnut Creek law firm involved, you should attempt to talk things through with your neighbor. If you can handle the matter outside of court, this will avoid a nasty legal battle that could take months and become quite expensive. Be civil and respectful, and note the property lines that have been identified by the surveyor.
If discussion doesn’t work, mediation is another option to consider to keep the matter out of court. This uses an objective and disinterested third party to help find a reasonable compromise in accordance with existing property lines and laws. Mediation is much less expensive than a court fight and can avoid a legal battle.
When Should I Speak with a Real Estate Lawyer?
If mediation and civil discussion with your neighbor about these concerns do not prove fruitful, you should then speak with a real estate lawyer to help with the property line disputes.
Before starting legal proceedings, a lawyer may send a letter to your neighbor to let them know that you are serious about your concerns. If your neighbor does not comply with the request in this letter, then it’s time to take this dispute to court. Our lawyers are here to help you stand firm.
Speak with Our Real Estate Lawyers
For more information about property line and boundary disputes and what you should keep in mind, be sure to contact a real estate law attorney. The teams at Bowles & Verna LLP can be reached in Walnut Creek by phone at (925) 935-3300.