How To Prevent And Deescalate Boundary Disputes With Neighbors

Boundary disputes with neighbors can turn into nasty fights and ruin lifelong relationships, but it doesn't have to be that way. As a thoughtful neighbor, if you suspect that your neighbor has encroached on your property, you need to approach the issue calmly. Here are some of the things you can do to solve boundary disputes amicably:

Confirm Before Raising Allegations

If you suspect a boundary discrepancy, confirm your suspicions before confronting your neighbor. It's not good to confront the neighbor and have your claims disapproved after a cursory glance at the deeds. Here are three ways you can confirm your allegations before going to the neighbor:

  • Check the deed to confirm property measurements and boundaries; physically take the measurements to confirm what's on the deed matches what's on the ground.
  • Scrutinize the survey, which you should have received when buying the house.
  • Get a map for your area from the local assessor's office and use it to confirm the boundary lines on each side of your property.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

If your scrutiny reveals a tiny encroachment on your property, it might be a good idea to ignore it. For example, if your compound is fairly big, a one-foot encroachment on your property may not be worth commissioning a property survey, going through mediation, and ruining your relationship with your neighbor. For your information, most people spend $335 to $650 on land surveys.

Offer to Pay or Share Property Survey Fees

If the deeds aren't helpful, or there are no survey maps, you will need to commission a new survey. You can make the process easier for your neighbor by offering to pay for survey fees. If your neighbor is the one challenging the boundary lines, an offer to split the survey costs can go a long way in keeping your relationship cordial with the neighbor.

Opt For Mediation

Lastly, if your investigations reveal a real encroachment, don't rush and file a lawsuit against your neighbor. You can approach your housing association for a mediator or just hire a private mediator. A private mediator may help you keep down the costs of solving the issue and maintain a good relationship with your neighbor.

If all else fails, or if you aren't satisfied by the mediation's outcome, consult a real estate attorney. The lawyer will tell you if you have a case and advise you on what you need to prove your case.