Boundary Disputes

Disputes over property boundary lines can be challenging because they might involve a neighbor who you may be familiar with. They may also involve overlapping issues such as city zoning ordinances or issues with recorded deed.

Different Types of Boundary Disputes

A boundary dispute can arise for several different reasons including:

  • Improvements to existing structures that are incompatible with the prescribed use of residential area
  • Encroaching objects such as an awning or a fence that intrude onto the neighbor's property in such a manner that it interferes with their rights to enjoyment of the land
  • Trails, roadways, or easements that go across a neighbor's property or yard may also be the subject of dispute
  • Other incompatible uses such as loud noise or music, offensive odors, or excessively bright lights. These may present a nuisance problem as well

Potential Remedies

There are several possible ways that a boundary dispute may be resolved. If the parties are unable to reach a private agreement, a court may prescribe the following remedies:

  • Legal damages: These are awarded in the form of monetary payment and are usually only available if there has been some form of economic loss to one party due to the boundary dispute
  • Injunction: An injunction is an order from the court instructing the offending party to either take action or refrain from action. For example, the court may issue an injunction requiring one party to remove an intruding structure
  • Acquiescence: This is a type of equitable (non-monetary) remedy wherein the boundary lines are redrawn and the new lines overrule the description in the deed. One party usually loses some land, but it may be preferable if the dispute involves an existing structure that is impractical to remove

Related Legal Issues

Check with an attorney to see if there are other issues such as: zoning violations, trespassing, encroachment, nuisance, easement and usage violations, rights-of-way, or adverse possession. You may wish to research local and state laws since each jurisdiction has different rules governing property disputes.

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