Boundary disputes can lead to emotional conflicts and expensive litigation between neighbors and within communities.
One common dispute arises when a property owner builds a fence that is on a part of a neighbor’s property. Sometimes, this is done intentionally but often it is accidental.
This may happen because the property owner is relying on inaccurate land surveys or property records that have not been updated, so they are unaware of where the property line is.
If a person uses another person’s land open and continuously and the property owner does not object to it, the land user may become the owner of the land through adverse possession. This can cause a dispute about who is the rightful owner.
Disputes can also arise where the land use itself has changed, like when the property was in a commercial zone and is now zoned for residential use.
Resolution and prevention
Boundary disputes can be resolved through a traditional legal process where the court can decide the outcome. The parties may also have the option to participate in alternative dispute resolution, where a neutral third party facilitates a discussion between them to find a resolution. If the mediation is successful, the parties can draft an agreement and submit it to the court for approval.
Disputes may be prevented by having the property surveyed regularly so the property owner is aware of the exact property lines. Once they know this information, they can update the property records.
Clear and direct communication with neighbors and the community can limit additional conflicts.