I Didn’t Know I Was Encroaching Onto My Neighbor’s Property – Help!

Let’s say you’ve been living in your house for quite some time now. You love the place, you love the neighborhood and you just love everything about it.

For some reason, your next door neighbor decided to have his property surveyed. Alas, his surveyor concluded that part of your property is actually your neighbor’s and that you’ve been encroaching all along.

What are your options?

There are several ways to handle this, and it really depends on what you and your neighbor agree upon.

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

First, your neighbor can sell you that portion of the property. If you can afford it, this is the best solution especially when there’s a structure in the area we’re talking about. You don’t have to lose it (not to mention you also spent money having it constructed), and your neighbor wouldn’t have to spend money demolishing it. It’s a win-win situation.

Another option is to have you rent it. Some people actually agree to do this, but it can be expensive. Imagine paying monthly for a part of your neighbor’s property for years. And, then, if they move, you have a new landlord for that area.

If there’s no structure on the area, or if it’s only minor such as a fence or a flower bed, the simplest thing might be to move anything in that area. You can move your fence back so that it’s not encroaching or have your flower bed completely removed.

Now, what if the area in question is your driveway? Does your neighbor have the right to block it after finding out that it’s actually still a part of their property? Maybe.

In order for you to still be able to use the driveway, you should consult an attorney for the next steps. You should take a copy of a survey with the driveway shown on it with you. This will save the attorney time, and you money. (Attorneys charge much more than surveyors.)

This may mean you need to get your own surveyor to re-survey the area. Your neighbor’s surveyor may give you a copy of the survey, but, sometimes it pays to have this checked by your own surveyor.

Property boundaries are not like a math problem where 2+2 always equals 4. There is a certain amount of “professional opinion” and sometimes there’s a disagreement about the boundary location. If this is the case, ask your surveyor to speak to the neighbor’s surveyor to try to work things out first. If that fails, then go to the attorney.

In case your surveyor finds out that the driveway is indeed a part of your property and not your neighbor’s, you might need to take your case to court. You must also make sure that the surveyor you hire is willing and qualified to be an expert witness since he will be called into court to talk about the survey results. The surveyor should also be able to explain clearly why they placed the line where it was.

Got a problem with property encroachment in the Roanoke, Randolph County of Alabama, call Roanoke Land Surveying at (256) 854-9503 or click here to fill out our contact form.

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