Settling Boundary Dispute

What is a Boundary Dispute?

Jun 23 2015

The price of a free-standing home includes more than just the structure. It also includes the surrounding land. The borders of this land are typically set by a survey and are established in legal documents. Because you and your neighbors each have legal documents that dictate where each property begins and ends, there are rarely issues that arise.

Every now and again, disputes do come up. Often, these are as basic as a fence being built on the wrong side of the property line. While it may seem trivial, even a few feet could affect the value of the property by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Finding Your Boundary Lines

Some boundary disputes, especially on top-dollar land, can get out of hand quickly. Both you and the other party need to establish where your property lines lie. Your title will describe the boundaries of your property. If that is unavailable for some reason, or you want to compare it to your neighbors’ given property lines, you can find the information at the county clerk’s office. If you live in a subdivision, the original developer will have filed a map, or plat, of the large tract of land and how it is divided. A surveyor can also be hired to assist with the process.

Dealing with an Encroaching Neighbor

If you find a mistake in the given boundary compared to what is in the paperwork, it is important to first have a conversation with your neighbor about the issue. Show them your deed and survey and point out where the property line really is. Often, the mistake was an honest one, which can be corrected easily. If your neighbor refuses to budge, it may be time to bring in a third party.

First, write a letter that describes the situation, including where the property line should be, and file it with your county clerk. This will make the dispute a matter of public record and will also put your neighbor on notice. If that does not solve the problem, suggest mediation to find a solution to the dispute. Many different agencies offer professional boundary dispute mediation services for a small fee. This method can be especially helpful if the property lines are old and/or there are conflicting documents regarding the true boundary line.

If this does not resolve the issue, hiring an attorney and going to court is a viable option. Though this can be potentially costly and time-consuming, the local court can settle boundary disputes once and for all, and this could end up saving you money if you subsequently put the property up for sale.

Involving a Title Company

A professional title company can often be of use through this entire process. They can examine the conflicting deeds (or other relevant documents) and figure out where the discrepancies lie. They can also assist in setting up a land survey of the properties in question to settle the dispute without legal action. Once the issue is resolved, attorneys at a title company can also revise the necessary documents to establish the true boundary lines.

If you are looking to buy a new home and want to make sure the property surrounding the home would actually be yours, or you need assistance to settle a boundary dispute, contact Marina Title today. We are an attorney-owned and operated title company, and can assist you with all your property and title needs. For more information, drop us a line at (305) 901-5628 or reach out to us by email at

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