Real estate boundary disputes require careful consideration and effective communication. When you find yourself in this situation with a neighbor, approaching the matter respectfully can ease some of the conflict.
Knowing what to do in this situation allows you to assert your rights if someone encroaches on your land in California.
Review your property documents
Gather and review deeds, surveys and other official information about your land. These documents provide valuable information about the boundaries of your property and may help clarify the issue.
Initiate an honest conversation
First, start a conversation with your neighbor. Choose a convenient time and place to meet so you can express your willingness to find a mutually acceptable solution. Maintain a calm and respectful tone throughout the conversation. Share copies of the property documents to provide support for your view.
Investigate local resources
Check with your local government or county planning department for guidance on property disputes. They may have resources or regulations in place to address such matters.
You should also ensure that any actions you take follow local zoning and building codes. Non-compliant solutions could lead to further disputes or legal issues down the road.
Seek a professional survey
If the dispute persists after you speak with your neighbor, consider hiring a land surveyor. This professional can accurately determine property boundaries, potentially resolving the disagreement once and for all.
You can suggest mediation as an alternative to litigation if your neighbor disagrees with the results of the professional survey. Mediation involves a neutral third party who can facilitate a productive discussion. This approach often leads to mutually agreeable solutions.
If you and your neighbor reach an agreement, be sure to document it in writing. It should detail the specific terms and actions agreed upon by both parties.
If all else fails and the dispute remains unresolved, consider legal action to remedy the situation. California’s real estate cost averages more than $425 per square foot of land, so even a small boundary dispute could have a significant monetary value at stake.