Pesky Neighbors: What Are the Legal Boundaries of My Property?

Pesky Neighbors: What Are the Legal Boundaries of My Property?

Few things can create instant animosity between neighbors than property line disputes. It is telling that the term “land war” became used to describe the civil unrest relating to ownership of property existing in Ireland during the late 1800s.

Then there was the story of the guy who built his house in the middle of a property line. Almost everyone thought that the house site was entirely within the property owner’s boundaries. The records at the town office and the recorded deed showed the construction site was well within the property lines. The house met legal setbacks according to the information available. The town issued the necessary permits, banks approved loans, and significant building started. However, one of the neighbors had a few things to say about that location because his recorded deed showed a different adjoining property line. The disputing parties both hired surveyors. The surveyor’s reports did little to clear up the location of the disputed boundary. Tempers flared. Eventually, the dispute proceeded to legal action.

Most of the time the error is not as expensive as having a house built in the middle of the legal boundary. In most instances, it is a new fence, tool shed, or garden feature that bring the discussion to the forefront. How can a land owner protect themselves when the documentation they rely on to determine property boundaries is in conflict with the deed description of an adjoining property?

Scribner’s Errors

Property owners should not depend upon property line descriptions found at the town office, including copies of recorded deeds. To protect themselves, property owners must begin by searching the recorded history of their property and adjoining lots. It could be a clerical error that escaped notice in a historic deed became incorporated into future deeds. While tedious, comparing the historic records maintained with the local government recording authority against current property deeds will identify these errors.

Metes and Bounds

Along with checking for any clerical errors in deeds, it is a smart precaution to obtain a current property line survey. Land surveyors and engineers will be able to find legal property boundaries and position markers. It is possible for one survey to differ from another. Depending on the records used as the basis of the survey, the movable nature of some boundary markers, and even long time use of the disputed property, issues with abutters can still occur.

Lining It Up

The most important step is to talk with neighbors abutting the property before investing money in construction or property improvements. If addressed by neighborly neighbors before tempers flare, property line disputes can be resolved without starting a land war.

Source by Peter David Wendt
#Pesky #Neighbors #Legal #Boundaries #Property legal

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