Know your line

Before you march across your lawn, find your settlement papers and search for a drawing that indicates your property line. You can find this information on the plat, a representation of the property survey, which you should have received at settlement.

No luck finding your plat? Go online. State or county government sites often have record plats you can download for free.

Take a meeting

When talking to neighbors about property line encroachment, bring the following:

  • A friendly attitude: Assume they “crossed a line” innocently. It sets a better tone.
  • Written proof: Whip out your plat and show the neighbors how they have accidentally taken your land.

No more Mr. Nice Neighbor

Sometimes reason and baked goods don’t do the trick. Here are next steps, in escalating order.

1. Write a letter: A letter puts your neighbor on notice, documents their property line trespass, describes the violation, includes a copy of your plat and requests an action to remedy the situation. File it with your county clerk or land records office to put any subsequent purchasers or lienholders on notice. If your attorney sends the letter, it carries more weight: Your neighbor knows you mean business and might act promptly.

2. Suggest mediation: Many communities have free or low-cost mediation services that help neighbors reach a non-binding agreement. Professional mediators can cost $350 per hour.

3. Lawsuit: Rare, expensive and usually not necessary. File in civil court and ask for the removal of the encroachment, and damages to pay for restoring your property. Expect to pay at least $3,000 to the-sky-is-the-limit in legal feels. Resolution will take at least months and maybe years.

4. Police action: If concrete is about to be poured on part of your land, or in any urgent situation, call the police and report trespassing.lawsuit

Additional options for the encroached-upon:

  • License agreement: This documents your willingness to allow the neighbor to keep, for example, their fence on your property. This prevents adverse possession.
  • Land sale: Sell the land to your neighbors. Let a real estate attorney make it legal.

About the Author

Ann Cochran has written about home improvement and design trends for Washingtonian, Home Improvement and Bethesda Magazine.

Source: Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

16 Responses to “Property line disputes: peaceful ways to settle boundary issues”

  1. Todd says:

    The survey is what you should have to start with to avoid getting to this point.

  2. Dave says:

    The assumption that a neighbor has accidentally encroached on your land is probably understated here. It’s certainly the best way to go to avoid a nasty confrontation up front even if it did likely happen on purpose! Save the nastiness for the lawsuit, if it comes to that. Besides, you have to live next to these people even after everything else is said and done!

  3. Nesie says:

    Yo everyone…amazing blog :)

  4. Coleman Reibert says:

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  5. Ani Bocor says:

    I think you have a wonderful know-how, particularly dealing with these topics.

  6. Lela says:

    Useful article.

  7. Spinello says:

    A person could get sick and exhausted from trying to keep peace with neighbors that are being unreasonable about property lines. Make sure all of your ducks are in a row in case you have to sue them.

  8. UK homeowner says:

    Hear what you’re saying.

  9. Lecroy says:

    Excellent advice.

  10. Graham says:

    I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you.

  11. Tampa contractor says:

    Useful information for all parties involved.

  12. D. Durant says:

    I am sharing this with our whole neighborhood at our next community meeting and I’m sure they’ll thankful to you.

  13. Ira Danforth says:

    Some legitimate points. Good site.

  14. Jody Swift says:

    Like your post

  15. Sandi Kuhl says:

    Plenty of useful info here.

  16. S. Folks says:

    Thank you for the good advice.

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