There’s an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” But how do we know where that fence is supposed to be? Properly line disputes have been around since there were property lines, and they can be a real headache to deal with. Property lines or boundary lines separate properties, but they can often get muddled over time, leading to some heated disagreement over whose territory is whose. There are several things you can do to prepare yourself to defend your property. This guide will take you through the things you can consider if you have found yourself in a land or property line dispute.


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What Is A Property Line Dispute?

Property line disputes can happen when two parties argue over where one property ends and the other begins. Property lines aren’t always clear when looking at a piece of land. They can be unmarked, and the only record of them will sometimes be in the property records or the local county assessor’s office. There are two distinct kinds of property line violations that can cause a dispute. These are known as:


no tresspassing sign

Trespassing is when someone knows that they are on your land, yet they carry out what they are doing. This can often occur when members of the public cross through rural land for hiking or hunting. The important distinction with trespassing is that they should know they are on your land but choose to continue regardless.


Encroaching is when a neighbor will (sometimes unwittingly) build a structure or let a natural feature creep into your property line. It could be starting to build a fence that is afoot farther into your property line than it should be or having an unkempt tree branch from their yard hang over your house. Encroachment could be an easy fix by informing your neighbor, or it could turn into a big hassle. But, if you don’t settle an encroachment issue in a timely manner, it could turn into an easement on your property.


How Are Property Line Disputes Settled?

There are several ways that you can begin to solve your property line dispute, and keeping things civil will be your best bet in getting things taken care of.


Have The Conversation

Having a talk with your neighbors about a property line might be an awkward thing to bring up, no matter your relationship. It is best to bring up any property line disputes politely and as soon as possible to avoid costly construction. Solving a property dispute may be as easy as showing them the proper boundary and explaining the end of their property (having a map can help with this).

If there is tension or a mounting argument, it will be best to attempt a discussion at getting a mediator (like a surveyor) involved to avoid court.

Install Fences or Signage

If you are a landowner that is having some trouble with trespassing, the best thing to do may be clearly marking your property with no trespassing signs or private property signs. These signs may be all you need to deter foot traffic or trespassers on your land — especially if there is a fine attached.

You can always construct a fence that will keep out any trespassers or vehicles and protect your property boundary. This will clearly communicate your property line to avoid any ignorance in the situation. However, double-check that you aren’t encroaching on any other land yourself.


Related: What Type of Structures Can You Build on Agricultural Land?


Hire An Attorney

a man looking good in a tie

As with any serious legal dispute in court, it may be best to hire an attorney. They will be able to take the necessary steps to stop your neighbor from any other building or trespassing. They will be able to issue cease and desist letters or lawsuits depending on how severe your case has become.

Search Your Title


If you are in the midst of a dispute with your neighbor, you will want to conduct a title search that will show the legal ownership lines. You will perform a title search into public records to discover legal ownership that should be able to prove who is right in the property dispute. Title searches can cost up to $200, depending on where you live.

Enlist The Help Of A Land Surveyor


Hiring an experienced land surveyor will often be your best option for completely clarifying property boundaries. Land Surveyors from Millman National Land Services can visit your property no matter where you are located in the United States.

We will carefully measure and determine property lines and ownership to provide you with everything you need to prove in court. Millman National Land Services will provide you with a surveyor that can act as a legal arbiter to win your court case. Our clearly drawn survey will remove any dispute over property lines by granting unbiased proof of your property lines.

Millman Land can provide you with ALTA land surveys for your residential and commercial properties. Our in-house licensed staff will carefully detail and record your survey results to solve your land dispute. Our expert team has decades of experience in both the technical and legal aspects of land surveying, so you can be sure we have you covered. We bring the same level of care to every surveying job from New York City to the midwest.

Contact Millman National Land Services today to clear your property dispute once and for all!


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