One of the biggest frustrations a homeowner can face is a dispute with a neighbour over property boundaries. Property line disputes with neighbours can lead to ongoing hostility and controversy that cause stress and even can make it difficult to continue living in an area.
If you’re involved in a property line argument with a neighbour, consider working with an experienced real estate lawyer to resolve the matter as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
Conflicts can occur following some precipitating event that involves identifying the exact property line. For instance, a neighbour might install or remove fencing or a retaining wall or a tree might fall during a storm.
In some cases, neighbours get too aggressive with trimming or removing trees or shrubs that aren’t on their property, or they might plant a garden that encroaches on land beyond their own property line.
Improvements or changes to home also can serve as the impetus for property line disputes. For example, a neighbour might construct an addition to their home or a separate building or driveway that encroaches over your property line.
When a property line encroachment problem arises, some neighbours manage to work out disputes themselves without litigation by meeting and reviewing all the relevant legal documents, including titles, maps and property surveys.
If those steps are unsuccessful, some owners may try to contact the police or the local government building inspector or bylaw officer. However, the police typically will not get involved in an argument about property lines unless a criminal act — such as your property being damaged intentionally — has occurred. Local government officials also typically do not intervene in conflicts regarding private property boundaries unless it involves the contravention of a building or development permit or a municipal bylaw.
However, if the dispute cannot be resolved amicably and informally, where for instance the neighbour is acting unreasonably in encroaching or trespassing over a property line, the assistance of a lawyer, and potentially an application to the court for an order defining your rights, may be required.
If informal negotiations do not resolve the dispute, you may require a real estate lawyer to advise you of your legal rights, present a proposal to your neighbour or if necessary seek the Court’s intervention to help your resolve the dispute. Your lawyer can also assist you to assemble the evidence you need to deal with factual disagreements. For example, a qualified land surveyor can be retained to provide a report about the location of the property line.
By working with a lawyer experienced in land ownership issues, you can ensure that you take the appropriate steps to protect your interests. To schedule a consultation, please contact McLarty Wolf Litigation Lawyers at 604-687-2277.
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