If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?
Do you care?
A better question is if your neighbor’s tree falls on your property, do you have to pay to have it removed? What if your neighbor wants to build a shed on the edge of their property, but the plans put it partially on your property? These kinds of property line disputes often arise because while everyone thinks they know exactly where the property line is, they actually don’t. Just because you mow to an imaginary line—or even if there is a fence separating two properties—that doesn’t mean you know where the legal boundary line is. If this becomes the focus of a dispute, it is vital that you get a lawyer as soon as possible to settle the matter once and for all.
Issues That Often Lead to Property Line Disputes
Neighbors can happily co-exist for years before an issue leads to a dispute over where the property line actually is. A discrepancy of even a couple of feet can cause huge problems. Some issues that can open a can of worms when it comes to property lines include:
- Selling the property
- Fallen trees
- Tree trimming
- Shared driveways
- Building a structure
The first step in finding a solution to one of these disputes is to determine exactly where the property line is.
What a Real Estate Litigation Attorney Will Do to Help You
You probably have a copy of a property survey with your other mortgage documents. Your neighbor probably has one for their plot as well. However, this survey is likely just a mortgage survey, which is not the legal document you need to prove where the boundary line is. When you hire Littlejohn Law to help resolve your dispute, we will get to work on the following:
- Hiring a surveyor. Surveying property is as much an art as it is a science. We will hire the most professional, skilled surveyor we can to locate the actual property lines. If your surveyor is not using GPS and satellite technology, the resulting document will probably not hold up in court.
- Investigating titles and deeds. We will conduct title searches and pull other relevant documents to establish a full legal picture of the two properties.
- Talking to neighbors. Neighbors who have lived in the area longer than the parties involved in the dispute can be helpful in determining when trees were planted, who a driveway belonged to originally, how long a shed has stood, and other events.
- Researching the history of the property. If the properties in question are more than a few decades old, it might be necessary to dig through historical records for original surveys or subdivision documents.
Once we have gathered this information, we will have a strategy meeting to determine the best position to help you achieve your goals. We will create a demand package to recap the research and applicable laws that give us a strong case, and we will send it to the neighbor and their attorney. We always try to negotiate a resolution that is in our clients’ best interest, but if that’s not possible, we will take the case to court.
Before your minor dispute turns into an all-out war, contact Littlejohn Law for help.