Boundary disputes are often triggered when someone installs a fence over their property line. This encroachment may remain unchallenged for years until the slighted owner decides to sell their New York home and a new land survey uncovers the issue that needs resolution. Here are a few ways to handle the problem, no matter when you discover it.
Speak with your neighbor
Communication is always the best first step for resolving this type of dispute. You have some options if a survey clearly shows that the fence is over your boundary line.
Request removal of the structure
If a significant amount of land is involved, you may wish to reclaim that property for your own use. Whether or not your neighbor honors your request may depend on the construction type involved. For example, a wooden fence is easier to remove than a brick wall.
Agree to compromise
You may negotiate a fair price for the land you agree to relinquish. The structure remains where it is, and you file the appropriate quitclaim deed with the court.
File a lawsuit
Lawsuits are usually a viable option for settling a boundary dispute. However, the process might be an expensive and lengthy exercise. You must decide if the disputed land is worth the time and effort.
A disadvantaged homeowner is not the only one who can file a lawsuit. New York has a 10-year adverse possession law. If a neighbor openly and uncontestably uses another’s land for 10 years, the property may belong to them. In this case, the offending neighbor may file a lawsuit to enforce their right to the land.
Settling boundary disputes with a neighbor can be easy or stressful. Keep calm, and remember that a lawsuit is a last resort option.