What to do if a neighbor invades your boundaries

A property dispute often starts with a small action. A neighbor decides to put up a new fence that is pushing onto your property, or a tree on your property has a branch that hangs over your neighbor’s yard. Both actions are small but have enormous consequences.

Both situations are common in boundary disputes. Essentially, one neighbor crosses the property lines, and it leads to a heavily litigated case where the court determines the boundaries of each property through deeds, arguments and what’s fair based on the circumstances.

Do not get fenced in by your neighbor

Each state offers different standards around how neighbors renovate their property without encroaching onto someone else’s land.

For example, California has a common issue on who pays and maintains a fence on a boundary line. The state requires the neighbors to conduct a survey and establish official boundaries for the property. Once they have formal property lines, both neighbors maintain and construct the fence. California also allows neighbors to sue if a “spite fence” is built – a fence that is at least ten feet high to annoy other residents.

Nevada has fewer regulations when it comes to building fences on private property. However, they do ask neighbors to file for a permit before dividing residential properties due to property disputes. There is also the possibility for liability if you damage a neighbor’s fence or maliciously erect a fence to bother your neighbors. It’s in the court’s discretion to decide based on each circumstance.

Taking back land through the court

If your fence leads you into a courtroom, you deal with lengthy court proceedings and costly fees to hire the right representative. However, preparation allows better chances of ensuring your property stays the same. Critical evidence includes surveys, photographs of the encroachment and any permits for the land or fence.

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