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Disputing a boundary line

It has been said that good fences make good neighbors, but unfortunately, that's not always the case. If you put up a fence on your neighbor's property, you may be in for a battle.

Radio interview source: Aaron Steele, Community Planner

 
It’s always best to compromise and get along with neighbors, if at all possible, as you are living next to them.
 
Aaron Steele is a community planner. He says unfortunately, disputes do happen and it's in everyone's best interest to work it out. One option is to have a survey done. But sometimes even a survey won't give you definitive answers, especially if it's a property where the real estate was an older deed.
 
"An additional option is just to agree with your neighbor," he says. "Look, this is unclear, even the survey is not going to work this out with any degree of exactness, why don't we just agree that the property line will be here. And you can put that in the form of a legal agreement and actually go to your county courthouse, or whoever manages the land records, and deed portions of land to each other and get it settled."
 
If you can't agree on a common boundary line, Steele says the next step may be to contact your local government.
 
"It would vary from state-to-state which jurisdiction could help a property owner out with this sort of thing, but often times townships have a board of trustees, and they are charged with helping to settle property line disputes," says Steele. "And so that would be the place to start. Those folks typically have some experience in resolving those types of issues."
 
The most expensive approach to resolve a boundary line is going to court.  Not only are you losing money in lawyer's fees, you may also lose a friend.  Ask yourself is the battle worth it, and are you willing to live next door to the person you're fighting in court?
 

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