No matter if you just moved in and noticed something’s wrong or your new neighbour got a new fence, the issue of outdoor space limitation is a pretty delicate one. If you have enough proof, you can work things out in a friendly manner, but if you just can’t get along, suing is actually the right option.
Before anything else, though, you must know a couple of basic laws and options.
Establish the Property Line
This is one of the crucial elements towards solving this type of issue. It’s best to check the initial plan of the house (or even neighborhood) and know the exact space each homeowner gets. However, most of the times a legally registered surveyor is needed to mark the property line as accurately as possible.
Making a Compromise to Protect Your Property
Just like most people, you probably don’t want to spend time in long court sessions that may last for weeks and end up spending plenty of money. Here are a couple of compromises you can make to avoid a legal fight with your neighbor.
- Move the fence. You can discuss with your neighbor and give up by offering to pay half the cost of moving the fence. This usually should solve any problem. Sure enough, moving the fence will cost you some decent money depending on the material and workload, but at least you’ll have your issues solved and you gain your space back.
- Have your neighbor acknowledge your rights. If your neighbor’s fence is encroaching by a foot or two, the cheapest and easiest solution is for him to sign a quitclaim deed. This is a legal declaration which proves that your neighbor has no legal claim to the area your neighbor’s fence encroaches. As a plus, the two of you can also agree to a yearly rent and establish the amount of money that suits you both. By paying the rent, your neighbor earns his right to use your side of the property however he wants.
- Sell your neighbor the encroaching area. If your neighbor doesn’t seem happy about signing a quitclaim deed, you can just negotiate and sell him that side of the property so there’s no future connection between you two.
Unfortunately, there may be some neighbors who simply don’t agree with you no matter what. In this crucial situation, you have two options:
- You can accept that your neighbor will never give up and just go on with your life as it is.
- You get a good lawyer, explain your situation to him and file suit. The good part about this last option is that your neighbor’s lawyer may convince him that it’s better to just move the fence instead of spending so much time and money in court.