February 15 2019

How to Deal With a Boundary Line Dispute


If someone encroaches on your land, you have the right to sue the party involved and get legal redress. However, the expenses, enmity, and duration of a lawsuit mean you should probably consider a lawsuit as a last option. Below are some of the measures you can take to solve a boundary dispute amicably.

Conduct a Survey

A property survey details the physical characteristics of the land. The property survey will reveal:

  • The size of the land
  • The physical address
  • The location of buildings/structures on the land
  • The location of the adjacent properties


In short, a survey describes a land thoroughly to eliminate confusion. The survey should be the first step so you can tell who is right between you and the neighbor. Otherwise, you might enter into a dispute because you think you are right while, in the real sense, your neighbor is right.

Conduct a Title Search

In addition to the survey, you should also conduct a title search of the property. Through a title search, you will know about all the relevant interests other parties may have on the property. You will also know about the regulations that affect the property's ownership and use.

For example, if the previous owner of your property had granted an easement (a right to use another person's property without taking ownership of the property) to your neighbor, the title search will reveal the easement. If the previous owner had used the property as loan collateral, the title search would tell you about it.

Appraise the Property

Though not necessary, appraising the property in dispute is helpful so you know how much is at stake. You can use the appraisal to gauge how much time and money you should invest in the property. Many people wouldn't want to spend $5,000 to solve a dispute over a $2,000 property unless they have a sentimental attachment to the property.

Negotiate With the Neighbor

Next, sit down with the neighbor and try to negotiate an amicable solution. Try to reason with your neighbor to see if they will come around. Stick to the issue at hand — the boundary dispute — to get a solution. If you bring up other issues you have had with the neighbor, the negotiations might stretch on forever.

Arm yourself with the relevant data that support your arguments, such as the survey and title search results. Maybe they actually believed that the property is theirs and they didn't mean to encroach on your property.

Try Mediation

If you are convinced you are right and your neighbor is also convinced about their position, then a one-on-one negotiation might not help you. The same is true if your neighbor is a difficult person or refuses to stick to the point during the negotiations. Maybe you have some personal differences with the neighbor, and that is all they want to talk about during the negotiations.

In such a case, get a mediator to help you settle the dispute. Contrary to what people think, a mediator is not a judge. Rather, the mediator facilitates the discussions and ensures that both parties air their views and grievances. The mediator should be a neutral person who understands the real estate laws of the state.

If you don't succeed, then you have no option but to file a lawsuit against your neighbor. Before you do that, consult Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, L.L.C., to assess the dispute, discuss any further options available to you, and advise you on how to get a legal remedy. Contact us for an appointment so we can begin work on your case as soon as possible.

How to Deal With a Boundary Line Dispute