What is a boundary dispute?
A boundary dispute is a dispute over the property line between two parties and can include claims for adverse possession or to quiet title. Boundary disputes can arise for many reasons. One common example is when a party gets ready to build a new fence and has a survey completed. The survey shows that the neighbor’s shed overhangs the property line by a few feet. Alternatively, a survey may be conducted as part of the sale of property and may uncover that an existing fence does not run along the property line.
What is the difference between a boundary dispute and an ownership dispute?
A boundary dispute is a dispute over the location of a property line. An ownership dispute is a dispute regarding who owns a certain piece of property. These two types of disputes may be intermingled and part of the same claim.
What types of issues may come up during a boundary dispute?
A survey is not an exact science and there may be disagreement between surveyors regarding the exact location of a boundary line. Additionally, one party may claim that the property line has been moved as the result of a claim for adverse possession. Adverse possession is a declaration that a party has obtained ownership of a certain piece of property as the result of using it — without permission — for many years. There may also be issues related to inconsistent legal descriptions in the chain of title that caused something less than the full property to transfer to the current owner. Additionally, the chain of title may show that other parties need to be brought into the legal proceedings.
Do boundary line disputes often get settled?
Many of these disputes do get settled either prior to litigation being filed or prior to trial. Generally speaking, the value of the property that is in dispute is small and the costs of litigation are greater than the value of the property. With that being said, there may be emotional or sentimental reasons that a party wants to fight for the property. Moreover, the neighborly dynamic can play a role in the potential of the settlement of a dispute.