Encroachment describes a type of property dispute that happens when a structure on an adjoining piece of property intrudes on a neighbor’s property. A property owner in Pennsylvania might discover that an existing structure has encroached by crossing a property line. Encroachment can also be recognized immediately during the construction of a new building. The timing of an encroachment complaint could influence its outcome.

An encroachment that has been tolerated for a long time might provide the encroaching property owner with the option to respond to a complaint with an adverse possession action. However, an encroachment complaint initiated during the planning or construction stage could undermine such a defensive action by the encroaching party.

Neighbors may remedy such disputes in a variety of ways. They might do nothing and accept the encroachment. This approach, however, requires that future buyers be informed about the situatiom. Property owners might reach an agreement that adjusts a building plan. In some situations, simply selling the portion of encroached property to the encroaching neighbor clears the air. One neighbor receives value for the loss, and the encroaching neighbor gains clear ownership. If a dispute heads to court, then the property owner complaining of encroachment must show documented ownership of the property in question and that the neighbor has used it improperly.

A person who needs to address a land dispute often has to balance concerns about land value and usage with the possibility of upsetting a neighbor. Legal assistance with the research of property records might strengthen a person’s position when preparing to contact an opposing party. Advice from an attorney may inform the client about rights and options during this type of real estate dispute. An attorney might suggest solutions and help a property owner weigh the pros and cons of different courses of action.