What happens in the event of a property line dispute?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2022 | Real Estate Disputes |

In many situations, good fences really do make good neighbors. As a Pennsylvania property owner, you may find yourself in a situation in which you need to protect your rights and interests in a boundary line dispute with your neighbor. These types of disputes can lead to stressful and potentially costly complications, and it is in your interests to know how to seek a beneficial and timely outcome in this scenario. 

Knowing the exact location of boundary lines is important for many reasons, especially if there is a disagreement over matters such as fences, location of utilities, construction of new structures and more. There are various ways you can seek a practical and beneficial resolution to a boundary line dispute, including seeking a solution outside of the courtroom. Regardless of your specific approach and your desired outcome, you will find it beneficial to know how to protect your rights and interests at every step.  

Protect your property 

Property lines are the invisible boundaries that distinguish where your property ends and your neighbor’s property begins. It is possible that you had a survey of the property when you bought the house, or perhaps there was an existing fence that separated the two properties. However, without a recent survey or fence, it can be difficult to say with certainty what is yours and what is not. Common types of property line disputes include: 

  • Trespassing, which is when someone knowingly comes onto your property without permission 
  • Encroachment, which is when a neighboring property owner builds a structure, erects a fence, etc., over the boundary line and onto your property 

There are a few basic steps you can take if you have concerns about your property rights and land use, including putting up no trespassing signs or speaking with your neighbor. If these efforts are not successful and the problem continues, you may need to take more decisive action. At this point, your options would include seeking a new survey of the property or filing a lawsuit.  

The best long-term solution 

In the event of a property line dispute, you would be wise to make it your goal to secure a solution that will work long-term. The ideal outcome is one that is definitive and clear, reducing the chance for continued issues in the future. If you have concerns about your property rights and how to handle a complication with your neighbor, it may be in your interests to seek an understanding of your legal options.