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Is your neighbor’s new fence encroaching on your property?

It is moving day, your new home awaits, and the usual excitement and chaos ensues. The moving truck has barely left the driveway when you notice that your neighbor is starting to build a fence.

Seen from your vantage point at the kitchen window, it appears he is installing the new fence on your side of the boundary line. Now what do you do?

Meet your neighbor

Hopefully, important documents like those pertaining to your new home are easy to locate. Dig them out and find your deed. Your boundary lines should be set out in the property description. You could also look for the plat, which contains a drawing that shows your property lines. With this information in hand, go to meet your neighbor. Be courteous but present the information that shows the fence he is building appears to be on your property.

Put the matter in writing

Follow up in writing. Reiterate to your neighbor that you believe he is building his fence on your land. Enclose copies of the deed and plat. Request that he fix the problem, adding that if he refuses to remove his fence, you will have to take action against him.

Engage the services of professionals

If your neighbor refuses to remove the fence, have a surveyor come out to mark the location of the true boundary. You might also consider engaging the assistance of a community mediator if your neighbor ignores the surveyor’s report. The mediator might help the two of you arrive at some sort of compromise. If this fails, it is time to reach out for legal assistance.

Seek legal help

An attorney experienced with real estate law will tell you that boundary disputes are not uncommon, and that an easement agreement or similar document should help to overcome the problem you are facing. If there still seems to be no resolution, a quiet title lawsuit can be filed. The court will make a determination on the location of the boundary line, which will resolve the question of trespass on the part of your neighbor and his fence.

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