A recent story from Maine discusses the importance of how to settle property disputes and, most importantly, what to avoid. In this article, a dispute over property among neighbors got so bad that one of the neighbors cut the other’s garage in half!
Needless to say, this isn’t the best approach when addressing a boundary dispute.
Determine Who Owns What
The first step for settling a property dispute is to determine the exact property you own. The starting point for this is generally a survey or plot plan, done by a licensed surveyor who has reviewed the land records.
If you find that the disputed property is not within your record title, or the disputed property’s ownership is unknown, a claim for adverse possession may still be a possibility.
Attempt to Resolve the Matter Without Court Involvement
Property disputes can get expensive and complex . . . really quickly. With this in mind, it is worth trying to resolve the matter without court involvement.
That’s not to say this should be done without lawyer involvement. In many of the property disputes that I’ve handled, I have able been to prepare a demand letter that has successfully resolved the matter without a formal legal action. This option is almost always worth considering before pursuing a lawsuit.
Taking Legal Action
If the property dispute cannot be resolved on its own, court action may be necessary. Courts have broad powers to resolve real estate disputes, such as issuing orders to determine who owns disputed property and entering injunctions to prohibit the unlawful use of land
If you are involved in a property dispute, contact me for a consultation.