“Good fences make good neighbors.” In other words, having clear boundaries—and respecting them—are often key to a harmonious relationship with those whose properties abut yours.
No matter how well you might respect these boundary lines, though, there is no guarantee your neighbors will extend the same courtesy. Usually, the easiest and simplest way to rectify such issues is to politely bring up the topic with the neighbor in question. This method is more likely than others to preserve any amicable feelings. If that doesn’t work, there are legal actions you may take to preserve what is rightfully yours.
Before deciding what to do, it is important to know that you don’t have unlimited time to ponder the issue. Oklahoma property owners generally have two years from discovering a boundary line violation to take legal action. Don’t delay!
Common Boundary Line Disputes
Boundary line disputes between neighbors often arise after one erects a structure, like a fence, storage shed, patio, or standalone garage, on the other’s property. The encroaching property owner may not even be aware that they’ve built something not completely situated on their own property. Regardless of your neighbor’s intentions, you should not feel guilty about using the law to protect your property rights.
Two common encroachments not directly involving boundary lines are noise complaints and others parking vehicles in front of your driveway. These may sometimes be considered nuisances or trespassing violations. While an Oklahoma attorney could help you resolve these issues, they are not generally dealt with in the same way as structural encroachments.
First Step: Get a Property Survey
Before making claims about encroachment, it is often best to conduct a thorough survey. You might have had one done when you purchased your property. If there’s any doubt over its accuracy or legitimacy, though, our firm advises you to conduct a new survey to confirm any suspicions over encroachment. If you determine that your neighbor is indeed encroaching on your property, your attorney might present a few options.
Potential Solutions to Property Encroachment
Based on your goals, you may choose to pursue one of several legal options to protect your interests.
- Execute a quiet title action. If, for some reason, you cannot show your neighbor has encroached on your property after conducting the survey, you may need to file a quiet title action with your attorney. This involves proving, in court, that you own the section of the property in dispute.
- “Selling” the portion of the property that has been encroached upon. If the encroachment is not reducing your ability to enjoy full use of your property, you may consider letting your neighbor pay a monthly fee to keep the encroachment.
- If you do not act in a timely manner, your neighbor may file an adverse possession action in court. We covered this topic in-depth in a previous blog, but a successful adverse possession action means the encroacher becomes the lawful owner of the portion of the property in question.
Talk With an Attorney About Protecting Your Property
A property dispute that might seem simple at the outset can quickly expand into a drawn-out legal battle. Without prompt action, your neighbor’s encroachment could become legal, which might affect your enjoyment of the property and its overall value. Speaking to an experienced Oklahoma attorney is the best option for property owners worried about encroachments and other violations of their interests. Pence Law Firm would be honored to represent you.