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Options to pursue in dealing with encroachment

You have an expansive piece of land and someone decides to erect a structure on it either purposefully or because they didn't do proper surveying to get the property boundaries just right. What's described above is encroachment. It's one of the more common reasons real estate disputes get underway.

If you suspect that a neighbor has overstepped his or her property's boundaries, then you'll want to have a surveyor come out and mark where your property starts and ends.

Once your property's boundaries have been marked and you're sure that your property lines have been crossed, then you'll want to try to talk with your neighbor. You may want to see if they'd be willing to move the structure or if you can agree to some other type of plan of action. You may even decide to give them permission to leave the structure where it is despite the encroachment as a way to avoid legal wrangling.

If you do, though, it's important that you document that you're doing so in writing. That's because, when you go to sell the property, you're responsible for disclosing the encroachment to the new owner before he or she looks to buy. Additionally, having your agreement in writing will prevent against your neighbor being able to take adverse possession of your property if your relationship goes sour.

You may even elect to sell the property to the person who's responsible for the encroachment. If you are, you'll want to check with your mortgage lender to ensure that the land can be split up before agreeing to sell it.

Unless you and your neighbor can agree to one of the options listed above, you might have to go to court to duke it out. In doing so, you'll need to show the judge that you are indeed the bona fide owner of the property and that your neighbor is illegally using your land.

Whenever possible, neighbors should try to work out their real estate disputes calmly between one another, especially since they have to continue living side-by-side. In cases, though, in which it seems like neither party is willing to give in, you may benefit from the guidance that a St. George, Utah real estate litigation attorney can provide in terms of ways to resolve your dispute.

Source: FindLaw, "What can you do about an encroachment?," accessed Aug. 17, 2017

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