If you’re having a boundary dispute with your neighbor, it may begin when you notice that they’re using your land as if they own it. Maybe they’re putting up a fence and you can see that it goes onto your property, or maybe they added on to their house and now it’s closer than it’s supposed to be to the property line.
If they are legally encroaching on your land, you may be tempted to go straight to legal action — and you may do so. However, it can be better to talk to them first. Here’s why.
Giving your neighbor the benefit of the doubt
Remember that you’re going to have to live next to this person for as long as you’re in the house, unless they move. It can help to be a good neighbor just so that you get along and avoid future disputes. Calmly presenting your concerns and being friendly about it can go a long way toward reaching a resolution.
This also allows you to find out what happened. Do they honestly think that it’s their land? Did they have a survey done that might be wrong? Do they understand that it’s your land, but they just don’t care? The way that you approach this really depends on their answers. Knowing why this has happened helps you decide what next steps to take. Give them the benefit of the doubt and ask, rather than assuming.
Talking to them also helps you understand how serious this dispute is going to get. If they’re just confused about the line but willing to adjust, maybe you just need a new survey. If they’re very confrontational and they tell you that you’re definitely wrong, maybe they’re not going to accept anything but a ruling from a judge. Once you figure that out, you can look into all of your legal options and decide what you need to do next.