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Property Line Laws

What is a property line?

A property line is a legal boundary line that defines your property and separates it from your neighbor’s. If your neighbor has a fence, a structure or a new addition to his home that crosses your property line, this could end up becoming a boundary dispute. In a situation like this, by comparing deed copies, you can clearly make out where your property lines lie. If the deed does not show it, you can arrange for a paid survey to earmark your property line.

Listed below are a few questions answered by lawyers on property line related issues.

My neighbor built a fence on my property before I bought it. How can I make him move it?

Case Details: At a certain point, the fence extends 60 feet into my property. 

What you should first do is to contact a property lawyer to understand your rights. This is important since many states have a legal concept called “adverse possession”. This is basically a legal way to get title to land that does not belong to you by possessing it openly for a certain amount of time. The property lawyer will go through your case and tell you if adverse possession already applies to you. In the event that it doesn’t apply, you will need to get the neighbor to move the fence, otherwise he/she might be able to get the title to the land through adverse possession at some point. You may want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Are new owners of a neighboring property responsible for repairing a wall on my property line?

Case Details: Location is Brooklyn. There was an unfinished wall built with uneven bricks and bulging cement on my property line when I moved in. Now new owners have moved in on the other side of the wall. 

The exterior part of the wall needs to be finished. What you could do is file a complaint with code enforcement. You could find more information at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/contact/contact.shtml

When involved in a property line dispute with a neighbor, can squatter’s rights be claimed if you've been maintaining the disputed area for the past 10 years?

Case Details: Location - Wisconsin. Papers show that the neighbor owns less than 10 feet on one side. This would make the land under debate belong to my daughter but no one knows exactly where the property corners are. 

Based on the facts of your case, your daughter seems to have ownership and the right to possession. If there continues to be a dispute regarding this, then both parties should hire an attorney to try and sort out the matter without having to go to court and file a lawsuit. Squatter’s rights falls under adverse possession which requires that your daughter and any previous owners need to have maintained the section of the property for at least 20 years continuously to have become entitled to claim ownership.

Is there a time limit to file a law suit for adverse possession of land that my fense covers over the property line?

Case Detils: My neighbor did a survey of his land in Oregon and it seems like my fence has crossed the property line and is on his lot by four feet. I think this land should be mine by way of adverse possession.

To acquire quiet title to this land by adverse possession, you would need to prove to the court that your use of the land has been continuous, open, notorious, and hostile for the statutory period. This period would amount to 10 years in Oregon per Oregon Code 105.620; 12.050.

Arguments or disagreements over property lines can lead to a lot of unpleasantness and poor neighborly relations. That is why it is best to find out where your property line ends and have clear documentation that proves it.

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