What exactly is property encroachment? Encroachment happens when a certain property steps into the boundary of a neighbouring property.
One of the most common types of encroachment is structural encroachment – this is when a part of a building has stepped over the property line. However, gardening beds as well as fences stepping over the line can be considered an encroachment as well.
Why do encroachments happen? More often than not, an encroachment is an honest mistake. It might be that the previous surveyor miscalculated and thought it was still a part of the neighbouring property, or it could also be a misunderstanding between homeowners and contractors.
There are several ways to deal with encroachments. The easiest way is to politely ask your neighbour to remove the encroachment. This is not usually a big problem if it’s only a flower bed or something else that can easily be removed.
If it’s a fence or a part of a structure, you can strike up an agreement and have the other party pay rent for the part of your property that was encroached. Another option is to sell the “encroached” property to the other party so they’re free to use it.
If you would rather use your property, you can go to court and request for an order of removal instead.
This is exactly why land survey is very important if you’re going to buy a property. When it comes to encroachment, the earlier you address the problem, the better. This is because of the Adverse Possession laws.
This law states that if someone openly uses a piece of property for a certain period of time and pays taxes for it, they could claim possession for the property especially when no one complains about it.
Please note though that each state have different property encroachment laws so it’s best
that you talk to a lawyer and a land surveyor in your area.