How to Deal with Property Encroachment

What exactly do we mean when we say “Property encroachment”?

property encroachmentIn a nutshell, “property encroachment” means having a property step into the boundaries of another property.

There are different types of property encroachment, and one of the most common types is called “structural encroachment”.

Structural encroachment happens when a part of a certain building steps over the property line of another property. Let me mention though, that small “structures” like fences and gardening beds can be considered encroachments too.

Why do property encroachment even happen?

In most cases, encroachments are honest mistakes. This usually happens because the last person who surveyed the property miscalculated, therefore (unknowingly) giving the owners wrong results. It could also be a result of a misunderstanding between contractors and homeowners.

How should I deal with encroachments?

There are several ways to deal with encroachments. One of the easiest ways is to ask your neighbor, in the most polite way possible, to remove the encroachment. If it’s something small like a flower bed, then it should not cause any problem at all.

Sometimes, asking politely really is the best solution.

If it’s something bigger like a part of a building or a fence, here’s what you can do:

  • Strike up an agreement and have your neighbor pay rent for the part of your property that they are using.
  • Sell the part of your property being encroached so they can freely use it.

If you would rather use the part of your property being encroached, you can always go to court and request for an order of removal instead.

The Adverse Possession Laws

The Adverse Possession Law can be a real pain in the neck if you’re the property owner and had no idea that a part of your property was being used. This is because, according to this law:

If someone openly uses a piece of property and pays taxes for it, they can claim possession of it after a certain time period especially when no one complains about it.

Every state has different encroachment law, so we highly suggest that you talk to a land surveyor as well as a lawyer in your area so you’ll know the best ways to approach any encroachment problems.

For questions and assistance regarding property encroachment, give us a call at (256) 392-8208 or send us a message by filling out a contact form.