How to Settle Property Line Disputes with a Neighbour?
How to Settle Property Line Disputes with a Neighbour?

How to Settle Property Line Disputes with a Neighbour?

(1) Introduction: 

The property line dispute may arise very commonly with our Neighbour. Sometimes, it may be directly or indirectly. Many times, we face issues regarding our property boundary line with Neighbours. There is no straitjacket formula to find out every property line dispute. It can vary on different types of boundary disputes can arise.

Like, sometimes, a Neighbour uses our property’s boundary for pathway purposes and passes the long period they would claim for his easement right. Sometimes, the deed of property boundary does not mention an accurate description between the two boundaries, and they try to enforce our possession and use our property by way of adverse possession and claim ownership of the property.

Sometimes, we do not create accurate records of our property areas, and they get benefits with bad intentions to cover our property boundary line into his area. In the same way, when we do not create any records of our property, they try to claim his ownership of our property. You will live with a Neighbour for some time, So it is advisable to resolve that problem without damaging your relationship with your Neighbour. This article will discuss how to resolve property line disputes with the Neighbour.

(2) Understand the boundary line issue from your side:

You have to know and identify the property line issue from your side. And after that, you have to find out the cause and type of nature of the dispute. For that, you need to understand the boundaries of the property.

Then, you can conclude the question of whether your Neighbour encroaches on your property boundary or not. And if that is true, try to know how they are encroaching on the boundary line of your property. A notable thing you must know is that without finding a fact, you can not allege regarding the property boundary line issue.

(3) Survey the property:

After considering the real issue, you have to collect all details of your property, and you need to verify whether the property dispute has arisen or not. Hire an authentic and licensed property surveyor to survey the property. The surveyor will make a boundary after identifying the property boundary line. The surveyor creates remarks about the boundary line, which helps you to conclude whether the property encroached on.

Here, one question that will arise in your mind is if the property line encroachment is found out, then who will pay for the survey? In the answer to this question, we can say that you have to pay for a survey of your property to define the exact location and boundary line. Because sometimes, your Neighbour is not aware of that issue. That’s why maybe they will not agree to the survey. So, to sort out this issue, you have to pay.

If you are willing to afford the cost of a survey, your neighbor will not oppose you for the survey, and you can easily find out the issue of whether your Neighbour has covered your property line. Sometimes, to find out the truth, you would also need to survey your Neighbour’s property, and if they are not willing, you need to convince them, and for these purposes, you have to pay for survey charges of your neighbor’s property.

(4) Search a title of your property: 

You need to search the title of your property because the title documents show which type of property rights you have of your ownership of property and how you acquire rights from whom. You need to hire an advocate who works for you to search for the title of your property. An attorney will collect recorded documents, which help you find out the legal title of your property. In this way, an attorney can guide you about your title and guide you to know the legal rights of your property. This title survey will help you to find the property boundary line issue with your Neighbour.

(5) negotiate and freely discuss with your Neighbour: 

This step is a good and easy way to sort out the property line issue ( if any). By identifying your property and verifying the title through an attorney., any issue arises that your neighbor has trespassed on your property by doing a violation and tried to damage your property rights. You need to get a happy ending with your neighbor for that, start the negotiation, and freely discuss with your Neighbour about that topic. For that, you may contact your Neighbour to discuss the property boundary line, contact them at his convenience, and start communication with them.

To contact your Neighbour, making a personal visit or phone call is very convenient. But if it is not possible, you can send them an email or letter for your subject matter regarding the boundary line issue. A personal meeting is more effective than other ways to contact your Neighbour because you can show and share your property survey directly face to face. If the property boundary line issue is created by misrepresentation or unawareness of the boundary line, you can talk with them with your proof. During this discussion, if your Neighbour wants to survey his property, you should give him time for the assessment. Discuss with them to resolve all the disputes smoothly.

(6) Choose a mediator:

You can sort out the dispute through a mediator. Select a trusted mediator. A third-party mediator can easily communicate with both parties. This action is also beneficial for both parties to resolve the property boundary line issue. A mediator can help you to sort out the real issue. He can analyze all documents from both sides and help to resolve the issue.

(7) Create a written agreement with your Neighbour:

After a discussion with the mediator, if both parties come to the result of a settlement, you should try to convert your settlement in writing form. The written settlement agreement must specify all terms and conditions binding to you and your Neighbour. It is necessary to avoid a future dispute about the boundary line issue. The mediator plays a significant role in preparing a settlement agreement, according to the understanding of both parties. You need to read all terms and conditions before signing an agreement because it also binds you in the future.

But after all, if there is no result through negotiating or by the way of the mediator. Then, there is no other way for you to resolve the dispute except to file a lawsuit to protect your property rights.

(8) File a lawsuit against your Neighbour to resolve the property line dispute:

After considering the above options, if there is no result regarding your property line dispute with your Neighbour. Then there is the last option for you to file a lawsuit against your Neighbour about your property line dispute.

Here is one thing you should know. Why are we talking about putting the last option to file a suit? Because all of the above actions are not very expensive compared to filing a lawsuit. Of course, it maintains a smooth relationship with your Neighbour too.

But compared to other options, filing a lawsuit is much more expensive in terms of money and time (in years). When you choose to take legal action against your Neighbour for that, you need to hire an attorney who can handle property disputes according to laws. The first step of your process to file a lawsuit is to consult a civil lawyer, who can help you to get success to sort out a property line dispute with your Neighbour.

Let’s refer to some case studies that can help to protect your property boundary line issues.

In the case of E. Achuthan Nair  Vs. P. Narayanan Nair and another, (AIR 1987 SC 2137)[1]. The Supreme Court observed that A suit for demarcating the boundary of a property is maintainable. In India, the question of whether a suit is cognizable by a civil Court is to be decided with reference to S. 9. If the suit is of a civil nature, the Court will have jurisdiction to try the suit unless it is either expressly or impliedly barred. A dispute regarding the identification of a boundary, or property line dispute between two adjacent property owners is certainly a dispute of a civil nature, and it is not barred either expressly or impliedly. The technicalities of English law and the distinction made by the English Courts between legal estates and equitable estates, cannot be imported into our jurisprudence.

In the case of Laxman Wamanrao Nagapure Vs Shankar Haribhau Adhau (2014(6) ALL MR 635),[2]. The Bombay High Court observed that the suit for removal of encroachment from and possession of the immovable property. A plaintiff must be careful to describe the property by its boundaries. Survey Number/Gat Number with area mentioning boundaries on North, East, West, and South of property. Without such a description, the trial Court may not be assisted properly by the plaintiff to pass an effective decree if it is passed for the removal of encroachment from the suit land/property in such cases.

Reference:  

(1) E.Achuthan Nair Vs. P. Narayanan Nair and another, AIR 1987 SC 2137.

(2) Laxman Wamanrao Nagapure Vs Shankar Haribhau Adhau,2014(6) ALL MR 635.

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