What is Property Encroachment?

Owning a home is like a rite of passage. If you have lived in an apartment or other type of sharing housing complex, moving into your own home is an appreciable advancement. Home ownership brings many freedoms and responsibilities. You can design your own landscaping, repaint and completely remodel the interior of your home as you wish. Your home is not just a declaration of your personal style in decorating but becomes a representative of you to your neighbors. However, all renovations must be within the guidelines of property encroachment law, including avoiding encroachment on public property and illegally taking adverse possession of property.

Property Limitations

Although owning a home brings freedoms that are unable with living in an apartment, home ownership also represents limitations when it comes to your property lines. Every single family home has boundaries. The boundary lines or property limitations for your home can be found on the specification sheet that lists all of the other details for your home such as room sizes and total square footage of your home. Familiarizing yourself with these specifications and knowing the limits of your property can save you hassles should you run into any problems with your neighbors about where your property ends and their property begins.

Understanding Property Encroachment

Property encroachment occurs when one property has its home or other piece of property owned by the homeowner such as a pool or bushes, extends from the one property to another. In some cases, when the encroachment exists before you purchase your property, the owner that has the encroachment is not required to remove it, particularly in the case of a house eave or addition that extends the original property into an encroachment situation. When you have an encroachment situation where an agreement cannot be reached, it will be necessary to take the matter to court and let a judge make an official ruling.

Encroachment Warnings

As with any matter that is of a civil nature, you cannot simply take matters into your own hands. Remember these warnings:

  • You cannot simply remove an encroachment, even though it is on your property.
  • Both you and the property owner with the encroachment on your property have rights.
  • You may be prosecuted by the property owner with the encroachment if you destroy their property.

Encroachment Suggestions

When an encroachment stands over your property and you do not wish to let it say, consider the following suggestions before you take legal action against your neighbor:

  • Have a face-to-face discussion and present the reasons why you want the encroachment removed.
  • Take the time to listen to why your neighbor may want the encroachment to stay.
  • Try to resolve matters peacefully and amicably.

In other cases, for shrubbery and fencing that can be removed, the encroachment does not have to remain if you don't want it on your property. It is wise, however to consider the impact that will be made if you force the other property owner to pay the costs to have landscaping or fencing removed.

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