What is encroachment?
Encroachment, also referred to as structural encroachment, happens when a property owner violates the property rights of their neighbor by extending or building on that neighbor’s property. This can be an issue both intentionally and unintentionally when a property owner is unaware of their property boundaries.
What does encroachment look like?
Encroachment happens when a piece of property, such as a fence, crosses the property lines. Other examples of encroachment include trees, parts of buildings, or other fixtures are located on both pieces of property.
An intentional encroachment typically occurs when the two neighbors don’t get along. However, there are times in which the government can be the one encroaching. In this case, the government needs to get a zoning permit.
Most the time, an encroachment is unintentional. An unintentional encroachment often happens when the property owner is not aware of valid property lines. It is also likely to occur when the neighbor has the wrong information about the extent to which their property lines end.
What to do if your land is encroached upon?
If your land is being encroached upon by a neighbor, talk to them first. Request that they remove whatever it is that’s encroaching on your property. They might not be aware that they are encroaching. You can also consider selling that land to your neighbor. If neither of these work, you can take the person to court and have the encroachment removed by a court order.
If the encroachment is found during the sale of the home, the seller may be able to work with the encroacher before you purchase the home. They may be able to have the encroachment removed or resolved before the time of closing to ensure the title is clear. Make sure that all encroachments are found before the closing begins.