Clearing Up Florida Real Estate Boundary Disputes
Boundary disputes between neighbors are much more common than one might imagine, and they can be quite acrimonious if neither party is willing to budge. It is possible for boundary disputes to be resolved amicably, but if this becomes unlikely, it is crucial that you be aware of your rights and responsibilities with regard to your personal property. Contacting an experienced Florida attorney can help.
Know The Details
There are many different reasons why a boundary dispute may arise, and most of them have no malice behind them. One of the most common is a faulty survey – that is, a land surveyor making mistakes in their work, such as transposing numbers or placing stakes in the wrong position. Others include potential problems with the deed itself (such as the wrong draft being recorded), or the buyer of the property unwittingly agreeing to a boundary line that is not the one listed in the deed. This last most often happens when an easement has been granted through inaction.
Regardless of the cause, it is crucial to be aware of the exact nature of your potential dispute, because many people only think they understand the situation in which they find themselves. For example, if one neighbor tries to stop another from using a part of their land, but the usage has been going on for more than 7 years, they may not be aware that the second neighbor may have a valid claim of adverse possession. Consulting an attorney in the event of a potential problem may save you considerable time and expense.
Handling The Dispute
If you believe that your neighbor has encroached upon your land, it is always a good idea to attempt to resolve the issue amicably. Sometimes the encroachment or usage may be entirely unintentional, and a simple comparison of documents like surveys, plat maps, and title insurance-related paperwork can clear up the problem. However, litigation may still be avoided even if you cannot agree; some boundary disputes are cleared up by both parties’ engaging a professional mediator, who can help the parties reach a decision (though they cannot rule on the problem with any kind of legal force).
If litigation does become necessary, you have two options in terms of how to argue your case. One type of boundary dispute action is called an ejectment, where a plaintiff is seeking immediate removal of an alleged trespasser on their land. Any structures, such as fences, that were created on that land must also be removed. The other type of action is called a declaratory judgment, and this is less a civil lawsuit and more a statement of facts. Depending on one’s situation, a declaratory judgment as to who owns what land may be preferable to an ejectment action, simply because it is far less confrontational and most people have no wish to potentially alienate their neighbors if it can be avoided.
Contact A Tampa Real Estate Attorney
Because boundary disputes are so common, an average person may simply think their own research is enough to successfully navigate a lawsuit on the issue. In reality, there are many complex little details that can make or break this type of case. Tampa real estate attorney Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office can assist you with your case, and give you the best chance to prevail. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation.