Using a Lawyer to Address a Boundary Dispute

Surveying your land and closely examining the deeds prior to the final purchase agreement makes life easier, and will help you avoid boundary disputes. It is important to do this, because markers or monuments that the previous owners described that mark boundaries for their land may no longer be there and therefore it can make it hard to know where the boundary lines are. Many times, land boundaries will also be described in terms that no longer make sense, as referring to things that no longer exist or “by and along the land of Jones”. Although this is a good start to help avoid conflict, many legal doctrines can stand in the way. In the worst cases, this can leave buyers with a lot less land than they purchased the land for.

Boundry Dispute Lawyer

For example, in Rogers vs. Moore (Minn. 1999), the Roger family owned a piece of land directly south of an adjoining property to the north, with a gravel driveway as the northern border of the Rogers property. They held this property for just short of 30 years. Near the end of the 30 year ownership, the Moores purchased the piece of property to the north. When the Moores purchases this piece of land, they had it surveyed, and found that the Rogers’ driveway actually encroached on their land by three feet. As the Moores did not agree to this, the decided to build a fence on their portion of the driveway and eventually installed a pole to block the driveway from being used. Which then resulted in the legal dispute of the land.

The court decided that the Rogers were allowed to continue their use of the full driveway because they had created a prescriptive easement. This means, “showing that the property has been used in an actual, open, continuous, exclusive and hostile manner for 15 years.” This must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The Rogers’ use of the driveway over the years was enough to meet this burden, so they were allowed to continue their use.

Property Dispute Attorney

As you can see property rights are not always reflected in any written instrument. This does not mean that they will not be enforced. Also, property disputes get personal, and resolving them in often a difficult discussion. Surveying the land and examining the deed reveal much information about a property and are necessary steps to take before the purchase of any land. Although this will help, it may fail to uncover certain non-written restrictions on the property. As land disputes can be difficult, it is important to hire an attorney to review the case, see what your options are and what are the best steps to take to resolve the issue.

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