What Are Your Legal Options If A Neighbor's Structure Crosses The Property Line?

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Real Estate: Live By the Law There are a lot of real estate laws. Perhaps you can name and describe a few of them, especially if you are someone who has bought or sold a home over the past few years. But chances are, if you are not a real estate attorney, you do not understand the deeper nuances of the real estate laws. This is why most people hire a real estate attorney when they buy or sell property. These attorneys are the real experts! Read more on this blog about real estate attorneys and their work, but at the end of the day, remember to hire a pro.



Property lines and structures generally shouldn't cross. The reality, however, is that people make mistakes regarding the placement of lines and where they think they can build. If a neighbor has literally crossed the line, though, what are your legal options?


Foremost, a real estate lawyer will strongly encourage you to verify that you're in the right on the matter. You can hire a professional surveyor to confirm where the property line is. Also, it's a good idea to have a real estate attorney perform a title search. They can determine if there are any outstanding easements or other rights transfers that might allow the structure to be there. Once you have all of the necessary information, you and a lawyer can get more serious about exploring potential solutions.

Do Nothing

A real estate attorney will almost always tell you this is the worst option. Even if you and the neighbor have a very amicable relationship, you don't want to create a status quo where the structure remains in place for years or decades without any legal reasoning. This may motivate a court to treat the tolerance of the structure as a de facto easement.

Whenever possible, clearly outline the legalities of an agreement. If you and the neighbor are cool, at least set up an easement in exchange for one dollar so you can document everything.


For lots of folks, an easement will be the preferred solution. This is a grant of legal access to that section of the property. If you do an easement officially, it becomes attached to the title so future generations will know what the terms are.

A real estate lawyer will always discourage creating a perpetual easement. Even if you like the current neighbor a lot, you might hate the next one. It is better to sunset the easement at a specific date or when the recipient dies or moves. If a later owner needs a new easement, you can always negotiate one.


One of the simpler solutions is just to sell the section of the property to the person who built the offending structure. You can calculate the value of the section property plus any damages for the degradation of the value of the remaining portion. Depending on the size of the two properties, the county registry can either move the boundaries or create a subdivision to account for the smaller segment.

Court Order

Finally, you could seek a court order demanding the removal of the structure. If a judge grants it, the court will likely order the offending party to demolish the section on your property at cost to them.

For more information, contact a real estate law firm in your area such as Peet Law Group.

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