Whether you have owned your Southern California property for years or recently acquired it, you could find yourself dealing with a boundary dispute at some point. Real estate boundary disputes can be complex and emotionally charged, especially in Southern California, where property values are high.
Disputes Over Boundaries Between Neighbors: How Do They Begin?
Boundary disputes can arise due to various reasons. Sometimes one party may believe that the other is encroaching on their land. For instance, a homeowner may install a fence that encroaches several feet within their neighbor's property line. A commercial investment firm may discover that a neighboring business has added landscaping that trespasses on their property boundary. Natural boundaries such as roads or rivers may shift or be modified, resulting in conflicts between neighboring property owners. These issues can create challenges that need to be addressed to avoid disputes and maintain good relationships between neighbors.
How to Deal with Boundary Disputes
Many Californian property owners are surprised to learn just how complex it is to resolve boundary discrepancies. The following steps are often required:
Have a licensed surveyor survey the property to identify its boundaries;
Determine the market value of the property through an appraisal;
Conduct a full title search. This search aims to locate the documents associated with the property’s title, and uncover any easements or deeds that affect ownership.
It is difficult for most homeowners to navigate this process without legal assistance. The most effective course of action in such a situation is to immediately contact a real estate attorney who has experience handling property disputes.
Mediation services may also be beneficial in resolving boundary disputes. Mediation allows the parties involved to come together and discuss their issues and reach a mutual agreement without going to court. A skilled mediator can help defuse tensions, encourage communication, and often save the disputing parties both time and money. A real estate attorney with experience in litigation and mediation can improve the outcome.
Mediation has two advantages over litigation. It is far less expensive. No one can impose a decision that you cannot accept. You may not get everything you want in a mediation, but you will never have to accept a decision unless you think it is your best alternative.
In most cases, litigating a real estate dispute is a last resort because it can be lengthy and expensive. As expensive as it is to try a case, sometimes it is the only alternative. In a trial, a judge or jury will examine your land survey, deeds, and any other evidence you have to determine where your property lines lie and decide your legal rights.
This is why it is important to have an attorney on your side who has tried cases to judgment. A third party will decide the outcome. Depending on the type of case, the decision-maker might be a judge, a jury, or a combination of both. If you don’t like the outcome, your only remedy will be an appeal. It is difficult to win an appeal. You are better off with an attorney who knows the law and how to try a case.
Reach Out to Hamlin | Cody for Help with Your Real Estate Dispute
If you are currently dealing with a real estate boundary dispute in Southern California, it is important to seek expert legal advice from an experienced attorney. Our experienced real estate lawyers at Hamlin | Cody can review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. We welcome the opportunity to help you.