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Boundary disputes can be settled without hiring a lawyer. Border line encroachment may happen between adjacent property owners, intentionally or unintentionally. Encroachment of boundary lines may lead to a boundary dispute or an adverse possession claim.
Encroachment disputes arise when a neighbor constructs border line fences or boundary walls exceeding the exact boundary line and invades upon the other's property. An encroached land owner may report the encroachment to the local authority or may approach the court for appropriate relief. In an encroachment dispute, the claimant claims ownership over a portion of property alleged to be encroached by his/her neighbor.
Another situation that commonly arises in a boundary line dispute is an adverse possession claim. Adverse possession, also called squatters rights, is a legal process by which one obtains legal title to a property owned by others. Adverse possession arises when a person occupies property of another and the true owner takes no action to dispossess the claimant. In an adverse possession, when the true owner abandons claim of rights on a property for a specified period of time, generally ten to twenty years, the claimant gains a prescriptive easement. A prescriptive easement is a right on another's property obtained by continuous use for a specified period.
Ambiguity or vagueness regarding the exact location of a boundary line can be clarified by a boundary line agreement. A written boundary line agreement resolves disputes over the property boundaries. By signing a boundary line agreement, parties recognize the true boundary line between the properties and relinquish their interests on the other side of the division line.
Property owners may officially mark their boundary by a fence or border line. Boundary line adjustment is the process of altering property lines. For boundary line adjustment, property owners have to submit a property boundary line adjustment application before the local authority. Along with the application form, the current and proposed legal descriptions of the property prepared by a land surveyor must be submitted. However, property boundary line adjustment method may not be applied in adjusting utilities, easements, or other non-property line elements. In order to create a legal right to use shared areas, property owners may enter into reciprocal easement agreements.
To change the border lines between two cities, the city councils may execute an agreement to alter boundaries. When there is a right of way of the road, public street, or highway on their borders, the agreement should contain disclosures about the partial common border of the cities.