What is the meaning of Real Estate Encroachment? How to Avoid Real Estate Encroachment? How to Protect Your Properties or Lands? When it comes to real estate, whether it is an undeveloped land or inhabited area, whatever the property, every owner has his or her legal portion.
Certainly, no man is an island with an entire area to himself. Everyone has a neighbour sharing property boundaries with them and once in a while, there are cases of land battles. These battles involve a piece of property of someone, crosses lines of property into a neighbour’s land. This is referred to as Encroachment.
No property owner enjoys having their property encroached upon especially if the encroachment is one that greatly bothers them.
If you happen to find your property encroached by others, what really do you do?
- Approach the party involved.
This is really easy to do, especially if you are on talking terms with them (because most neighbours are n’t and cases of encroachment usually arise, fueled by bad blood between them). It is always much easier to simply talk it out and reach an agreement of some sort.
Both parties involved can decide to not make a case out of it especially if the person of land encroached is not very significant. If it is, the affected party could agree to lease out or sell the property of the property encroached to the encroacher.
- Get a third party involved if you both cannot resolve it.
Should a one on one approach not work, being a third party involved might be a great idea. Even better if it is someone with a wealth of experience in real estate. The third-party (a neutral individual mostly) would be unbiased in proffering solutions to the problem. This is still another way of preventing the legal approach as it is likely to cost both parties some amount of money to push the case.
- Take it to court:
Resolving encroachment issues in a friendly manner mostly does not work and might not favour the parties involved because it might end up in an even more volatile state.
Considering that both parties involved in such cases are neighbours, getting legal counsel and verdict on the matter might just be what both parties need.
With legal counsel and verdicts, the parties involved are spared any form of confrontations as they simply make their case in a court or legal counsel’s office. The civil manner with which the case would be handled certainly puts the matter to rest.
When Mr A has his property encroached by Mr B and he wants to resolve it. Mr A might try the one on one approach or third party process and fails to fix it, then chooses the legal option. He might not even want to do either but to take legal action right away. Mr A must know that the choice in itself would cost some money and might take time. He then contacts a real estate attorney who of course should be well versed in such cases and would provide the best possible advice in relation to the case. Mr A should be ready to;
- Prove that the property encroached is legally his. He will provide documents showing that the property is actually owned by him.
- Provide proof that his property is being encroached and should be removed.
Going legal might not be the best option sometimes because the offended might lose the case or it might take too much time to get the case resolved. Another point to consider is taking neighbours to court. As these are the people that live around you, you might want to reconsider taking any legal action against them. Being polite or friendly might be the best approach as it helps maintain relationships better.
Sometimes, some encroachments occur without the knowledge of the supposed offender and resolving the issue amicably would be better than going to court with it.
How to Avoid Real Estate Encroachment? How to Protect Your Properties or Lands?
Encroachment is the act of extending the boundaries of your property to an unowned land. It is a violation that can be accidental or on purpose. Either way, you will not appreciate someone else building on top of your property. But if you do not protect your land with proper markers, the likelihood of encroachment by a neighbor is high. Once that happens, it gets tough to reverse the process.
So how can you properly mark your land without immediately building on it? There are some quick and simple ideas you can apply to do so. In case you do not plan on construction any time soon, you should make use of the following ways to protect your property.
Survey the Property
The protection from encroachment starts even before you buy land as property. You must take every measure possible to ensure that the property you are interested in is free of past or present encroachment issues.
It is hard to identify encroachment by physically looking at a property. So what can you do for a thorough survey? The first step is to check the property registration records. It will give you a handful of information on the property, including any past issues with neighboring properties. Afterward, see to it that you buy the land from the owner himself and not making payments through a third party. It is unlikely that a property does not have a digitized record in the current age, but it is still a good habit of checking for that record.
Personal Documentation of the Property
As soon as you get your hands on a property, you must get all the legal documentation point to you as the owner. Only then can you take authority and deal with matters relating to that property.
Once you own a land, you must also pay a periodic amount as a tax on it. You will have to keep up with this record at all times and ensure that authorities get this amount. Otherwise, you may lose your hold on the property itself.
Other than handling the property documentation, you should also register yourself as an owner with the local vicinity authorities. It will include information on yourself and your property. In the initial period of ownership, you should also get in touch with the neighbors to your property to develop an understanding. It will help you deal with future issues on a personal level and without having to go through legal processes.
Install Small Fencing or Markings
Once you get through all the legal documentation procedures and the property is all but yours, you should have its boundaries property marked to avoid encroachment. It will prevent accidental extension of construction from neighbors to your land.
The idea is to have a visible boundary that marks your land. As such, the markings must be physical ones that extend from the ground and have an appropriate height. A couple of suitable options are metal fencing along the edge of the land, or a small brick wall about a meter tall.
Regularly Check the Property
Once you have all the precautionary measures for encroachment in place, you should visit the land from time to time to check its condition. You can hire the services of a real estate surveyor to check for encroachment on your visits.
Conclusion – Mistakes to Avoid
Encroachment of property is neither easy to identify nor simple to reverse. But the ways to protect against it are not difficult to implement. Hence, there is no reason for you to not check for encroachment every time you deal with a property.