Even with property lines, fences, and hedges to divide up yards, you might find yourself getting into fights with your neighbors. Little problems can quickly escalate into big arguments, which can make living in your neighborhood not just awkward, but even downright scary. Disputes happen—here’s how to handle them without turning your neighbors into enemies:
Preventing the dispute before it happens is one of the best ways to make sure that you are never in a long, protracted battle with a neighbor. Trees and their branches draping over fences and into other’s yards are some of the most common reasons that neighbors fight.
If there is a small tree near the property line that is likely to grow until it crosses the line, it is a good idea to talk to your neighbor about the tree before it is an issue to ensure that both of you understand who owns the tree and what should be done about it when its branches start crossing property lines. If either owner is unsure where the property line is, they should have a survey done to establish the line.
Another common dispute neighbors have is about fences. We’ve all heard that fences make good neighbors, if you put up a fence without being absolutely sure where the boundary is between your yard and the next, you might actually be building a fence on someone else’s property. The best course of action is to never guess about where you can build and to always have a surveyor come out and tell you where your fence can be before you put any poles in the ground.
What to Do If a Fight Escalates
In general, most neighbors are congenial and won’t take you to court because a branch of your pine tree is growing into their yard. At the very most, they may ask you to cut that branch off so that it doesn’t drop pine needles or pinecones into their yard. If a fight does escalate and one party decides to take legal action, it is important to make sure you are getting the best information from the most relevant sources. Ask county surveyors to provide definitive information about the property lines and consider hiring a property rights lawyer to aid in the dispute.