You hear the word all the time: Encroachment. But what happens when you are the one being encroached upon? In today’s blog, we are going to discuss the legalities surrounding encroachment and what you can do when your neighbor encroaches on your property. If you are currently dealing with an encroaching neighbor or are being sued for encroachment, do not hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Alex R. Hernandez Jr. Business Law. We would be happy to go over the situation with you and help you decide if you have a case.

What Is Encroachment?

Encroachment is one of the most common types of property disputes and occurs when a neighbor creates a structure that crosses over the property line onto land that you own. This can be a shed, a fence, a balcony, or even an overgrown tree. Encroachment can occur for several reasons. It is possible your neighbor is knowingly crossing onto your property line, did not check the paperwork that outlines the exact location of the property before building, or either you or the neighbor have an inaccurate deed that is giving one party contradicting information as to where the property ends.

Options For Handling An Encroaching Neighbor

    1. Talk It Out And Make A Deal: Let’s compare a property encroachment between friendly neighbors to a divorced couple who share custody of their child. If a couple has an amicable divorce and both agree that their child should spend equal amounts of time with both parents, they can come to a mutual agreement without going through a legal battle or ever stepping foot in a courtroom. Everyone is happy and no lawyers are involved. The same can go for your encroaching neighbor. Perhaps their orange tree is growing over onto your property. If they say you can have free oranges for life and you’re okay with that deal, then that’s a win. If you still don’t want it on your property, they might agree to take it down to avoid having a real estate lawyer get involved. Other options include making a rent deal with your neighbor where they pay you a monthly rent to keep their encroaching structure on your property. Make sure whatever deal you make is in writing and signed by all parties.
    2. Sell Them The Land: If you really don’t like that your neighbor’s fence is on your property but your neighbor is unwilling to take it down, you can give them the option to buy the land from you before filing an encroachment lawsuit. This is often a happy medium between neighbors as the encroaching neighbor doesn’t have to go through a legal battle and the neighbor being encroached upon can make a little bit of money by selling the strip of land.  
    3. Give Them Written Permission To Use The Land: Even if you don’t bat an eye at your neighbor’s fence or shed that encroaches on your property, you should bring it up as soon as you notice it. Many neighbors are friendly with one another and don’t mind if their neighbor is using a small strip of their property and don’t want anything in return. However, ignoring it can give your neighbor the advantage in the future if they attempt to claim adverse possession (“squatters rights”) of that land. Let your neighbor know you noticed a structure they own is crossing over the property line and give them written permission to continue to use that land. Your real estate lawyer can draw up a binding contract for this type of situation.
    4. File An Encroachment Lawsuit: Let’s say you want to add an addition to your home, but your neighbor’s shed is in the way and is on your land, or their tree is dropping apricots into your yard and posing a hazard for your dog. Whatever the encroachment is, it is always best to try and work it out outside of court to maintain a good relationship with your neighbor — you might live next door to each other for decades, after all. However, if you cannot resolve the issue, you can contact our real estate lawyers for a number of services. We can help to mediate the issue, or we can take the case to trial if needed. Our real estate litigation team is ready to fight on your behalf to ensure that your property remains yours.

Let Us Deal With Your Encroaching Neighbors

Encroachment is illegal, and while most cases of encroachment are an honest misunderstanding and easily resolved between neighbors, sometimes it is not so simple. For advice and legal aid dealing encroachment, be sure to contact your team of Corpus Christi real estate lawyers. We are happy to serve a wide range of Texas, including Victoria, Laredo, San Antonio, Rio Grande, and Port Lavaca.