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Encroachment today: Fences, garages and saws — oh my!

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Real Estate Disputes |

Boundary disputes are not a novel concept. Neighbors have argued about where the line between their property lies for centuries. Otherwise amicable neighbor relations can quickly turn sour if the two disagree on where a fence should go or whether a tree is infringing. Questions like whether or not a neighbor can saw down another’s garage if it infringes on the property line may seem extreme, but still happen today. In fact, this very question is currently getting asked in a real estate dispute case out of the Northeast.

Did a property owner really saw down his neighbor’s garage?

In short, yes. The case involves a man from Maine that used a Sawzall to cut down a part of his neighbor’s garage that went over the property line. The act was a culmination of a dispute that had spanned years and became contentious just a few a months ago.

This type of dispute arose due to allegations of encroachment. Encroaching can also occur when a neighbor puts a fence on another’s property, stores things on another’s property or uses another’s land to hunt.

How do property owners resolve these disputes?

Property owners can review old maps and have a surveyor walk the property to help understand where the boundary line lies. This can lead to enough information to help guide negotiations with a neighbor. If the property owners cannot come up with a resolution, they could then consider entering a form of alternate dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration. The parties may also take the matter to court to resolve the dispute.