Property disputes can be both emotionally and financially draining. One of the most common sources of property disputes in North Carolina is boundary line issues. These disputes arise when property owners have disagreements or uncertainties regarding where one property ends and another begins.
Resolving boundary-line issues can be challenging, but it’s essential to address these disputes promptly to prevent further complications and legal entanglements.
What are boundary line issues?
Boundary line issues are disputes between neighboring property owners or municipalities over the exact location of property lines. These issues may arise due to outdated or inaccurate property surveys, unclear legal descriptions, or changes in natural features such as rivers or coastlines. In some cases, boundary line disputes can lead to legal battles and costly litigation.
It is important for property owners to have accurate surveys and clear legal descriptions to avoid boundary-line issues.
Resolving a boundary line dispute in North Carolina
As with any property dispute, it’s wise to seek legal advice from an experienced real estate attorney early on if you find yourself in the midst of a boundary-line dispute. Boundary line disputes can be complex and time-consuming, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you can protect your property rights and find a resolution that works for everyone involved.
An attorney can review the details of your case, advise you on your rights, pull any necessary documents for you, and represent your interests in court if necessary. Real estate attorneys understand North Carolina’s specific laws and regulations regarding property boundaries and can help you navigate the legal system.
It is important to note that North Carolina is a “race-notice” state, which means that the first person to record their deed with the county register of deeds has priority over conflicting claims.
Here’s a brief overview of the boundary-line dispute resolution process:
Review Your Property Deeds and Surveys
The first step in resolving a boundary line issue is to review your property deeds and surveys. Property deeds contain valuable information about the property’s boundaries, and surveys provide detailed measurements of the property lines. It’s important to ensure that both documents are accurate and up-to-date. If you don’t have a survey, consider hiring a professional land surveyor to create one. This can provide a clear and legally binding definition of your property lines.
Communicate with Your Neighbor
Once you have a clear understanding of your property boundaries, the next step is to communicate with your neighbor. It’s essential to approach this conversation with a cooperative and non-confrontational attitude. Share your findings, and if necessary, provide copies of your property deeds and surveys. Your neighbor may not be aware of the issue or may have a different understanding of the boundaries.
If a friendly conversation doesn’t resolve the issue, consider mediation. Mediation involves a neutral third party who can help facilitate a discussion between you and your neighbor. Mediation is often a less costly and time-consuming alternative to going to court. In North Carolina, many local courts have mediation programs for property disputes. It’s a practical approach to finding a mutually agreeable solution.
In some cases, neighbors can reach an agreement on boundary lines through a legally binding document called a boundary agreement. This document clearly defines the agreed-upon boundary lines and is recorded with the county Register of Deeds. It provides a legal resolution that both parties must abide by, and it can prevent future disputes.
North Carolina, like many states, recognizes the legal concept of adverse possession. If someone has openly, continuously, and exclusively occupied a piece of your land for a specified period (usually 20 years in North Carolina), they may gain legal title to that portion. If you believe adverse possession may be at play, consult with a real estate attorney to understand your rights and options.
Turn to Starling, Rodriguez & Associates
At Starling, Rodriguez & Associates, our experienced real estate attorneys in North Carolina have a proven track record of successfully resolving property disputes, including boundary line issues. If you’re facing a property dispute, whether it’s with a neighbor or a larger legal issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our experienced real estate attorneys can review your property documents, conduct a survey of the property, and negotiate with your neighbor to try to reach a resolution. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you navigate the complexities of real estate law. Your peace of mind is our priority.