Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.
Clients often call us frustrated, angry, and usually at wit’s end with an encroachment issue. The usual scenario is a neighbor erecting a new fence which crosses over the property line into the adjoining yard, by a few inches. Dealing with encroachment issues can be stressful for homeowners, but there are ways to handle these concerns that can provide a higher level of resolution than others. Additionally, there are legal remedies if the homeowners are not able to settle the issue themselves.
Encroachment: when another person puts up a structure that intrudes on (or over) your land
Below we will discuss a few common ways to handle an encroachment issue that can be taken care of quickly, easily, and without legal representation. The more amicably neighbors behave in encroachment cases, the easier it will be to solve the issues and move forward. Of course, having a good working relationship is not always possible, but should be the goal for homeowners living in a neighborhood.
Schedule a Professional Land Survey
The first step in assessing whether there is an encroachment issue between the properties is to schedule a professional land survey. Your existing survey may be too old, the land may have shifted or settled, and thus it’s always prudent to have an updated survey clearly marking the property lines. Sometimes, homeowners bicker about boundaries without definitively knowing where their property line begins and ends. If one neighbor wants another neighbor to move a fence or other structure, that neighbor will first want to verify that the structure is encroaching on the other neighbor’s property. In Texas with front entry garage homes, there is also an issue with “shared” fences between homes, which creates additional encroachment issues.
A land survey conducted by a professional can help ensure that the boundaries between neighboring properties are clearly understood. Then decisions about whether there is encroachment and how to handle it can be more easily made. Encroachment issues do not have to cause a lot of tension between neighbors, provided those neighbors are willing to work together to solve the problem.
Talking things out and addressing the issue head-on can be among the best ways to solve any problem between neighbors. If a land survey has determined that there really is encroachment, or if the neighbors agree that encroachment is an issue, then it is time to look for a solution. Offering a concession, such as moving a fence line or repositioning another structure, is generally the right thing to do. In some cases, though, that can be very difficult and emotionally charged.
In certain instances, for neighbors who do not want to move things or for whom that is really not feasible, another way to potentially solve the issue is to offer to pay for the usage. In other words, this can be achieved through the encroaching neighbor paying a yearly fee to use the land (even if it’s a matter of inches), or even buying the small strip of land on which the fence or structure encroaches. Remember, encroachment does not require a “substantial” taking, even mere inches will suffice.
Mediation is an excellent option for neighbors who can neither agree nor want to get attorneys involved. A mediator is a neutral third party who can provide assistance by facilitating the conversation. Mediators are able to separate the facts from the surging emotions and come to a compromise that works for both parties. Mediation is generally less expensive than the fee an attorney would charge, and a professional mediator can help both neighbors hone in on the real issues that are bothering them. In most cases, the encroaching structure is not in the way of anything else. The fence line could possibly be a few inches off, but the emotions involved and the lack of respect in resolving the matter are at the crux of the problem.
Further, encroachment issues tend to be about the value of the land being used, the fact that it does not belong to the user, and the potential liability from using the sliver of property in dispute. By working with a third party and solving the issue through mediation, neighbors have a chance to settle their differences, solve the encroachment issue, and move forward without animosity.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
If all attempts fail, you should seek the assistance of an experienced property law attorney in your area. A real estate lawyer will be able to advise you on the best and most cost-effective way to settle the boundary dispute.
I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not, “do you have any questions?” But rather, “what questions do you have?”
As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!
Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?