Your home is your castle, no matter whether it’s a bachelor studio, small house in a suburban setting or a mansion in the outback of Australia! There’s always bound to be someone on the boundary of your property even if they’re miles away from you. Unless you’ve chosen to live far away from any civilisation, you’re surrounded by neighbours!
Neighbours are a vital part of your community and it’s always a good idea to be on friendly terms with them. But, occasionally there’s that one neighbour who takes chances with extending their territory onto your land to build a wall, garage or extra room on their house. When this happens, you may start searching for property lawyers Melbourne homeowners in similar situations use to settle such cases.
There are a number of ways you can settle a property dispute with your neighbour before it turns into a battle of lands and you end up in more trouble than it’s worth! Read on for tips on how to come to an amicable agreement with your neighbour so there’s no property dispute.
3 Top Tips for Settling a Property Dispute with Your Neighbour
1. Approach the Neighbour
The first step to settling any discord is to approach the offending party. If you notice your neighbour is planning to build a wall or extend their garage or house onto your land, approach them for a friendly discussion. Find out what they’re planning to do and ask to see their building plans.
Pre-approval notification of any development in a neighbourhood within a certain distance is often a prerequisite in urban settings. Approaching your neighbour before they start building will help ease your mind that they have no intention of encroaching onto your home territory.
However, if you notice differently on their plans or they don’t want to share their ideas with you, you can open up a conversation highlighting your concerns. A non-confrontational approach allows for better communication and you can hopefully reach amicable terms before a dispute starts.
You should also approach your neighbour if there are easement issues. If your neighbour is abusing their easement rights and it’s impacting the personal enjoyment of your residential property, a discussion should be held. In most cases, a neighbour may not be aware their movements through your land are affecting you personally. Discuss it with them and come up with a mutual agreement that works for both of you.
2. Hire a Mediator
Keeping a close eye on any development is essential if your initial attempts to discuss your concerns are rebuffed by your neighbour. When building starts and it’s obvious your neighbour intends to use some of your land for the extension or to build a boundary wall, you could hire a mediator who specialises in property disputes.
Settling disputes between landowners can be handled by well-trained property lawyers. They don’t only deal with boundary-related issues but also easement cases. In this situation, easement refers to cases in which the neighbour has to use your property to gain access to their own.
Using an experienced professional to mediate property disputes means you’re getting the best advice in both boundary and easement cases. A mediator who specialises in property law ensures all the rules are followed, potentially preventing the dispute from landing up in court.
3. Know Your Boundaries and Easement Rights
Before getting into a nasty lawsuit with your neighbour over boundary or easement rights, make sure you’re fully informed about both situations. Do your homework and approach a surveyor to find out the boundary line between your land and your neighbour’s. Performing a property survey will help determine the following:
- Confirmation of established land boundaries
- Identification of easements in place
- Description of sub-surface improvements such as septic tanks
A property survey highlights what is yours and what belongs to your neighbour. Surveying your property can be done before purchasing your home, for settling potential land disputes or if you want to do some home renovations yourself.
Hiring a property surveyor is a good place to start if you need more certainty before telling your neighbour to stop overstepping his or her mark! Having the evidence on hand makes it easier to confront your neighbour and hopefully settle the matter before it turns into a costly lawsuit. When using a property surveyor, be sure they abide by local government regulations in your state.
Settling a property dispute before it gets out of hand will avoid lengthy and expensive lawsuits with your neighbour. What’s more, whether you win the dispute or not, your neighbour is likely to still be living next door to you! And, this means getting on with them if you still want to be happy and enjoy living on your property.
Avoiding property disputes is possible when you choose to find amicable solutions to solving the problem. However, hiring the right property experts who specialise in settling boundary and easement claims is a good place to start if you want professional advice.
Knowing your property boundary and easement rights is also a good option for settling disputes before they get out of hand. If you have a specific question on this topic, please leave your thoughts in the comment section.
Read More: 5 Tips for keeping Disputes out of Court