Navigating Boundary Disputes

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By Rochford Law Posted on November 2, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Property is often a person’s most prized possession. It takes a lot of work to own land. We spend time and money to get it just the way we like it.

This is why it can be a great source of conflict if the exact boundary of your property comes into question.

Maybe a neighbor has built a fence or structure that encroaches on your property line. Perhaps they’ve started using a section of your property for their own personal use. Whatever the case may be, it can be a confusing and infuriating experience to have these issues with a neighbor.

While these situations can be trying, there are certain things you can do to rectify the situation. The services of a real estate attorney are not always necessary, but it’s comforting to know the option is there.

Here’s what you can do if you find yourself in a boundary dispute with a neighbor:

  • Open a Dialogue
  • Mediation
  • Send an Official Letter From a Real Estate Attorney
  • File a Complaint

Open a Dialogue

Finding a way to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution is always the preferred method. And sometimes, these disagreements can be settled with a simple discussion. There’s always the chance that there’s a simple miscommunication that can be cleared up to resolve the issue.

Resolution will largely depend on your existing relationship with your neighbor. A previously-hostile neighbor probably won’t be willing to discuss the situation to find a peaceful agreement. Those cases might be best settled in other ways.

A genial neighbor — or even one you haven’t had much contact with — will likely be willing to have a conversation about the matter. Keep the discussion cordial, state your issues with the situation, and outline why you think the issue exists. And if everything goes well, propose a solution.


Unfortunately, a simple one-on-one conversation won’t always work. There are many reasons these conversations might not progress. One of which is that the participants grow defensive. A neutral setting is necessary for everyone to feel comfortable.

Mediation works toward conflict management by involving a neutral third-party to facilitate the conversation. Professionally-trained mediators help the participants to get a clearer understanding of the situation as a whole and work toward an agreed-upon solution.

Search out a local mediator program and discuss your issue. If necessary, and with your permission, the mediator will reach out to the other individual to find a path toward resolution.

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Send an Official Letter From a Real Estate Attorney

A real estate attorney will be your next option if these efforts to amicably resolve the situation don’t work. Reaching out to a professional is an escalation of the conflict, but a great way to work toward a solution (as long as the law is on your side).

Work with an attorney to draft a letter to your neighbor. Consider it a warning and a final opportunity to resolve the situation before further legal action is taken.

This letter can contain a detailed explanation of the situation at hand. It may also request a reasonable action to resolve the situation, or make an offer to bring the situation to a close.

The neighbor will likely forward this letter to their attorney to make sure they fully understand their options. And sometimes, no matter how reasonable you might feel your offer is, further action might be necessary.

File a Complaint

The final action is to file a legal complaint. This is often the last resort because it can be a lengthy process.

Your real estate attorney will gather all the necessary documentation to prove your ownership of the piece of land in question. The attorney might also compile the requisite legal briefs, exhibits, and anything else necessary to fulfill the court’s requirements.

Your attorney will be looking for every possibility to settle the case early and avoid litigation. This will ultimately save you and the other party on fees. Most of these cases are settled at this stage.

But if all that fails, the case will move into the courtroom. Your real estate attorney will argue your case with the goal of obtaining clear ownership of the land in question.

Call an Experienced Real Estate Attorney

The help of an experienced professional is really the only sure way to navigate a strange situation like boundary disputes with a neighbor. There are certain rights associated with owning property, and you are entitled to them. A neighbor that spreads out a little further than their property line allows should be convinced to recognize and respect your rights.

Rochford Law & Real Estate Title helps the people of Nashville, TN and the surrounding areas with concerns like this every day. We’ve been serving the community for decades and know what can be done to make sure you are treated fairly and respectfully.

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PHONE: 615.269.7676

Topics: Nashville Real Estate, Nashville Real Estate Attorney, Nashville Real Estate Law, Real Estate Lawyer, Residential Real Estate, Litigation