Maybe you are planning a landscaping project and are not sure where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins. Maybe you have concerns that a neighbor’s fence crosses over into your land.
Whatever the property dispute, try these strategies to protect your rights as a property owner.
Review Texas laws
The state has specific guidelines about fences and land boundaries. Texas does not require owners to fence their land, but if owners of adjacent properties agree to maintain or buy a fence together, that agreement has legal weight. However, if only one landowner paid for the fence, the structure is his or her private property.
A neighbor’s fence can legally obstruct your airflow, view or light. In some cases, though, the court has required a homeowner to remove a fence that constitutes a nuisance.
When trees mark the boundary between properties, neither landowner can remove the trees without his or her neighbor’s consent. You can trim branches from a neighbor’s tree that extend onto your property line, but only up to the line. If branches from a neighbor’s tree fall on your property, he or she has legal responsibility for resulting damage.
Gather background information
A professional survey, title search and appraisal can often illuminate legal standing in property disputes. You can use documents from when you bought or refinanced the home or pay for new reports. A surveyor will review your deed and indicate the exact boundaries of your land. With an appraisal, you will understand the market value of the disputed portion of the land.
A title search can uncover deeds or easements that may affect property ownership. For example, if a previous owner permitted a neighbor to use the property, he or she may have requested a legal easement.
Based on the information in these documents, you can attempt to negotiate with your neighbor and come to an agreement. If this step is not successful, litigation may be in your highest interest.