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What can I do if my neighbor crosses my property line?

For many Philadelphia residents, coexisting with neighbors is part of life. Whether a person likes his or her neighbors or not, getting along with the people living next door may mean the difference between a happy home and a lawsuit. When neighbors do not get along, it may be for a variety of reasons - and property line disputes are more common than one might think.

Oftentimes, a homeowner may choose to complete a home improvement project, such as a patio or a fence. When installing these types of projects, the homeowner must abide by the property boundaries and be careful not to invade a neighbor's property. If a homeowner believes a neighbor is utilizing land past his or her property line, speaking with the neighbor at fault may be the first step in resolving the issue. Failing to resolve a property line issue may create problems if a person tries to sell his or her home - because a title company can refuse to provide insurance when it is time to sell the home.

In some cases, the neighbor at fault may have simply overlooked the property line and utilized a neighbor's land by accident. Proving where the actual property line lies can be found in the deed, which can be obtained at the city clerk's office. If needed, a surveyor can come out to one's home and place property line markers on the land. However, if a still neighbor refuses to cooperate, the homeowner whose property line has been crossed may want to consider speaking with a real estate attorney.

In certain situations, if both neighbors have paid off their mortgages, they may be able to mutually agree on a new property line - as long as it is in compliance with the area's subdivision and zoning laws. Neighbors who agree on a new property line who have yet to pay off their mortgages may want to speak with an attorney before finalizing a property line agreement.

Source: FindLaw, "Property Boundaries, Lines and Neighbors FAQ," accessed on Sept. 26, 2014

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