Look, having neighbors nearby creates the perfect environment for disputes to arise.
Whether issues stem from noise complaints, privacy issues, your neighbor’s trees, or boundary disputes.
It goes without saying that neighbor law is an important asset that you may need when conflicts arise.
So, what is neighbor law, and how can you learn more about it?
To find out, let’s take a look at 3 scenarios of disputes with neighbors. And what you can do about them!
What is neighbor law?
Neighbor law covers the many disputes that may occur between two individuals that live side by side. Of course, there are many sorts of disputes that can, and do, arise.
Disputes covered under neighbor law include:
- Fence laws,
- Boundary disputes,
- Noise complaints (i.e. dogs, loud cars, yelling),
- Conflicts over trees or landscaping,
- Harassment from neighbors,
- Other nuisance complaints.
Neighbor disputes can occur for a variety of reasons, and they are certainly nothing new! As a result, there is a body of law that exists specifically to help resolve disputes between neighbors.
Learn More about Neighbor Law!
A good source to learn more about dealing with neighbors is Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise.
You can take 20% off of Neighbor Law with COUPON CODE: “BOW” in our bookshop.
Neighbor Dispute #1: Boundary and Fence Issues With Neighbors
One of the most common neighbor disputes is perhaps property boundary issues. After all, fences exist not only for privacy, but also for the purpose of keeping others (mostly neighbors) out.
Property boundary disputes can exist in two different forms; trespassing, and encroachment.
What is trespassing?
The word “trespass” refers to the intentional unauthorized use of land by other people, their animals, or their vehicles.
Acts of trespassing include: unauthorized hunting or fishing, a neighbor who harvests their neighbor’s crops, or grazing cattle on unauthorized land.
What is encroachment?
Encroachment occurs when a person (usually a neighbor) builds on or uses your land and attempts to claim ownership.
Encroachments can include: a fence built on your property, a shed which partially enters your property, or a garden bed which is partly on your land.
How Do I Resolve Property Boundary Disputes with Neighbor Law?
Such as most other disputes with neighbors...
Property boundary disputes are often best resolved through talking with your neighbors.
After all, you may be living next to them for a long time. Building a culture of resentment may be more stressful than correcting your neighbor’s actions involving police or the courts.
Nonetheless, if you need to take the property dispute with your neighbor to the next level. You may want to talk with a lawyer.
But you will certainly want to do your research first!
For more info on property disputes check out Dealing with a Property Line Dispute: Don’t Fence Me In (or Out).
Neighbor Dispute #2: What Can I do about a Loud Neighbor?
Unfortunately, many neighbors are inconsiderate of others. As a result, having a loud neighbor, or even neighbors, is not all that uncommon.
So what should you do about it?
Again, in my experience, the first step to dealing with issues with your neighbors, is to have a conversation.
Other courses of action to deal with loud neighbors include:
- Issuing a Stern Warning,
- Hiring a Mediator,
- Calling the Police,
- Involving the HOA,
- Filing a Lawsuit.
The solution that works best for you will greatly depend on your specific circumstances. Some cities have stricter noise ordinances than others, so the police may not be able to help very much.
If you chose to file a lawsuit on your own, you must weight the benefits with the costs. The benefits may be a quiet neighbor, and even some extra cash.
On the other hand, the cost of having an angry neighbor. And the costs of filing a lawsuit you may not win, may make the effort more trouble than it’s worth.
Neighbor Dispute #3: Conflicts with Trees and Landscapes
The final neighbor law scenario we will take a look at is: landscape and tree conflicts. This is yet another common source of dispute between neighbors.
Whether your neighbor has a garden bed that encroaches on your land, branches of their tree stretching out into your driveway, or a tree that drops gumballs all over your lawn…
You better bet that there are laws which cover such disputes between neighbors.
Although specific laws vary from state to state.
As a general rule, you are typically allowed to prune trees and shrubs up to the property line, as long as it is done in a manner that does not harm the tree.
For more information on handling this type of dispute check out the Tree and Neighbor Law Blog.
The Final Word on Neighbor Law
Hopefully this article gives you a good overview of neighbor law, and the sources where you can find more information on the subject.
There is truly too much to cover in one article. I highly recommend that you check out the NOLO’s book Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise. Use Coupon Code “BOW” For 20% off!
Find that book and more in our bookshop.
That is all for now! Until next time, thanks for visiting!
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BOOK TITLE: Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise.
WEEK OF: May 24th, 2020 to May 30th, 2020.
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