Boundary negotiation is a common solution when a dispute arises between people who live next to each other. Unfortunately, disputes over boundaries arise in several different ways, and even if you have a deed that directly states which areas belong to you, resolving boundary disputes can be an arduous process.
In many instances, disagreements over negotiating boundaries lead to legal proceedings, which are not only time-consuming but costly. However, there are alternative systems of dispute resolution that can help you maintain the relationship with the person or individuals you have a boundary dispute.
This post will examine how you can negotiate and resolve a boundary dispute without damaging relationships or ending a long-term friendship.
Negotiating Boundaries With Your Neighbors
Resolving boundary disputes with your neighbors can be a tricky endeavor, but it is possible to negotiate and resolve this situation with little to no friction.
If you want to negotiate, you have to respect and trust your neighbor, friend, etc., that they will negotiate in good faith with you. Admittedly, this is a two-way road that requires the same from the other party, but it’s impossible to be respected if you don’t give it in return.
The most effective way to begin to negotiate boundaries is to identify any points of contention between you and your neighbor. Boundary disputes are not always about property lines.
In most disputes, it will be about property lines, but a valid dispute may also cover:
- Noise (loud music, parties, etc.)
- Environmental factors (tree limbs, property usage, etc.)
You cannot negotiate until you understand what the issue is. Once an issue, or issues, has been identified you can begin to negotiate.
The next step is to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. If possible, try to come to an agreement that is beneficial for both sides rather than just looking out for yourself.
With some patience and understanding from both parties, it is highly likely that you will come up with a resolution that works for everyone involved.
There is no easier way to resolve a boundary dispute than this. This is a best-case scenario. Unfortunately, in life, you can’t always count on the best-case encounter. So what do you do if talking respectfully fails?
Mediation and Arbitration
If you can’t negotiate a resolution with your neighbor, you don’t have to go to court. There are alternative dispute resolution methods that can be pursued. The most common and effective options are mediation and arbitration.
These options involve the appointment of a third party who will help negotiate a settlement for you. There are important differences between mediation and arbitration that you should understand. You can learn more about them in our blog.
The key takeaway is that there are other ways to resolve a boundary dispute without going to court.
How to Avoid Future Boundary Disputes
To avoid boundary disputes in the future, it is important to research and understand the risks and basics of property law in your jurisdiction.
Knowing the laws that apply to your property and the legal boundaries of adjacent parcels will ensure that you and your neighbors can work together to prevent potential conflicts from arising.
You can download and study the property laws applicable to your home from the Internet. Make sure that you read the latest legislation because these laws do change sometimes.
Sometimes it can be not easy to understand the language used in legislation. Still, you should be able to find a variety of different resources online that help simplify the legalese at use in these documents.
Additionally, make sure that you clearly mark your property line on any documents, maps, or paper related to your land. Regularly check for any discrepancies between physical markers on the land and their representation in documents, as well as any changes to neighboring parcels or improvements made near or on your own parcel.
Finally, take steps to proactively resolve issues with border disputes with written agreements stating each party’s rights and responsibilities regarding a given line of demarcation. By following these tips, you can help to mitigate boundary disputes in the future.
Property disputes are not pleasant, but it doesn’t have to get personal, and with some effort from everyone involved, you can avoid going to court and negotiating between yourselves.
The purpose of negotiation is to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. However, boundary negotiation requires mutual trust and respect, and if you can’t find that, alternative dispute resolution options besides litigation, such as mediation and arbitration exist.