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How can I settle an encroachment issue with my neighbor?

One issue that you may not think about until it becomes a problem is property encroachment. Encroachment is when a structure from a neighbor’s land crosses property boundaries onto another homeowner’s land. 

Encroachment can happen in a variety of ways in Melbourne. For example, it is not uncommon for one person to build a fence around their yard, only to end up in a dispute because the fence is on the neighbor's property. Encroachment disputes are very common. Consider the following ways to resolve encroachment concerns, so you and your neighbor can remain on good terms. 

Have a discussion 

Talk to your neighbor about the issue in a polite and respectful manner. Inform him or her that the property is on your land. Discuss resolution options. If the encroachment does not bother you that much, consider allowing the neighbor to leave it. If it does bother you, ask politely that he or she remove it. Be reasonable about removal options. If removal is not possible, consider working out a written agreement. The agreement should express that you are aware of the encroachment issue, clearly detail what it is and how long you will allow it to remain on your property. 

Offer to sell 

Depending on the nature of the encroachment, you might have the option to sell your neighbor the area of land the encroachment sits on. By selling that portion of land, you can avoid property disputes and issues when you sell your home in the future. 

File a litigation claim

If the above measures are not effective and the encroachment is causing considerable conflict, you might want to file a claim in court. On your court date, make sure you have your property ownership documents that can prove you are the rightful owner of the land your neighbor is using without your permission. If you are unsuccessful in proving your neighbor has no right to that portion of land, the courts may issue an adverse possession ruling which provides a prescriptive easement. Litigation may put an end to you and your neighbor's relationship. It is best used as a last resort. 

Property encroachment issues are not always easy to identify and resolve. Disputes between neighbors can quickly escalate if one or both parties are unwilling to cooperate. If you have concerns about a property encroachment concerns, you might want to speak with an attorney for guidance.

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