Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney for a Property Boundary Dispute?

Finger art of family during quarrel. Concept of man and woman can not divide house after divorce.

There is an old saying that “good fences make good neighbors,” but what happens between neighbors when that fence has been placed deep into one neighbor’s property? Whether or not fences are involved, disputes between neighbors over correct property boundaries have been occurring for as long as there has been private property. Because one’s property can be inextricably tied to his or her personal wealth and sense of home and family legacy, these disputes often carry both high stakes and high tension. If you are involved in a property boundary dispute, you may be wondering whether working with a real estate attorney will help or just make things worse. Below, we discuss a few critical things to keep in mind in deciding whether you need a real estate attorney for a property boundary dispute.

Boundary Disputes Often Get Heated

For some people already deep into a boundary dispute, this might sound like the understatement of the year. Again, a person’s property is their kingdom, and questions as to the true ownership of a portion of the property can involve not only large amounts of value but also privacy and even honor. In the early days of this country, property boundary disputes resulted in deadly feuds, and men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson learned the craft of land surveying to help maintain peace between landowners. Fortunately, such violence over boundary disputes is now relatively rare, but emotions can nonetheless get heated between neighbors, and it is important to remember that you will still be neighbors even after the dispute, so handling matters as accurately as possible is critical. By working with an attorney who can clearly resolve the dispute, you can avoid unnecessary and prolonged tension that prevents you from enjoying the full use of your land.

California Property Law is Confusing to Most Laypersons

Although an experienced real estate lawyer will have a solid understanding of the applicable property law in a boundary dispute, many non-lawyers find talk of prescriptive easements, adverse possession, laches, and quiet title actions to be confusing. And even when you do have a basic understanding of the terms, knowing how those concepts are applied in California courts and how they will be applied in your matter often requires the guidance and analysis of an experienced real estate attorney. While many resources on property law exist online (and perhaps your research has led you here), attempting to settle a boundary dispute on your own can set you up for costly and irreversible mistakes.

A Court Order Can Be the Clearest Way to Resolve a Boundary Dispute

Many people have an inherent aversion to courts, judges, and attorneys, and so it is completely understandable to want to resolve a property boundary dispute on your own with a friendly (or not-so-friendly as the case may be) handshake or some kind of written agreement. But, when it comes to property boundary disputes, handshakes or agreements not approved by a judge will generally not have legal relevance. Instead, the respective deeds will control in a property boundary dispute, and a quiet title action brought in court may be necessary for any resolution of a dispute to have legal weight going forward.

Work With an Experienced Los Angeles Boundary Dispute Attorney

Attorney Laine T. Wagenseller of Wagenseller Law Firm has published numerous articles on real estate law and works with individuals and businesses across Southern California in resolving real estate matters, including boundary disputes. Contact Wagenseller Law Firm today to schedule a consultation in order to evaluate your boundary dispute and begin working towards a positive resolution.