When you own real property, there will arise certain difficulties over the years, and it’s important to be prepared to deal with them. These often take the form of property disputes, which may be between you and a neighbor, but could also involve contractual and title issues, such as when you’re purchasing a property.
We’ll go over some of the most common property disputes and discuss how to handle them.
Title and Boundary Disputes
A title dispute centers on who owns a piece of property. This often extends to how the property is laid out, and may involve such disagreements as whether you or your neighbor technically owns the foot and a half strip of turf where you’re building a fence or whether a tree is hanging over the boundary line.
The delineation of your property is determined through land surveys and recorded with your title. If there is a dispute over the property lines that cannot be resolved through reasoned discussion with your neighbor, then a title survey would be the logical next step.
In some cases, there may be some argument over who actually owns the property, such as in complex ownership arrangements. In this case, it’s again important to look at whose name appears on the title.
Boundary Fence Disputes
Illinois has various laws regarding boundary fences between two properties. If the fence is used to divide the properties along the boundary line, then both you and your neighbor are responsible for building and maintaining the fence. If it becomes damaged or begins to wear out over time, then you would both be expected to pay for repairs.
In some cases, a fence might not rest along the property line. In those cases, there is a good chance only one party will be responsible for it. For instance, if your neighbor intends to tear down and rebuild the fence and demands that you help pay for it, you would likely be exempt from liability if you can prove it is not actually on the property line.
Disputes over Property Damage
There are two ways in which a dispute over property damage may occur: where one party damages something on the other party’s property, or where a homebuyer purchases a home with unreported issues.
In the first case, it may be a situation where you try to prove that 1) your neighbor caused the damage and 2) the damage was indeed inflicted on your own property. Eyewitness accounts as well as a title survey may be necessary.
In the latter case, you’ll need to take a close look at the purchase contract. When buying a property, it is actually your responsibility to make sure proper surveys and inspections are made to ensure there are no outstanding issues with the property. That said, if the seller intentionally hid something or if the property became damaged between the inspection and the final sale, they could be held liable and may owe you damages.
Resolving Property Disputes
Resolving any form of property dispute is best done with the guidance of a real estate attorney. Hart David Carson LLP can assist you through this process, so contact us today for a free consultation regarding your dispute.