Whether you’ve owned your residential or commercial property for years or just purchased it, you may be confronted with a property line dispute at some point. It helps to have an unbiased report as to where those lines lie. A licensed surveyor can identify property boundaries and furnish a report, but who pays for a survey during a property line dispute?
Hire an Attorney
Ideally, boundary disputes between neighboring property owners can remain neutral and come to a resolution without litigation. However, if you’re faced with a property line dispute, the best course of action is to consult an experienced land use or real estate attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected. Boundary disputes can become more complex than you might expect, especially if the dispute involves commercial property. A skilled attorney can issue cease and desist letters and negotiate an out-of-court resolution, such as an easement, a monetary settlement, or an agreement to equitably appropriate the land.
Should the property line dispute escalate, a land use or real estate attorney can represent you in court.
Engage a Surveyor
A boundary survey created by a surveyor is a clearly-drawn report that provides unbiased proof of a boundary line’s location. While surveyors cannot adjudicate disputes, they act as legal arbiters and convey to their clients any discrepancies in property lines.
This report (and an associated map or plot) is produced by on-site measuring, as well as an examination of recorded documentation, such as property deeds, property plat maps, title certificates, prior surveys, easement lines, and subdivision maps.
The evidence from field measurements and public legal records is valuable information and can prove determinative and dispositive in the case of a boundary dispute.
Who Must Pay?
As common sense would suggest, the individual who desires and/or commissions a survey is typically the party who pays for the surveying.
Oftentimes, a purchaser of property will want to commission a property survey in advance of settlement. Buyers relying on financing to purchase real property will customarily be required by their lender to have the property surveyed.
Sellers may also benefit from a survey, as the precise data derived from surveying can hasten the sale process.
The Benefits of Having a Survey Performed
- A survey performed by a professional surveyor helps you avoid purchasing a parcel of land unsuitable for your purposes, which can be a costly disappointment.
- It is essential if you wish to subdivide a plot.
- As a survey helps clarify property deeds, it will be valuable in any property line dispute, whether you believe a neighbor is trespassing or encroaching on your land or vice versa.
- The clarity provided by a survey provides unbiased evidence of the correct location of boundary lines of adjacent properties.
If you find yourself involved in a potential property line dispute, the West Chester land use and real estate attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees can help you explore your legal options.