Fighting with your neighbor is like fighting with your family. It literally hits close to home and can lead to many many miserable future encounters. At Schorr Law, our Los Angeles based easement attorneys have a great deal of experience dealing with neighbor disputes involving property lines, express easements, equitable easements, easements by necessity, prescriptive easements and other types of boundary disputes. Prior to engaging in one of these bitter disputes we always suggest the following five things:
1. Get a Survey First. A survey of the area in dispute is the most important piece of information you can have when dealing with a neighbor dispute. Without it, you do not know the actual boundary and any argument about who has a right to what property would be pure speculation. The typical survey is not too expensive and can yield invaluable information relative to your legal position and bargaining power.
2. Talk with a lawyer. After you obtain the survey, study it and have the surveyor explain it to you. Then, talk with a lawyer. Things are not always as bright line as the survey may suggest. Neighbors often acquire the non-exclusive right to use portions of their neighbors yard through easement theories like prescriptive easements, easements by necessity and equitable easements. A well versed real estate attorney with easement experience should be able to help guide you. We say “should be able to help guide you” because many lawyers do not know the ins and outs of easements and as a result they can accidentally walk you into certain admissions that negatively impact your case. Talk with a qualified easement attorney like the attorneys at Schorr Law.
3. Talk with the neighbor. After speaking with the lawyer, it often still makes sense to try to speak informally to resolve the dispute. This can be done with the lawyer present or without the lawyer present and upon the lawyer’s advice. Alternatively, we often recommend an early mediation to help calm tensions and try to come to a resolution of the dispute before the parties dig into litigation and attorneys’ fees.
4. Have the lawyer send a letter explaining the law. A good letter from a well versed attorney can go a long way to explaining what the law says with respect to your particular dispute. If the other side does not have a lawyer, they can read the letter from your lawyer and research the issue themselves.
5. Sue. When all else fails, you must sue to protect your rights.
At Schorr Law, we have extensive experience with easement disputes. Visit our site at www.schorr-law.com for more information or call us at 310-954-1877, firstname.lastname@example.org.