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My Neighbor Built a Fence on my Property



A normal home improvement project can turn into a huge construction and real estate matter.  Fence builders must be well versed in locating property lines to avoid encroachment.  This is especially the case where homes are built in close proximity.  Encroachment is the building of a structure partly or entirely on a neighbor’s property.  The term describes the legal occurrence of breaching the property line unlawfully whether it is intentional or not.  It can occur due to flawed surveying or by the deliberate decision of a builder.  There are solutions available to remedy the issue of encroachment, ranging from a constriction fix to a legal court order.

How to Verify Encroachment

The best way to determine whether encroachment has actually occurred is to conduct a survey of the property.  It is the best way to avoid a costly boundary dispute.  The job of a surveyor is to determine where one property owner’s land ends and where the other’s land starts.  The surveyor will do this by laying out the exact dimensions of the property by using the land deed.  They can also use the county land records and description to conduct this investigation.  If there are any errors with the land descriptions then the surveyor cannot rely on them alone to make the determination.  Often times, lines of demarcation can be obscured by naturally occurring structures such as trees. This is the reason why the surveyor must take care to measure the land as well.

How to Remedy Encroachment

If the surveyor determines that encroachment exists, then there are a variety of remedies depending on how the homeowners want to dispose of the issue. The encroaching owner can remove the fence and build it in compliance with where his or her property stops.  The two entities can discuss a private settlement on issues regarding who will pay for the removal and rebuilding of the structure, etc. Some neighbors may involve a neutral third party such a mediator to help them resolve the issue outside of the legal realm.  Others who do not come to an amicable agreement have other solutions.  A neighbor who refuses to submit to a surveyor or who denies that he or she is encroaching may prefer a court-based, adversarial resolution.  The aggrieved party can petition the court for an injunction requesting a neighbor to remove a structure.  Injunction can also go the other way.  The party can request the court to enjoin a neighbor from building a structure if the structure is currently under construction.  In addition, an aggrieved party can request the court to determine the property rights of each party in a declaratory judgment.

Your Florida Construction Law Attorney

Attorney Brendan A. Sweeney is an experienced Florida construction law attorney with years of experience advising on construction issues for private entities and businesses. He has extensive knowledge of construction laws as it relates to encroachment matters. We will tailor your advice and representation to your unique needs. Contact us now for a consultation.



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