Boundary disputes may result in complex and stressful situations. If you are involved in a boundary dispute, you must understand the nature of the dispute and the reason that led to the current situation.
In this article, you will find out an overview of boundary disputes in Florida real estate.
Boundary Disputes in Florida Real Estate – The Fundamentals
The most common type of boundary dispute in Florida real estate involves boundary fences. The term “boundary fence” refers to a division or partition fence located on the line between two properties.
Considering boundary fences are part of both owners’ properties, it may result in doubts and questions regarding fence ownership.
In Florida, there are no statutory rules to define and regulate boundary fences at the state level. Instead, the local ordinances (i.e., city, county, or town) have specific rules to govern boundary fences.
If you are involved in a boundary dispute, the first step is to consult with an attorney to identify which party is infringing the neighbor’s property. During this process, it is crucial to determine:
- The instruction’s exact location
- How long the intrusion has been in that specific location
- How much land is in dispute?
- Whether there is permission for the encroachment
Handling Boundary Disputes in Florida – Is it Possible to Settle the Dispute Out of the Court?
With the necessary information in hand, it is crucial to deal with the issue immediately. An experienced attorney may find an amicable resolution for cases involving boundary disputes. It is important to hold a meeting between the parties involved to discuss the issue face to face.
During the meeting, you should present supporting documents to show the reasons behind the dispute and possible settlement alternatives. Examples of valuable documents include deeds, plat maps, surveys, title insurance documentation, and any other relevant materials.
If the neighbor is willing to communicate and find an amicable solution, it is possible to settle the question out of court while avoiding future conflicts. However, if the meeting results in a fruitless dialogue, it is still possible to try methods of alternative dispute resolution.
A good example is a mediation, a process in which an impartial third party (e.g., a lawyer) serves as a mediator to resolve the conflict by using expert negotiation techniques. In such cases, it is important to hire a land surveyor to issue a report to show a blueprint of the property.
Florida Boundary Disputes – Which Questions Should I Answer Before Filing a Lawsuit in Court?
If the disputing neighbor is not convinced to settle the question with alternative dispute resolution methods, the last resource is to file a lawsuit in court. Before proceeding with a lawsuit, you should consult with an attorney to identify:
- Is the dispute about the boundary line’s location, or usage and control of the property?
- What is the extent of the encroachment between the properties?
- Is the neighbor’s fence violating local fence laws?
- Is the neighbor’s building an illegal fence?
- Was the neighbor’s fence built with prohibited materials? (e.g., electrically charged, barbed wire fences, etc.)
- Is the neighbor’s fence classified under a local blighted property ordinance?
- Which party is responsible for repairing and maintaining a boundary fence?
- Is there a limit on the fence’s high?
- Is the boundary dispute covered by a title insurance policy?
- Is it possible to win the case if the neighbor alleges adverse possession?
- How should you deal with a neighbor’s property encroachment while the lawsuit is pending?
- What are the expenses involved in the process?