Boundary Encroachment, Adverse Possession & Easements
Settle Your Disputes with a San Diego Real Estate Attorney
Land ownership and boundaries are not always simple matters. If someone builds upon or occupies a portion of your land without permission, you need to act to remedy the situation. In some cases, this encroachment can lead to the trespasser legally owning some of your land through adverse possession. Conflicts that arise between property owners might need to be resolved in court, but you can also prevent them by having an attorney draft and review your contracts before you sign them.
Our San Diego real estate lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience both reviewing property-related documents and representing clients in court. We can explain the different methods of asset protection available to you and help you proceed in a way that prevents legal setbacks in the future.
What is Boundary Encroachment in California Real Estate?
A boundary encroachment occurs when someone constructs something that intrudes upon your property. This could involve commercial real estate. Not only is this a nuisance, but it can also affect your ability to sell the property later.
In California, one example that we see often involves violations of California solar rights laws, such as the Solar Rights Act and Solar Shade Act. If your neighbor constructs something that blocks your solar panels, for example, you need to take action. If your neighbor refuses to respect your property rights, we can attempt to resolve things amicably and/or file a lawsuit. This way, the court can order him to stop encroaching upon your property.
What is the Difference Between Encroachment and Easement?
Encroachment and easement are similar, however, easements must be agreed upon by both parties, formally or informally. The activities of each property owner are usually authorized or compensation is involved. Encroachment refers to activity that is unauthorized.
Upholding Terms of Easement Agreements
An easement is a property right of access. Easements allow the government, private companies and/or individuals to lawfully use a portion of your real property. This could apply to utility companies running electrical or sewage pipes under your home (utility easements), or the city allowing residents to access a public lake or park by crossing a part of your property (easements by necessity). You can also sell a portion of your property as an easement to someone else (private easement) or grant someone access to your property for a set period of time (prescriptive easement).
It is very important that you draft easement agreements carefully, as they could have long-lasting effects on how you choose to use your property. Violating an easement can also have serious consequences, and if this is the situation, our attorneys can guide you down the correct path to remedy the problem.
How Do Adverse Possession Laws Affect My Property?
If you are involved in boundary disputes, adverse possession laws could affect your case. Adverse possession occurs when a trespasser gains legal rights to a portion of property by living on it, traversing it routinely or building on it. This might occur because the trespasser was mistakenly told that she owns the portion of the property that actually belongs to you. In other situations, the trespasser knew she did not own the land but chose to build on it anyway.
You may be able to take the following steps to resolve this issue:
- To gain your property back, you need to prove that you are the rightful owner. Through quiet title actions, the court will decide who actually owns the land.
- To stop someone from trespassing on your property, the court may issue a temporary injunction against the trespasser. Injunctive relief can immediately put a stop to unlawful behavior.
Pursue Resolution with our Experienced San Diego Real Estate Lawyers!
If you are involved in boundary disputes involving any of the above scenarios, or if you are about to write a contract granting someone else permission to your land, speak with our real estate attorneys. We understand how real property disputes can escalate into lengthy, expensive lawsuits if not handled correctly from the start. We can advise you on how to reach a successful resolution.