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Why It's Important To Know Property Boundary Laws

Law Blog

If your dream is to someday own a home, chances are that you will be protective over the small piece of land that you purchased. The smaller the piece of land is, the more likely it will be that you will get into a dispute with a neighbor over something related to your property boundary. Knowing where that property boundary line is, and what the related rules are, will be important to avoid running into potential problems down the road.


Home additions, outbuildings, and fences are a common reason that neighbors have conflict. They feel that the structure on the other person's property is too close to their own property, which is known as encroachment. Unfortunately, encroachment is not always a straightforward property violation.

For instance, there are many state and city laws that come into play that can make the laws confusing. If you are building a structure like a shed, having it on your own property may not be enough to meet city laws, since there may be laws that decide how close the structure can be to the property line. The same goes for other structures, like a home addition or garage. If things are done incorrectly, it could cause your structure to be removed and rebuilt so that it meets local encroachment laws.

Overhanging structures are known to cause similar problems with encroachment laws. The footprint of a structure may be following the required distance that it needs to be from the property line, but the overhang is not.


Easement laws add another legal complication that is not always clear when determining if somebody is at fault for violating it. For example, there could be scenic easement laws that prevent somebody from building a structure that blocks a scenic view from another house.

More common easement laws involve giving other people access to your property if it is the only way to get access to the nearby public road, or a local utility provider may need access to your property for a buried line. In the utility line instance, you would not be allowed to build on top of that utility line so that the utility provider has access to service it.

When you find yourself in a dispute over encroachments or easements, get in touch with a local property lawyer. They will know your local laws better than anybody, and help tell you who is right and who is in the wrong.


27 January 2017