“Love thy neighbor” isn’t so easy to do when thy neighbor’s fence is encroaching on your land. As a property owner, you have the right to exclude people and things —like your neighbor’s fence—from your land. Here in Georgia, where homes are in close proximity to one another, boundary disputes are fairly common.
That’s why it is important for you to know a little bit about easements.
Why Boundaries Are Important
Aside from simply keeping others off your property, it is important to know where the boundaries of your property lie. Even a small encroachment by your neighbor onto your land can have unfortunate consequences for you.
For example, if your neighbor builds a fence or a new driveway that comes onto your property even by just a few inches, this could be enough for a title company to refuse to issue insurance when it comes time to sell your home.
Easements and Boundaries
In addition to title insurance problems, the law of easements can come into play and may cause problems for you if your neighbor oversteps his boundary (literally). An easement gives the holder of the easement the right to use another’s land.
Many states, including Georgia, have laws that allow a person who uses another’s land for long enough (and meets other specific requirements set out by the state law) to eventually become the owner of that land or portion or piece of land. This legal theory, called “adverse possession,” means that you could lose title to your land (or a portion of it) if your neighbor encroaches on it (or a part of it) for long enough.
On the other hand, the law of easements may also solve a boundary line dispute. In boundary dispute situations where two adjoining property owners are fighting over the boundary line of their properties or an easement between their properties, the Georgia courts may order the compulsory purchase and sale of the land over which the easement is claimed. A jury will decide how much compensation is to be paid to the landowner.
If an easement by compulsory purchase and sale is awarded by the court, the person gaining the easement must keep the easement open (for example, if it is path, road, or driveway) and must maintain the easement in good repair for one year. If he fails to do so, then he will be deemed to have “abandoned” the easement.
When it comes to your land and your neighbors, it is important to know where your boundaries are.
Protecting Your Property Rights
At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, we do one thing and we do it very well: we handle real estate legal matters. We have offices in Cumming, Georgia and we serve clients in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Forsyth County, and a number of other counties in Georgia.To schedule your phone consultation, call 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here..