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Boundary disputes can destroy your quality of life

It’s said that your home is your castle. But if your castle is being bombarded with threats and even violence, your peace of mind can be wiped out.

When property owners feud over boundary disputes, life can certainly be unpleasant. You can develop a siege mentality when battling it out with your neighbors over access points, rights of way and property boundaries. You want to fix it — but how?

Consult your survey

Prior to purchasing the property, you likely had it surveyed to determine the boundaries. If you bought the property a long time ago, it might be helpful to have it re-surveyed now.

The problem with older surveys is that they may reference physical or geographic descriptions that no longer exist, e.g., “12 feet from the second oak tree” on a piece of now-cleared property.

Simply having the survey redone may clarify boundary issues and solve your problem. If not, you may have to take it a step further.

Quiet title litigation

Property owners can file quiet title lawsuits wherein they seek a judicial determination of the disputed property’s boundary lines. This typically will cost you a bit more than the survey did but can settle the problem once and for all.

Reach accord on boundary lines

If you have been able to maintain a semblance of a civil relationship with the adjacent property owner, it might still be possible to compromise and reach accord in the matter.

See if the two of you could agree that a certain physical object, e.g., a pipeline, fence, tree, etc., serve as the physical boundary between your property lines. Then, you both will need to sign off on a quitclaim deed to one another. Quitclaim deeds grant ownership to each landowner of any property on the other side of the agreed-upon line.

Adverse possession

You could run into problems of adverse possession if the property in dispute has been used openly for a length of time by another party. That person’s case could be bolstered if they paid any of the property taxes during that period where they had use of the property.

Adverse possession is often cited in the case of alleged squatters’ rights. However, it could also become an issue if the other person asserts that they have the right to hunt or fish on the property or if they erected a shed or barn on the disputed land.

Handle it legally

Whatever you do, never take the law into your own hands and attempt to resolve the matter with threats or violence. That can only create further legal difficulties for you. Instead, learn more about Minnesota property laws and seek legal guidance when necessary.