Encroachment

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Encroachment

I recently purchased a home. The property next to it is a very narrow lot, only about 15 feet wide but goes the length of my property. The owner of the lot came to cut the grass, then came over into my property with his dog saying my house sits on part of his land and he can do as he pleases. The house was built 58 years ago. I am financing through a bank so there was a title search and everything done. Can he legally be doing this?

Asked on May 9, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

He cannot legally trespass on or do use, access, etc. any part of your land--period and end of sentence. The issue is: is that your land?
The fact that there was a title search does not prove that the boundaries are correct; there could be an error on your title or deed, or there could be a never-resolved inconsistency between your deed (and its boundaries) and his (and the boundaries on it)--e.g. both could claim some of the land. A good idea would be to go to the county clerk's office and look up his deed, which is a public record, and compare to yours: do the boundaries match up properly, so your boundary is where you think it is? 
If both deeds agree that you, not him, own that land, then send him a written letter, sent some way you can prove delivery, delineating that both deeds agree as to who owns that land (preferably, include copies of the deeds) and that if he comes again onto your land, he will be trespassing and you will take appropriate legal action.
If the deeds do not agree and his deed shows that part of you land is is, take this up with your title insurance company. It may be that a legal action would be required to resolve any inconsistencies or dispute and set the boundaries properly.


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