What can I do if I own mountain property and just discovered that my residence encroaches a neighbor’s property line?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if I own mountain property and just discovered that my residence encroaches a neighbor’s property line?

I have owned property for 13 years. I have used the area in question for the 13 years. My neighbor and I have always thought and acted as though the property in question belongs to me. We have a friendly, yet reserved, relationship. The neighbor received a notice from the City regarding a violation. We were both confused why the notice was sent to the neighbor and not sent to me. The County followed up by sending an aerial overlay stating that the location was on the neighbor’s property. I have the original grant deed that has the property boundaries in the original surveying language. What are my options?

Asked on November 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Does your grant deed property description show the property on your side? Who did the survey? Did the title company not check or verify property lines? This is something that will need to be addressed by a surveyor looking at property lines and looking at both properties' deeds to see and compare the descriptions. If the encroachment was unknown by either party and the deeds have been the same, then you may have sufficient argument that the property is yours. If not, then you may need to work with your neighbor to either "buy out" this portion and have him transfer it to you or he relinquish it without cost to you.

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