Massachusetts is host to thousands of individual properties, often with non-obvious or disputed property lines. And even if you’re unaware of any current disputes or problems with your property boundaries, a neighbor can suddenly create an issue at any time.
A boundary dispute doesn’t necessarily need to result in litigation, although that can sometimes be the outcome. But there are other ways to try to resolve boundary disputes.
Friendly relations and fences or boundary markers
One of the best ways to resolve boundary disputes is to not get into them in the first place. And that starts with having amicable relationships with your neighbors if at all possible.
If your neighbors know you and like you, they’re more likely to want to work out any issues without resorting to the legal system, and you can frequently find a solution that works for both parties.
Another way to proactively establish boundaries is with fences or other physical markers that denote the boundary, such as a hedge or other bush or treeline.
Consider a general property survey
A general property survey is the best way to authoritatively establish the legal boundaries between two properties. As such, it should be your first option when a property dispute occurs or seems imminent.
In many cases, one party (or even both parties) may genuinely not realize where their property line lies and this misunderstanding might have gone on for years or even decades. A general property survey clears up that type of issue.
Keep in mind that the state of Massachusetts does have adverse possession laws, in which a person may claim certain rights to portions of land they don’t legally own. Adverse possession is one reason why it’s in your best interest to try to resolve boundary disputes as soon as possible rather than waiting.
Boundary disputes can be resolved outside of the legal system through various means. Proactive solutions are best, but a general property survey can usually establish in no uncertain terms where legal boundaries lie.