How Land Surveyors Can Help Resolve Lot Line Disputes
There are few things worse than an annoying neighbour, and one of those things is a lot line dispute. Also known as property line disputes, lot line disputes occur when there’s a dispute over boundary lines, or lot lines, between properties. Whether it be due to a recent renovation or a nosy neighbor, lot line disputes often result in quarrels, broken friendships, and nightmares that can turn friendly neighbors into bitter enemies.
Thankfully, hiring a land surveyor often puts an early end to lot line disputes but before we delve into solving land disputes through land surveys, let’s go over what exactly are lot line disputes and the different types that may arise in a bit more detail.
What Are Lot Line Disputes?
First and foremost, lot lines are the invisible lines that define the boundaries of your property. These generally tell you where your property ends, and your neighbours’ begins. Lot line disputes can occur when you or your neighbour decides to carry out renovations involving property boundaries. Things like knocking down a fence, chopping down a tree, cutting a hedge, building a structure close to the property line, or even a storm knocking a tree over into neighbouring property can all cause lot line disputes.
Of course, many lot line disputes occur unintentionally, however, it’s not uncommon for one to occur as an intentional action by one of the parties involved. Luckily, these usually end peacefully with a mutual agreement between the parties, yet some require further action to resolve. So, what kind of lot line disputes could you face in Alberta?
Types of Lot Line Disputes
There are two common types of lot line disputes, namely encroachments and trespassing. Lot line disputes typically fall into one of these two categories.
Lot Line Encroachments
Encroachment disputes occur when one property owner crosses over to their neighbours’ property. Like we mentioned above, this could be caused by modifying an existing structure or building a new one. However, encroachments could be something as simple as a fence inadvertently crossing into another property, or even a tree falling over lot lines. While usually settled amicably, encroachment disputes can sometimes turn ugly — leading to liability issues, property damage, and problems when selling the property. In extreme cases, an encroachment could even eventually turn into a registered encroachment agreement, giving the encroached party rights to the encroaching property.
Lot Line Trespassing
In its simplest form, property trespassing can be defined as a person occupying land that isn’t legally theirs. Unlike encroachments, which could be an innocent mistake, trespassing generally occurs when a party knowingly and willingly occupies property that doesn’t belong to them. While it may seem like a simple issue to solve, it’s not something that should be taken lightly. Adverse possession laws in Alberta may allow someone who has occupied another person’s land for at least 10 years to claim ownership of the land, so it’s essential that any lot line trespassing disputes get taken care of as soon as they’re noticed.
How Hiring a Land Surveyor Can Resolve Lot Line Disputes
If you find yourself entangled in a lot line dispute, you’ll be glad to learn that hiring an Alberta Land Surveyor is one of the easiest and most effective ways of solving lot line disputes. First and foremost, to truly understand your property’s lot lines, you can refer to your Real Property Report. This involves a land surveyor visiting your property and using specialized equipment to determine its exact boundaries. Next, they’ll generate a plan of your property and all structures on it, making it helpful to better identify your lot lines in a dispute.
If you’d like to take things further, you could even hire a licensed land surveyor to physically mark your lot lines, set stakes along your boundary lines, or install survey spikes on the edges of your property. Once that’s done, settling a lot line dispute should become a lot easier. In most cases, hiring a land surveyor to conduct these two simple processes should be all it takes to resolve a lot line dispute. However, if you’re still having difficulties after proving your lot lines, your best bet would be to consult a specialized lawyer who’ll help you understand your rights and what action you can take.
Hire a Land Surveyor in Calgary
If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a land dispute, hiring a land surveyor and getting a Real Property Report should be one of the first things you should do. If you’re in the Calgary area and require the services of a professional land surveyor to help you solve a dispute, give Arc Surveys a call at 403-277-1272 or contact us online for a free quote for any of our land survey services.