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Neighbors may not know where the property lines are

The whole idea of getting into a property line dispute with your neighbor may seem a bit preposterous to you. After all, those lines are well defined, right? If they clearly cross the line with any structure — a shed, a fence, a deck, etc. — then they are encroaching on your property. That's not really a point they can contest, in your mind.

In theory, that does make sense. The issue, though, is that a lot of people just have no idea where the actual property lines are. They know where the edges and boundaries lie in a general sense, but it's not precise. You may both think that you "clearly" own the same piece of land.

One issue is that homes change hands often. Maybe the original owner knew where the lines were, but the neighbor's house has been bought and sold a dozen times since it was built. The same is true for the home you now own. Many of those buyers did not bother to have a survey done, so they don't know exactly what they own. This can lead to confusion and encroachments.

In fact, some boundary line indicators may even be wrong. What if the neighbor before your current neighbor put up a fence that is technically on your land? At the time, neither that neighbor nor the person in your home knew where the line was. They talked about it, decided they didn't care, and simply built the fence wherever they wanted it. Then you and your new neighbor bought the homes, assuming the fence marked the property line, when it was actually incorrect.

This is just one example of how things get confused. If you do find yourself in a dispute, make sure you understand your legal options.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

Phone: 425-329-7857
Phone: 425-776-3191
Fax: 425-775-0406
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