Many property owners in Washington don’t realize that they have a boundary disagreement with their neighbor until the neighbor starts encroaching on their property. All of a sudden, a neighbor that you had no issues with before starts building a structure over your property line.
The term “encroachment” for real estate purposes refers to a structure that is intruding over a private property line. Encroachment often happens when a homeowner starts making renovations by expanding their home or adding a porch. Sometimes, encroachment happens when one neighbor builds a new shed or a fence.
What can you do about encroachment?
The steps that you will need to take to remedy an encroachment depend on how far along a building project is and how willing your neighbor is to solve the issue. The first step is to try to talk to your neighbor about where the property line is and resolve the encroachment.
If your neighbor doesn’t agree with your assessment of the property line, you may need to show them your property title or get a professional property survey done. A professional survey conducted by a third party is usually enough evidence to resolve this type of real property dispute.
What if the issue still can’t be resolved?
Your neighbor may be unwilling to dismantle a structure that they built over your property line. One option to resolve this problem is to sell the encroached-upon property to your neighbor. If you would rather keep all of your property, you may have to take your neighbor to court.
Quiet title and ejection actions
The last resort for an encroachment dispute it to file a quiet title action followed by an ejection action. These court processes will require you to prove that you own the disputed land that your neighbor is now using improperly. If the court rules in your favor, your neighbor will be ordered to stop using your land. However, if your neighbor has been using your land for a long time, it is much harder to win an ejection action.