Encroachment

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An Encroachment is the extension of some improvement such as a building, fence, or driveway across the legal boundary of the adjoining tract of land.

 

An encroachment is a trespass.  The owner of the adjoining parcel may, and often does, seek redress.

 

Redress can be money damages or the removal of the object that is encroaching.

 

Common encroachments in residential property are:

 

A homeowner builds a driveway that is partially on his neighbor's land.
A homeowner builds a fence that is partially or totally on his neighbor's land.
A homeowner has a tree of which the limbs spread over his neighbor's land.

 

An appraiser is required to report all known and readily observable encroachments since they may have a detrimental effect on the value of the property.

 

Encroachments are rare in residential properties that have been built since 1970 or so but are not so uncommon in houses built earlier than that.  It is not really possible to see an encroachment and know for sure that it is an encroachment.  Watch particularly for overhanging trees, eaves of houses hanging over the adjacent driveway, suspicious fences, or an outbuilding or driveway that appears too close to the neighbor's house.  Ask the homeowners.  They will know.   The only sure way to recognize an encroachment is to look at a surveyor's plat that includes the buildings and other improvements.

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