Title and Boundary Disputes
Title and boundary disputes involve disagreements about who owns a piece of property, and the amount of area the property covers. Title and boundary disputes are becoming less common as better records are kept and property lines are more clearly defined. However, title and boundary disputes still arise, especially when title and boundary lines were recorded a long time ago.
Finding my Property's Boundary Lines
The property description in your deed includes the boundary lines of your property. Deeds to property are recorded at the county or city recorder's office. The recorder's office should have information on all the prior owners of your land and where the boundaries used to lie.
Many people own subdivision parcels. In a subdivision, the initial developer created a map, called a plat map, dividing the large parcel she owned into many small parcels. You can check the subdivision's plat map for a description of your boundaries.
What Does it Mean to Have "Title?"
Having title to a piece of property generally means that a person actually owns the property described on the deed. Title usually refers to an owner's rights.
Recorded title is also important. When an individual sells or buys a piece of property, she is usually required under state law to record this event at the county or city recorder's office. The recorded title will also note any "clouds on title" or "encumbrances" such as liens, mortgages, easements or other things that may affect ownership rights.
Essentially title insurance is a guarantee of a thorough search of the public records of your deed to make sure no one else has an interest in the property. The title insurance company will defend your title if there is a "cloud" or another interest recorded on your title that they did not find.
An easement is the right of another person to use your land for a specific reason. You can grant someone an easement through a document, like a deed. Easements affecting your land that have been expressly granted are recorded in the county recorder's office.
If your neighbor has been using a portion of land that is within your boundary lines for a certain period of time, he may have a prescriptive easement. Even though you did not expressly grant him the right to use your property, he may have developed a right if he used it long enough. Each state requires that the neighbor use the land for a specific period of time. A prescriptive easement is not always recorded at the county recorder's office.
Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney for my Title or Boundary Line Dispute?
Title and boundaries are very essential issues, which may affect your rights as a property owner. A real estate attorney can help you determine the extent of your rights to your property. Additionally, a real estate attorney can help you defend any attack on your boundary rights and your title to your property.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 12-04-2012 03:35 PM PST