Title and Boundary Disputes

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Title and Boundary Disputes

Title and boundary disputes are disagreements about who owns a piece of property and the amount of area the property covers. Title and boundary disputes are becoming less common because better records are kept and property lines are more clearly defined. However, title and boundary disputes still arise between neighbors, especially when title and boundary lines were recorded a long time ago.

Finding My Property's Boundary Lines

Figuring out where your property begins and ends can be difficult, but most people use the following:

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.

What If My Home Is a Lot in a Housing Development?

You can still find out your property lines through the same methods listed above. Many people own subdivision parcels. In a subdivision, the initial developer created a map, called a plat map. The large parcel is then divided 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. Rights, such as:

Why Should I Record My Title?

Recording your title is important. Individuals selling or buying property usually have to record the sale with the county or city recorder's office. The recorded title may also include details about liens, mortgages, easements or other things that may affect ownership rights.

What Is Title Insurance?

Essentially title insurance is a guarantee that a thorough search of the public records has been made on your deed. Conducting a search will ensure that no one else has an interest in the property. The insurance company will defend your title if there is a "cloud" or another interest recorded on your title that they did not find.

What Are Easements?

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 usually need to be recorded with the county recorder's office.

What Are Prescriptive Easement?

If your neighbor has been using a part 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.

Should I Get a Real Estate Attorney for My Title or Boundary Line Dispute?

Yes. Title and boundaries are important issues that may affect your rights as a property owner. An experienced real estate attorney can help you determine the extent of your rights to your property. Additionally, an attorney can help you defend any attack on your boundary rights and your title to your property.

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Last Modified: 04-21-2015 12:51 PM PDT

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