Property survey disputes are a common subject for real estate lawsuits. Basically, a professional property survey may be conducted in order to determine the various characteristics of a plot of land or an area of real estate. For instance, a survey can yield accurate results regarding the boundaries, measurements, and exact location of land owned.
Professional property surveys can be requested in order to clarify disagreements with regards to a specific plot of land. In many cases, a property survey may be conducted prior to a real estate sale, or prior to beginning construction/improvements on the land.
What are Common Examples of Property Survey Disputes?
While property surveys are generally reliable when conducted by a certified professional, they can still be a source of legal dispute. Some common examples of property survey disputes may include:
- Issues involving land use and zoning
- Arguments between neighbors involving shared property borders
- Conflicts over fences and other boundary lines
- Conflicts over legal rights to trees and other natural resources
- Disagreements between results of a survey and the written descriptions in a will, deed, sales contract, or other legal document
Regarding this last issue, descriptions of property in a legal document should be as clear as possible. That is, the description of the property or land should be able to fully identify the property from the description alone. This will help to reduce the need for a property survey in the first place.
How are Property Survey Disputes Resolved?
Most property survey disputes are preferably resolved through a damages award issued to the plaintiff for their losses. As in most real estate and land transactions, monetary compensation is often a more suitable legal remedy than other methods.
For instance, if a building was completed and it turns out it is slightly over a boundary line, it would probably be more cost-efficient to reimburse the plaintiff through a damages award, rather than have the whole building removed and relocated a few feet or inches. In some cases, if the survey is conducted early enough in the construction phases, the builders can correct the error before the construction moves too far along.
Lastly, a common remedy for survey disputes is to simply hire a different professional and conduct a different survey. This can help eliminate any bias towards one party, and can resolve ambiguities between the different survey reports.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance with a Property Survey Dispute?
If you have any questions, concerns, or legal conflicts involving a property survey, you may need to hire a qualified real estate lawyer immediately. Your attorney can help determine the root of the problem, and can explain how the laws in your area might affect your claim. Laws can be different from state to state, but your attorney will understand how your rights can be protected under state laws. Also, your lawyer can be one hand to represent you during trial if you need to pursue a lawsuit.