The Importance of a Property Encroachment

Property EncroachmentsIf you’ve recently purchased a home or a piece of land, congratulations! However, don’t forget owning property in Connecticut can be a full time job within itself. There are a number of legal issues that the owner will have to deal with once they receive their deed agreement. Among those, property encroachment is a critical issue, which could potentially lead to a legal dispute between the neighbours or the city council.

In the case that you aren’t familiar, a property encroachment refers to the intrusion on another person’s property, intentional or unintentional, and can be a common issue among property owners. If you have an encroachment in your property deed, it might be necessary to talk to a professional engineering & surveying company to avoid any misunderstandings. For more information on this subject, check out the article “How to Settle Property Disputes through Land Surveying“.

The Definition of a Property Encroachment

According to the planning and zoning board in Connecticut, an encroachment is a right of access that has been agreed upon by the property owner or mandated by the state government. Since the term encroachment has a few different interpretations it can be difficult for a first-time property owner to comprehend exactly what a property encroachment entails. However, it’s commonly used in the real estate world because it refers to situations where a landowner intrudes onto his or her neighbouring property for a number of different reasons, most of the time its in a legal and purposeful manner.

In most cases, a property encroachment was discovered where a building, fence, gardening bed, driveway or another structure overstepped the property line. The flipside to a property encroachment that you knew existed is the case where an unlicensed or inexperienced surveyor made a critical mistake years ago in marking the boundaries of a subdivision. If this situation happened to you, don’t panic, just contact a professional civil engineering and surveying firm for help clearing up any misunderstanding.


The Importance of a Property Encroachment

In the case that you have recently discovered a property encroachment on your property, you should take care of this issue immediately. If you think there isn’t any harm in allowing your neighbour to use part of your property now, then you’re probably not aware of the significance that a property encroachment can have in the future. An encroachment is actually an intrusion on your property that you can legally challenge your neighbour for, possibly ask for rent in return, or setup a legal agreement with them. Nevertheless, if you ignore the property encroachment, there can be serious consequences in the future that can cost you time and money.

According to the State of Connecticut, adverse possession is a way to acquire title to a property that didn’t legally belong to you:

“Adverse possession is a method of acquiring title to real estate, accomplished by an open, visible, and exclusive possession uninterruptedly for a 15-year period. Connecticut also recognizes the right to acquire a right-of-way or other easement by continuous, uninterrupted use of someone else’s land for a period of 15 years.”

For instance, if your neighbour has used a part of your driveway, maybe paved it and maintained it, she or he can file for the deed to the land, arguing that they took possession, paid property taxes and upgraded the land openly, without facing any complaint. If you are a new property owner and your unaware of a possible encroachment on your property, start with a land survey from a professional surveyor to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Property encroachment is an infringement or right of access on another person’s property.
  • Property encroachment can occur due to survey errors in determining the boundary lines.
  • If property encroachment is not challenged or resolved immediately, the landowner might lose the encroached property due to the Adverse Possession Law.

Sources: Connecticut Judicial Branch
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