The most important issue to consider when buying land or a house is where the property lines are. Without a division between two property lots, modern society would be in chaos. We thrive off of laws and boundaries between not only what is right or wrong, but also, what belongs to us and what belongs to others. However, often property lines are disputed, which can cause major problems.

This week, our legal and home network members shared some great information about the history of property lines and the purpose of such boundaries. Property lines go all the way back to colonial times. In today’s world, property lines serve to settle disputes, but they also incite disagreements on where the true line exists, keeping surveyors busy.

We have summed up what we have learned this week from our legal network members regarding property lines:

1) To Settle Boundary Disagreements

James D. Rosenblatt of The Rosenblatt Law Firm explains a situation his firm is handling:

“We are currently handling a case where there is an accusation that a marker was moved, which created a dispute. Our clients believes that the defendant moved the marker in order to claim more property, and has cut down trees and removed a shed which our client believes was on his property. We have asked the court to appoint a surveyor as an expert to determine the proper property lines, and will move forward from that point.”

Boundary lines end disputes among neighbors who have misunderstandings about where their lot ends and the next begins can be tricky, especially with boundary markers so easy to move. Sometimes, a surveyor is required to determine the true line and end a property dispute.

2) They are a Marking of Progression

Attorney Richard Rosenzweig of Wenig Saltiel LLP gives us some history on the development of property lines:

“The development of property lines dates back to Colonial times. Before then, the king of England would distribute land to his friends and family and the property lines were defined by natural landmarks, known and respected by all via the name of the estate. It wasn’t until about the 1900s or so that property lines began to be measured, with what was known as meets & bounds.”

Boundary lines divide property in today’s world, but before colonial times, families had such large estates that they were separated by geographical landmarks like mountains and rivers. As lots became smaller, lines became more arbitrary, and required more careful measurements.

3) Maintain Peace With Your Neighbors

Attorney M. Sean Fosmire of Garan Lucow Miller P.C. shares some tips on keeping up a pleasant relationship with your neighbors:

“The best advice we can give to neighbors who have these issues is to be flexible, and understand that some give and take is needed to resolve problems of this nature. A common difficulty is that attachment to real estate (the home, the family cottage) often has highly emotional overtones.”

If you choose to take a flexible and understanding approach toward property lines with your neighbors, you will save yourself from a great deal of headache in the long run. If they are emotionally attached to property that you now possess, things can get messy. As long as you patiently state what is legally correct, while being mindful of their feelings on the subject, conflict is less likely to arise.