Where to Draw the Line – Knowing the Implications of a Boundary Line Issue
Boundary line issues can arise in a variety of ways; often as result of a property owner unintentionally encroaching on a neighbor’s property with a garden, fence, or other improvement. Some boundary line issues can be resolved amicably while others become adversarial requiring Court action. In either case, it is wise to have proper guidance as to the potential implications. A new survey is not required in Connecticut when a property is sold, so these problems can frequently go undetected for many years. If the encroachment continues uninterrupted for fifteen years or more, the encroaching party can potentially claim title to the property through a legal concept known as adverse possession. Friendly neighbors may try to work out the issue with a boundary line adjustment, but even those situations can involve an unexpected degree of complexity. A boundary line adjustment requires a survey map and deeds, all of which must be filed on the land records. Boundary line adjustments must be considered carefully, since a change in lot lines can create a nonconforming lot under the local zoning regulations due to a change in the overall land area or setback distances. In addition, if one or both property owners have a mortgage on their property, it is appropriate to obtain consent of the lender and a partial release of the mortgage as it relates to the swapped parcels. This can be a surprisingly time-consuming process, but most institutional lenders have a standard process for this type of request. If you find that you have a boundary issue, its best to involve a legal professional early on so you know what to expect from the outset. Most people recognize that the relationships we have with our neighbors are sensitive, and its best to be informed before you try to make decisions as to how to approach these sometimes challenging situations.