Boundary Disputes: Legal Solutions for PA Property Owners

This blog post discusses legal solutions for boundary disputes among property owners in Pennsylvania. It covers causes of disputes, legal principles including adverse possession, and outlines steps for resolution from neighborly discussions to legal action. The post emphasizes the importance of amicable solutions and the role of professional legal counsel, particularly from the Ament Law Group, encouraging property owners to seek expert assistance to protect their rights effectively.



5/10/20243 min read

topview of village during daytime
topview of village during daytime


Boundary disputes are a common issue faced by property owners and can arise from misunderstandings or disagreements over the exact line that divides two properties. In Pennsylvania, dealing with these disputes requires a clear understanding of property law and, often, a strategic approach to resolve issues amicably. In this blog post, we'll explore effective legal solutions for resolving boundary disputes for Pennsylvania property owners, highlight the importance of negotiation, and briefly touch on the concept of adverse possession.

Understanding Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes occur when two property owners disagree over the location of their property lines. These disagreements can be triggered by various actions, such as the erection of a new building, fence construction, or even the natural growth of trees and landscaping. Disputes may also arise during property transactions when a new owner discovers that previous descriptions of the property do not match its current usage or physical boundaries.

Causes of Boundary Disputes

  • Incorrect or outdated property descriptions: Sometimes, old deeds contain descriptions that are difficult to interpret or based on features of the landscape that no longer exist.

  • Overlapping property claims: Property owners might possess deeds that seem to grant ownership of the same piece of land.

  • Encroachments: One property owner might inadvertently build a structure partially on a neighbor's land.

Legal Framework in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, property boundaries are defined by the deed description, supplemented by any applicable plat maps and surveys. If these documents do not resolve the dispute, Pennsylvania law requires further analysis, often involving historical usage and expert surveys.

Adverse Possession in Pennsylvania

One legal principle that often comes into play in boundary disputes is adverse possession. Adverse possession allows a trespasser to gain legal ownership of land under certain conditions. In Pennsylvania, the possession must be actual, continuous, exclusive, notorious, and adverse for a period of 21 years. This means the trespasser must treat the land as their own, openly and without permission for this period. While adverse possession can complicate boundary disputes, it also incentivizes property owners to address discrepancies swiftly.

Steps to Resolve Boundary Disputes

Resolving boundary disputes can be a multistep process, ranging from informal discussions to legal action. Here are some recommended steps:

1. Talk to Your Neighbor

The first and often most cost-effective step is to have a candid conversation with your neighbor. Open communication can resolve many disputes without further escalation. Discuss each other's concerns and see if there is a mutually agreeable solution, such as adjusting where a fence will be placed or agreeing on a certain use of the land.

2. Review Property Documents

Examine your deed and any property surveys you have. These documents usually contain the legal description of your property boundaries. Comparing your documents with your neighbor's can help identify any discrepancies or areas of misunderstanding.

3. Hire a Surveyor

If discussions do not resolve the issue, hiring a professional surveyor can provide a definitive answer about the legal boundaries. Surveyors use historical data and modern technology to determine property lines accurately.

4. Mediation

Before moving to litigation, consider mediation. A neutral third party can facilitate negotiations and help both parties reach a satisfactory agreement.

5. Legal Action

As a last resort, legal action may be necessary. This involves going to court to have a judge determine the property boundaries based on evidence and legal principles.

The Role of Legal Counsel

In any boundary dispute, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is crucial. Lawyers who specialize in real estate law can offer substantial guidance, from interpreting deeds and handling mediation to representing your interests in court.

At Ament Law Group, we understand the nuances of Pennsylvania real estate law. With decades of experience handling boundary disputes, our attorneys are equipped to offer the precise, tailored legal assistance you need to protect your property rights.

Boundary disputes can be stressful, but they don't always need to end in litigation. Open communication with your neighbor and the assistance of experienced professionals can often lead to peaceful solutions. However, when disputes cannot be resolved amicably, it's essential to seek legal advice.

Call to Action

If you are facing a boundary dispute, don't hesitate to reach out to the Ament Law Group. Our skilled attorneys can help you understand your legal options and work towards a favorable resolution. Contact us today to ensure your property rights are protected. Remember, timely action can prevent the complexities of adverse possession and ensure that your land remains yours.