Land Disputes

What Is a Land Dispute?

Land Dispute

Land disputes arise from disagreements between neighbors regarding various aspects of land use, such as boundaries, encroachment, easements, and covenants.

Neighbors often disagree over the precise location of a property line dividing their properties. That occurs even more frequently when the new owner buys the neighboring property. If your new neighbor was not informed about the location of the property line, believing the boundary is deep into your property, that gives rise to a land dispute.

Encroachment is the occupation of any portion of your land (above or below the surface) by another individual. A land dispute occurs whenever there is no agreement between you and another person allowing them to occupy your property.

Sometimes another person or entity has the right to use your land for a particular purpose. That right is called an easement. It can be given to another person by a written agreement or through a license (permission). In some cases, an easement is acquired through regular use of the property or by way of necessity.

Covenants are restrictions on the property, mandating specific uses or preventing the owner from taking certain actions related to the property. Land disputes arise when the parties disagree on the rights, responsibilities, and restrictions on property use.

When a land dispute arises, the first thing you should do is to seek an amicable resolution. Having an open discussion with your neighbor is sometimes enough to resolve any disagreement. After the talks end unsuccessfully, many people initiate litigation. They often forget that engaging in an adversarial court procedure deepens the hostility between them and their neighbors even further.

Settling Land Disputes Through Mediation

An alternative to a vindictive and hostile atmosphere of litigation is the mediation procedure, in which a neutral third person facilitates the negotiations between the disputing neighbors.

Traditional court litigation lacks the most advantages land dispute mediation has. 

Mediation is a neutral, voluntary, and confidential dispute resolution. Mediating land disputes is a time and cost-effective method of resolving the conflict.

On the other hand, engaging in court litigation is an expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective procedure. 

Mediation’s key characteristic is confidentiality. Land dispute records remain a private matter between the parties. The mediator will never disclose the details of the dispute resolution process. 

There is no judge or a jury in land dispute mediation. The mediator acts as a neutral third person facilitating the negotiations. That is contrary to litigation, in which the jury decides on the facts while the judge controls the procedure.

Each party discusses land dispute issues in private sessions with the mediator. After that, the mediator holds joint sessions in the presence of both parties. The goal of mediation is to explore the reasons for the dispute and find the path for reconciliation of the opposing interests.

When successful, negotiations lead to a settlement between the disputing parties. Signing the mediation agreement creates a binding contract, enforceable in court.

Schedule Your Appointment

Thomas Chase is a certified Florida mediator with years of experience in land dispute resolution.

Highly skilled at dealing with various land disputes, Mr. Chase will successfully lead you through negotiations, facilitating the agreement between you and your neighbor.