How To Deal With Boundary Disputes In A New York Real Estate Transaction
When purchasing real estate in New York, the seller has certain duties to disclose facts about the property. Typically, this includes details and issues about the home itself, and everything within the “four corners” of the property’s boundaries. What happens, though, when the four corners of a property’s boundary aren’t where we think they are?
Among the numerous issues that can arise during a New York real estate sale, boundary disputes are among the most problematic. Errors and disagreements regarding where the property lines sit can prove costly, stressful, and time consuming. In many situations, a seller might not even know that their fence sat on a neighbor’s property line, or that a neighbor’s addition encroached onto their property line and the buyer wants the issue fixed.
Boundary disputes can sink a real estate deal if the issue is not corrected in time. It is crucial for both buyers and sellers to know what their rights are and what to expect in these scenarios.
Common boundary issues in a real estate setting include:
- Lot line disputes. During a property sale, a seller or buyer will often obtain a land survey to determine exactly where the lot lines exist. Sometimes, the bank financing the loan might request this information as well. When the survey turns up unexpected results, the property owner might have a problem on their hands. The buyer and seller can still continue with the sale if they agree that the survey doesn’t reveal anything that materially affects either one of them. If the issue involves neighboring property, however, the problem becomes more complicated because a third party is suddenly involved as a factor in the transaction.
- Fencing or landscaping disputes. Similar to lot line disputes are disagreements over the placement of fences, outbuildings, or landscaping items. Building a fence that goes one foot over into the neighboring property is the most obvious example, but other items such as sheds, pools, and even shrubbery can cross boundaries and lead to problems for a property owner. When these issues are in dispute during a real estate sale, sellers face the additional problem of what to do with the items that cross boundary lines.
- Access disputes. When two properties share a boundary, property owners can run into issues with access to, from, or through the properties. For example, a shared trail that connects to a park or main road might run through one property, with the other property having access to the trail via easement rights. An easement is an agreement by which one property owner allows specific use of an area to another property owner (or third party such as a utility company). This is often in exchange for payment or some other consideration. A buyer of property might hold a different view of how the easement should be used and whether access should continue, however. Even if this is not a deal-breaker, it can complicate what might have been a straightforward real estate sale otherwise.
In addition to these concerns, any number of unexpected issues can come up involving a property’s boundaries. If these issues pose a threat to completion of the deal, a skilled New York real estate attorney might be able to help sellers or buyers overcome a boundary obstacle.
Our Bronx and Westchester Real Estate Attorneys Can Help Navigate the Murky Waters of a Boundary Dispute
Some real estate sales are simple and straightforward – others can come filled with surprises and unexpected problems. Boundary disputes are an issue that both sellers and buyers hope to avoid, but must be dealt with from time to time.
Our attorneys at Cavallo & Cavallo have decades of experience in the New York real estate market and can help any party to a real estate transaction work their way through difficult boundary dispute issues in a New York property sale. To learn more, contact our Bronx & Westchester real estate attorneys online today.