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What is encroachment?

Boundary lines between properties in California are not always as clear as they should be. As a result, you may have a neighbor who puts up a structure that exceeds the boundary line and winds up on your land, whether in whole or in part. The legal term for this is encroachment. Your neighbor may encroach on your property purposely, or it may be accidental due to a misunderstanding or miscalculation. 

According to FindLaw, it may be necessary to take the matter of your neighbor's encroachment onto your property to court. However, since you and your neighbor will still have to live next to one another, it is often preferable to try to solve the matter through a discussion with your neighbor first. There are several different ways of resolving an encroachment without going to court:

  • Selling a portion of your property to your neighbor
  • Providing written permission to your neighbor to use the property
  • Asking your neighbor to move the encroaching structure

Before you take any sort of action, however, you should be sure that you know exactly where your boundaries lie. It may be that there is no encroachment after all. 

The law does not require you to take any sort of action against your neighbor for encroachment. However, you must disclose the encroachment if you eventually decide to sell your property. Even if the encroachment does not bother you, prospective buyers may have an issue with it, and they have the right to take that into consideration when deciding whether to purchase your property. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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Lawrence R. Jensen & Associates
95 S. Market St.
Ste. 550
San Jose, CA 95113

Phone: 408-465-0293
Fax: 408-899-2403
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