Property disputes can lead to intense feuds between neighbors. Those feuds can, in turn, lead to protracted – and potentially costly – legal battles.
If you find yourself in a property dispute in Eastern North Carolina, you should explore ways to avoid litigation and resolve the matter as amicably as possible.
Here are four suggestions:
- Know your property lines.
When you first took possession of your property, you should have received a property survey map, or a “plat.” This document precisely sets out your property lines. If you do not have a copy of your plat, an attorney can help you to track it down.
You will get a much better understanding of your rights once you can see where your property lines are located. A review of the plat may clear up your own confusion and lead to a peaceful resolution of your dispute with your neighbor.
- Write a letter.
If you believe that your neighbor is violating your property rights, you should consider writing a formal letter to the neighbor. Of course, you can also ask an experienced property law attorney to draft the letter on your behalf.
The letter should give clear notice of the property violation to the neighbor. You should describe the nature and extent of the violation and make an explicit request for a remedy. You should attach a copy of the plat to illustrate your point.
The tone and content of the letter should be courteous and professional. If the tone is overly aggressive or disrespectful, the letter may only make matters worse. Make sure to file a copy of the letter with the county clerk.
Upon review of your letter, your neighbor may realize that he or she is in the wrong and be more willing to work with you on resolving the matter.
- Go through mediation.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It involves the use of a neutral person – typically an experienced lawyer or former judge – who helps both sides in a dispute to reach an agreement.
If you go through mediation in your property dispute, you may ultimately find that it saves you time and money and helps you to preserve a good relationship with your neighbor.
Another benefit of mediation is that it does not take your other legal options off the table. Mediation conducted before a lawsuit is filed is voluntary. You can simply walk away from the process at any time if you determine that it is not helpful.
- Explore all options before you file a lawsuit.
If you try to make peace with your neighbor before filing a lawsuit and receive an unreasonable response, then filing a lawsuit may be necessary.
If this is you, consult with an attorney and assess all of your available options under North Carolina’s property laws in pursuing a lawsuit. A competent property attorney can help you assess all options, as lawsuits can be timely and expensive.
The highly experienced property dispute lawyers at The Armstrong Law Firm, P.A., offer cost-effective legal representation for our clients. From our office in Smithfield, we represent individuals and companies throughout Eastern North Carolina, including Fayetteville, Raleigh, Wilmington, Greenville and Jacksonville.
We can help you to understand your legal rights and options in a property dispute and assist you in pursuing a prompt, satisfying resolution of the matter. We will help you evaluate and determine whether a lawsuit, or some version of pre-lawsuit dispute resolution, is your best option.
Contact us today to learn more.