There are many people involved in property disputes with their neighbors. According to Harvard Business Review, U.S. Corporations pay around $20 billion a year to litigation attorneys. The numbers are a hint to how many people in the USA are involved in a property dispute. In case you are one of them, you have two options to settle this out: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or legal proceedings in the court.
You can use ADR processes such as judicial arbitration and mediation services to settle the dispute outside the court. While ADR is a much cheaper option to end the disagreement, it just doesn’t work out at times. That’s when you are forced to file a litigation case on the other party. This post focuses on what actions you need to take for a legal property dispute procedure.
Understand and analyze the dispute
Property disputes can be of many types. Sometimes your neighbor might have increased the extent of their land, the description of the deeds might be wrong, or deeds conveying property to different people. Regardless of the type of case, it is essential to understand the dispute first. The best thing to do here is to hire a licensed examiner or surveyor.
Licensed surveyors can help you determine whether your neighbor has infringed on your property or not. They can also help you with the title search if the deeds show ownership to different people. A title search involves finding all the documents related to the property. You can also opt for an appraisal to see the market value of a property. This will help disputes where you think the previous owner has sold you the property at a higher amount.
Talk to your neighbors
Once done with the analysis, it’s time to approach your neighbor. Expenses of the court and hiring a litigation attorney can cost you a fortune. At times, it may cost you even more than the land’s worth. Talking to your neighbor can help you come to a mutual resolution. If you and your neighbor have a friendly relationship, this will quickly work out. However, if the neighbor is not ready to listen to you, proceeding legally is the only option.
Hire an attorney
The first thing to proceed legally is to hire an attorney. Although you have understood the dispute and know that your neighbor is at fault, it is essential to get a litigation attorney. They will help you know all the property-related laws. Further, they will also help you with the procedure you need to follow and how strong or weak your case is. If your claim is strong and you have all the documents that can help you easily win, you will save both time and money. However, if your case is not strong enough, it might take longer to get the justice you seek.
Send a demand letter
After hiring an attorney, the first thing he will do is send a demand letter to your neighbor. The demand letter will describe the dispute and the possible resolutions. Negotiations or dividing the property at argument can be the possible resolutions available. Here, your neighbor will get another chance to solve the matter outside the court. There are numerous ADR options available that can be used to come to a resolution.
The letter will also ask for action if the neighbor is not willing to opt for a resolution. In case this happens, your neighbor will show the demand letter to his attorney to understand all the available options.
File a complaint
If nothing works out and both you and your neighbor consider yourself right, file a complaint. Your attorney will help you file the complaint and send out the information about the same issue to your neighbor. Also, get ready with all the required paperwork during this time. Papers of the surveys that you might have done can come in handy here.
Begin with the court proceedings
After filing a complaint, the court will give you a date to begin the proceedings. Just because you are in the court does not mean that you will have to take on a battle. Even after the court proceedings start, there are chances of a settlement. The court itself might suggest you doing a settlement outside the court. But if the settlement does not bring you a resolution, prepare for a trial.
That’s everything you need to know about legally proceeding in case of a property dispute. However, it would be best if you still focused on getting a settlement outside the court. As mentioned, hiring an attorney can cause the relevant case costs to rise significantly. Reaching a settlement is the only way to save money and time. Hence, always keep trying for a settlement before going to court.