You can never predict what type of neighbors you are going to get. Whether you have just moved or your neighbors have just changed; there is always the chance that you’ll get the ones who don’t respect boundaries.
In most scenarios you’ll exchange pleasantries and leave it at that. The problems generally start when they decide its okay to encroach on your land. They might erect a fence, add an extension or even plant a row of tall trees. That would all be fine except for the fact that they have crossed the boundary line!
There are several steps you should take to resolve this issue.
Before you say anything consult your property deeds. They should show exactly where the boundary is. If they do, then take them with you and calmly visit your neighbor. You simply need to ask if you can compare deeds and explain that you think they have crossed the boundary.
You can always mention that they wouldn’t like it if it was the other way round.
Comparing your deeds might be enough to sort out the issue.
If the matter is still unresolved then the next step is to get a construction surveyor to complete a land survey. Amongst other things this will show the legal boundaries of your properties. You may need to pay for this yourself if your neighbor is being unreasonable.
A copy of this survey can then be shown to your neighbor to emphasize the fact that they have encroached on your land. At this stage you can ask them politely to remove the items they have placed on your land. Hopefully this will be enough to convince them.
If you are still getting nowhere it is likely that the relationship between you and your neighbor is starting to get frosty. At this point talking to them about it is likely to end up in confrontation, which is not a desirable outcome.
Instead you need to enlist the help of a mediation service who will talk calmly to both of you separately and together to resolve the issue.
At the end of this process your neighbor should move the items which are crossing the boundary line.
Unfortunately, if this approach is not successful, then you will need to consider taking the matter to court. The survey and deeds will confirm you are right about your boundary and the mediation will show that you have done everything you can to resolve this amicably.
The court will then order your neighbor to remove the offending items and will back it up with visits from their officials to ensure the order is complied with.
This can be a long process but it needn’t be stressful if you adopt the right approach and stay calm. You may even be able to continue good relations with your neighbor afterwards; or it might be time to put that fence on your boundary line; now that you have established exactly where it is.