Encroachment is a situation in real estate where one property owner violates the property rights of another by building something or placing something on land that does not belong to them. This often happens near property lines, when the owner is unsure of what their lot’s boundaries are, or they choose to intentionally advance beyond their proper limits.
Encroachment issues can be resolved by a simple conversation with the neighbor at fault, but if a solution cannot be agreed upon these issues can go to court.
It is for this reason that it is important to always have properties (especially new purchases) surveyed, versus wrongfully assuming the property line is located where the fence is. You may very well own beyond the fence and into the neighbor’s yard, or in an unfortunate scenario have a fence that is wrongfully built on someone else’s land – leading you to think that your lot is a lot bigger than it actually is.
Land surveys are also important to have before beginning new construction or additions.