They say good fences make good neighbors. But what happens when the fence impinges on a neighbor’s property line, or blocks a neighbor’s view? According to a new survey by FindLaw.com, neighbor disputes may be more common than you think.
The survey found that forty-two percent of Americans say they’ve been involved in a dispute with a neighbor. Fortunately, most of those disputes had happy endings. According to the survey, the majority of those involved in neighbor disputes were able to resolve the conflicts on their own without legal intervention.
The reasons for the disputes range from boundary issues to health code violations, according to the survey. However, the most common reason involved noise nuisance. Forty-eight percent of those involved in a dispute claimed that it was over a noisy neighbor.
While many of those involved in a dispute decided to call the police, the most popular response was a direct approach: forty-nine percent of people who had disputes say they simply discussed the issue with their neighbor. That tactic proved effective. According to the survey, forty percent of the neighbor disputes were mutually settled without any outside intervention.
Another thirty-five percent of the disputes resolved themselves on their own, the survey reports. While most neighbors were able to settle their disputes without turning to legal channels, it's a good idea for individuals to educate themselves about their legal options should a dispute arise.
"Most often, neighbors are friendly, but occasionally, disputes will arise over issues such as boundaries or excessive noise," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. "It's important for people to know what their rights are on issues such as boundaries, nuisances, animals and so on, as well as what legal and other resources are available that could help them."
FindLaw provides consumers with free, helpful information on neighbor disputes and property rights. The Neighbors section of FindLaw's Real Estate Center offers a number of articles and resources on nuisance law, boundary issues, animal disputes, view ordinances, and more.
Michelle Croteau, Director of Marketing Communications
with Corey Licht, FindLaw Audience Team