Just imagine buying a farm so that you can finally run your own business and live in the country only to have a neighbor start encroaching on your property. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence. When talking about encroachment, this can mean a number of things, including a neighbor using your property to grow crops, constructing temporary or permanent infrastructure, allowing his livestock to roam your field, adults using your land for hunting, and so on.
Instead of feeling frustrated, it is important for you to know that there are several viable remedies. If you and your neighbor have a decent relationship, try talking to him. Especially if you can produce a recent land survey that clearly defines your property from his, there is a good chance that things can be solved amicably. However, if the relationship is bad or your neighbor is known for being difficult to work with, you definitely want to seek the help of a qualified attorney who specializes in farm law.
Usually, major disputes arise when both neighbors believe they are the rightful owner of the property and there is no land assessment to prove either side’s claim. Sadly, many battles have become so heated that people have been injured or worse. Obviously, you want to prove that the farmland is yours but in a civil way so that you and your neighbor can co-exist living next to one another.
One challenge is that even if you were to pay to have a professional land survey done, proving to your neighbor that you are in fact the owner of the property, there is no guarantee that the dispute will end. Depending on your neighbor’s determination and demeanor, you could end up having a very serious battle on your hands. Because of that, you need the services and support of an attorney who fully understands farmland laws but also knows the best approach to take in seeking a peaceful resolution.
More than likely, you just want your neighbor to stop crossing over onto your land. However, if the situation calls for it, you might need to go a step further by filing a claim or lawsuit to recover monetary damages. For instance, if you paid to have a building torn down or moved or a portion of your pasture was destroyed because your neighbor cut down trees or allowed his livestock to eat and trample it, then you would have every legal and moral right to seek monetary compensation.
Even if you have a land survey, your attorney will probably request to have another one performed by an independent expert. That way, your neighbor does not have much ground to stand on. By working with a reputable attorney, the odds are in your favor for reaching a peaceful resolution. Therefore, if you feel there is no hope in trying to work things out with your neighbor or if you have suffered major financial loss, it is important that you hire the best attorney possible.