Mooers Realty Maine Real Estate Blog
Real Estate Encroachments, Now What Do We Do?
Real estate encroachments in property sales, what does that term mean?
When everything is going smoothly on the way to a real estate closing and then uh oh. The news there is a big, bad encroachment, something interfering with the enjoyment of the land.
Affecting the value or full use of the property somehow.
What is an encroachment?
Put simply. the most common kind in real estate involves a building, a structure of some type built over the boundary line.
Or hanging over it so that on the ground level there may, not appear to be crowding or overlapping.
An encroachment interferes with the full enjoyment, value and use of a property.
So look up, see that big old rickety maple shade tree with sprawling limbs hanging over your utility power line? Ready, waiting, itching to come down in a strong Northeaster wind gust. When you will be saying "there goes the corner of the back porch I used to enjoy so much."
Now the question comes up when you are the buyer of a real estate listing, how come no one knew of the encroachment? Maybe the parties on both sides of it, the property owners did.
But could not come up with an equitable solution to correct it. Or just did not care. Were not too shook up over the encroachment because they were related. Everyone getting along peachy keen as neighbors. That were back and forth across the line all the time.
Until a real estate sale needs to happen.
Gets served up.
Encroachment. We have a glitch that stops everything dead in its tracks.
And the class D survey mortgage inspection survey by someone with a transit, pretty good at math and holding a GPS device.
Determines from title real estate deed research we have a problem.
A possible or real encroachment that deserves further study.
More surveying and research in the registry of deeds.
If the hedge, fence, garage or house is partially or totally built over the boundary line, what happens now?
Once everyone settles down and is ready to discuss the options for a workable solution without spending a fortune. Loosing a first born, an arm or a leg or both.
Mortgage holders on the properties have to be in the loop, weigh in too when the news of an encroachment is the buzz word of the day.
Once everyone realizes that this encroachment happened because of no survey. Or a problem up the street that dominoes down through the property owners, it is easier to see no foul.
No one was trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.
Or take advantage of the situation by crowding the line. Adding fuel to the fire and squatting, laying claim to it. Acting like what you have they own. So what are you going to do about it Bub?
The starting point in a real estate deed is everything to lay out the metes and bounds. If there are numbers.
To tie it to something known.
If that beginning point is flawed, there is one big problem.
Everything tied to it is going to be off down the line.
So in the case of solutions, an additional slice of land could be conveyed to correct the encroachment. And to keep it fair, an equitable sliver of land from the encroaching neighbor could be swapped. Easier if no mortgage lien holder to have to cue in for their blessings in the swapping.
Or money exchanged to buy the Maine land under the corner of the garage. Maybe removal of the hedge of cedars over the line.
Or get out the chain saw and let's trim that big, smasher accident ready to happen maple tree towering over the property line. Push it back high up. Contain it.
Or buy the property for sale next door and problem of encroachment goes away.
If you are the Hatfields and McCoy types.
Love a good spirited knock down, drag it out in the mud slinging fight, get your pen and checkbooks out.
Dueling real estate land surveyors with different opinions could be the costly, time consuming remedy.
To hammer out a court ordered solution rather than one the two neighbors would prefer to stay on friendly terms.
Or at least something civil where both still talk to each other in a small Maine town.
If the encroachment can not be removed, altered or the land under it purchased or swapped, another remedy could be put on the table for consideration.
How about an easement? Permission to keep it right where it is that it should not be. Where that leachfield on the septic system in the country can stay on the neighbors land for now.
But if it fails, has to be replaced, put it on your own land next time Mr. Neighbor.
Move it on over. Now that everyone knows the angle of that property line loosely drawn in the sand.
Was a little different because not at right angles from the road out front. Or over the years kinda moved, was pushed hard.
Like the neighbor who likes to mow a couple extra strips that are not his.
But he wishes the land under it was. Begins to think it is as junior adds to the zeal when property changes hands, is passed down.
They all are in the conquest to make the property grow.
Nations have been doing it for years right? Lots of bloodshed over real estate.
Old deeds hand written in barnyards during breaks in the planting, harvesting of crops. Innocent mistakes happen when the deed drafter is not properly trained, does not do it for a living.
A fee for the leasing, use of the land where the encroachment happens can be assessed. And the easement can be transferable to the next property owner or limited by a set determined time frame before it expires.
Like pumping quarters in a parking meter where eventually the time is up and what are you going to do? Move it or lose it.
To correct the situation where there is an encroachment on the land of another.
They are over on you or the not so fun arrangement that you find yourself the encroacher on the land owned by the abutting neighbor.
MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730