What Type of Lawyer Do I Need for a Property Dispute? Staff Profile Picture
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Owning property is something that many people aspire to do. Having your own piece of real estate brings with it a sense of freedom and independence and can be a smart investment that your future self will thank you for. It is also a major responsibility, with which come certain risks. It is not uncommon for owners of both residential and commercial real estate to find themselves embroiled in complicated or stressful battles related to their property. If you find yourself involved in a property dispute, it is important to know what rights you have and what steps will need to be taken to reach a satisfactory resolution. A qualified property dispute lawyer can help you through the process. 

What Is Considered a Property Dispute?

Put simply, a property dispute is any legal disagreement involving real estate. This type of controversy may extend to private residences, apartments, condos, trees, roads, and ponds. It can occur between neighbors, family members, friends, acquaintances, trespassers, property visitors, developers, landlords, tenants, homeowners’ associations, and government agencies. The nature of the dispute and the amount of damages being sought will determine whether your property dispute case is handled in a municipal or a magistrate court. It may also be resolved out of court through mediation or collaborative law

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for a Property Dispute?

When faced with property dispute issues, whether you are the one bringing up the charges or someone else is bringing the charges against you, you’ll want to find a dedicated real estate attorney with litigation experience. In some cases involving inherited property or property disputes in a divorce, a qualified family lawyer may also be helpful. The right lawyer, like the ones found right here on, will not only provide quality legal advice and support. They will also give you peace of mind about finding the best resolution to your situation. They’ll help you understand your rights, prepare and file complicated court paperwork, ensure you meet legal deadlines, represent you in court, and help with out-of-court negotiations as they arise, always keeping your best interests in mind. 

Common Causes of Property Disputes

Property disputes can arise over a wide array of issues. Here are some common examples of property dispute scenarios:

Blocking A Neighbor’s View

Neighbors have been known to get into legal battles over the existence of tall fences, trees, shrubbery, and new additions to homes. Whether added to a property with the specific intention of blocking a neighbor’s view out of spite or added without the knowledge that they are disrupting a view, this can become a sticky and costly source of contention between neighbors. 

Breach of Contract

This can happen when a landlord or tenant does not hold up their end of a legally binding agreement, like a lease. Examples of this may be a tenant’s refusal to pay rent or a landlord’s refusal to replace or repair something on the property for which they are responsible. Property damage at the hands of a tenant may also fall under this category. 

Disputes Between Co-Owners

In cases where one co-owner wishes to sell their interest in jointly owned property and the other does not, one might decide to sue for rights to break up the property so that both may have their own parcel of land and do as they wish with their portion. 

Foreclosure Rights

When a property is in danger of foreclosure, mortgage lenders and creditors may be found disputing who is allowed to foreclose on the property and/or who will get the money from the sale of said property.  

Property Line Disputes

Boundary disputes between neighbors are a common occurrence. When neighbors disagree on where the lines between their properties start and end, even when land deeds offer clear evidence of who owns what, questions about who can park, plant, or build in a given area can become quite contentious.

Real Estate Fraud

Real estate fraud cases occur when the owner or person responsible for a property is aware that the property has defects, and they attempt to sell or lease that property without disclosing information about said defects to the buyer/renter. 

Zoning Issues

Zoning issues can arise when a property owner wants to use their land for purposes that are not authorized. Zoning classifications may include residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, or hotel/hospitality. Each zoning classification allows for different uses. A property under agricultural zoning rules may be utilized differently than a property under residential zoning rules. Landowners who attempt to utilize their property in ways that skirt their zoning regulations may be faced with stressful legal battles. 

What Is the Legal Process for Property Disputes?

The steps taken to resolve a property dispute depend on several factors. Are you suing or being sued? What is the nature of the dispute, and who else is involved? Sometimes matters can be settled out of court through mediation or collaborative law. If things escalate to a point where litigation is required, you’ll be happy to have a quality real estate lawyer who specializes in litigation by your side. Below are a few steps that may need to be taken regarding your property dispute.

Complete a Land Survey, Appraisal, and Title Search

For boundary dispute issues, it will be necessary to hire a land surveyor to outline the exact boundaries of your property. After the property lines have been determined, an appraiser can help you understand the market value of the portion of the property that is being disputed. Finally, doing a title search to locate all documents in your property's chain of title will let you know if any other deeds may affect your claims to ownership.  

Research Pertinent Zoning Laws

If your dispute has to do with how you can use your land, you’ll want to be up to date on what zoning regulations apply to your property and what the penalties are for breaching those regulations. You’ll also want to research whether or not it is possible to have your property rezoned into another, more appropriate classification. Your lawyer should be able to help you with all of this. 

Research Related Local and State Legislation

If your dispute is with another entity that has unlawfully utilized your land, for example, if someone has removed trees from your land without your consent, you are likely owed civil penalties. You’ll want to be aware of what compensation you are afforded under the law.  

Review the Terms of Your Lease Agreement

Whether you are an owner or a renter, you have rights when you enter into a lease agreement. If you feel the other party in your agreement has encroached upon those rights in some way or broken the contract, you’ll want to review the terms of your agreement so you know where to begin when making your case. 

Seek to Reach a Resolution Directly With the Other Party

Before you sue, or if someone is suing you, it is recommended that you first try to seek a resolution by communicating directly with the other party. As litigation can be extremely costly, time-consuming, and anxiety-inducing, reaching an agreement about the disputed property on your own is typically preferred over going to court. 

Send a Demand Letter

If you are unable to reach a resolution with the other party involved in your property dispute, have your attorney help you draw up a demand letter. This letter will make the other party aware of your intention to sue. It should outline all the details of your complaint. It may also allow them to respond with a suggested action or offer a reasonable settlement in order to avoid going to court. From there, your attorney and their attorney will decide upon the next best direction to take things. 

Settling or Going to Court

Settling out of court through some form of mediation is the most desirable outcome in a property dispute situation. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory negotiation with the other party and you have to go to court, you will need to provide ample and accurate documentation in relation to your grievance, including pictures, videos, pertinent paperwork, and written records of previous complaints and communications. In court, it will be up to both parties’ attorneys to make their cases on behalf of their clients. The court will make the ultimate ruling on your case. Once they have done so, their decision is legally binding.

Think you have cause to contact a property dispute lawyer? Let us help you out. 

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