Property Attorneys in Fayetteville Work to Resolve Boundary Line Conflicts Favorably
Northwest Arkansas lawyers defend your property rights against encroachments
Accurate boundary lines are essential for the integrity of your property rights. When your next-door neighbor has a different idea of where the property line lies, you’re headed for a conflict that could diminish your land holding, its value and your enjoyment. The property attorneys at Gramling Estes Law Firm in Fayetteville have extensive experience advocating for Arkansas clients in Quiet Title actions involving all types of Arkansas boundary disputes. Whether your case relates to a boundary by acquiescence or adverse possession claim, our focus on this distinct area of law will help you assert your rights effectively. Drawing on decades of work in this field, we thoroughly investigate each party’s claim and carefully analyze the relevant law. Regardless of the complexity of your boundary line dispute, we assemble the available evidence and offer trustworthy legal counsel.
Types of boundary disputes
Legally speaking, a boundary refers to every type of separation, natural or man-made, which marks the confines or line of division of two contiguous parcels of real estate. Our firm devotes a significant portion of our practice to circumstances where someone builds a fence or wall that remains in place for many years but might not accurately reflect the property line. These types of situations can trigger an ownership claim despite what might be written on a deed or survey. It could become necessary to use existing records, such as the county's tax map, to discover the original line of demarcation. If compromise cannot be reached, it is up to the court to decide what should be done.
Our firm represents Northwest Arkansas clients in Quiet Title actions related to claims of:
- Boundary line by acquiescence — Neighboring property owners might tacitly or impliedly accept a boundary that is not consistent with the surveyed boundary line listed on the deed(s). While typically, this has been an accepted theory to allow landowners to use the boundary line tacitly accepted by them, the possession must occur over a lengthy period of time. Case law often says 20-30 years must pass to formalize the agreed-upon boundary revision, however the time can be reduced depending on the circumstances to as little as seven years.
- Adverse possession — Arkansas law allows for adverse possession under color of title. This means that if someone claims that property is theirs, openly occupies it for seven years and pays taxes on it, a court could find that the area that is in dispute was “adversely possessed.” Consequently, the claimant would become legal owner of the disputed area that was not contained in his or her deed.
- Encroachment — This situation arises when one party develops his property across the boundary line onto a neighbor’s lot. Depending on the circumstances, a court could order the improvement removed or grant an equitable easement, allowing the improvement to remain. Factors the court considers include whether the builder was negligent and whether the improvement poses a burden on the encroached landowner. A court might order the encroaching party to pay restitution to their neighbor. Encroachment controversies are common when neighbors build fences, retaining walls, or outbuildings, or engage in landscaping without observing the property lines.
- Access rights — In this situation, a person buys a tract of land with no public access, so it can only be entered by crossing a neighbor’s land. The buyer believes an easement exists that allows for ingress and egress, but the neighbor disagrees. Factors a court would consider in an access case include whether the previous owner enjoyed an easement. A substantial history of use with or without permission might establish a prescriptive easement, allowing the buyer to access their property in the same manner that the previous owner did.
These examples illustrate why it’s important to consult a knowledgeable property lawyer whenever you or a neighbor decide to improve your land close to the boundary.
Contact a knowledgeable Arkansas property lawyer for a free consultation
The property attorneys at Gramling Estes Law Firm in Fayetteville help clients resolve boundary disputes in northwestern Arkansas. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call 479-480-4250 or contact us online.