7 steps of settling land boundary dispute with your neighbour

Most neighbor disputes over property lines are easily resolved. Some, though, can turn ugly. If you’re in an argument with a neighbor over a property issue, follow these steps:

1. Stay composed

Don’t use this disagreement to vent months or years of anger at your neighbor. That will only escalate the situation. Your goal should be to resolve the issue fairly, quickly and calmly — so keep your temper in check.

2. Hire a surveyor

This is no time to make an educated guess about property lines. Even if you’re sure you know the exact location of the line, it’s still a good idea to hire a surveyor so you have documented proof. 

3. Check your land laws

Make sure you fully understand the laws that apply to your specific situation before going head-to-head with your neighbor.

4. Try to reach a neighbor-to-neighbor agreement

Reaching an agreement between the two of you — without involving lawyers the court system — is generally the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to resolve neighbor property line disputes. Once you’ve reached an agreement, both of you can sign an agreement that details the perimeters of the land. You should work with a lawyer to sign the agreement.

5. Use a mediator

A professional mediator can be a low-cost, low-stress way to resolve your property line dispute if you and your neighbor can’t reach an agreement on your own. It may be the local chief.

6. Have your lawyer send a letter

If you can’t reach an agreement with your neighbor on your own, a letter from your lawyer is a reasonable next step. It lets your neighbor know you mean business before pursuing further legal action. The letter should detail the property line violation and ask for a specific action to resolve the situation.

7. File a lawsuit

This should be your last resort. Lawsuits can cost tens thousands of shilling and drag on for many months, if not years. If you do decide to take legal action, you should make sure you’re working with a lawyer who regularly handles property dispute cases and is familiar with national land laws.

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