What is a Property Encroachment?

As the best title company at the Lake of the Ozarks, Arrowhead Title understands that after years of renting, buying your own home is an exciting and often long-awaited opportunity. Gone are the days of having to wait on your landlord to fix the leaky faucet or having to live with plain white or beige walls because you're not allowed to repaint. It also allows you the chance to be a proud owner of your own space, which you can decorate, remodel, and landscape to your heart's content.

While homeowners get to enjoy this great sense of freedom and pride that comes from owning their own homes, there are certain responsibilities and difficulties that may need to be addressed. A property encroachment is one such example. With the help of your title experts at the Lake of the Ozarks, we are ready and willing to assist you, ensuring you and your property are legally protected.

What Does Property Encroachment Mean?
Property encroachment is when a neighbor's belongings cross over the legal property line. A common example of this act is a neighbor building a shed, pool, or landscape that ends up being partially (or wholly) on your property. 

There actually is a legal way for someone else to build or move their belongings onto your property and this is known as an easement. Easements give someone the legal right to use property that belongs to someone else. Both parties have to agree upon the easement agreement and there is usually financial compensation involved for the other party to use property that does not technically belong to them. Easements are legal documents that can carry over to the next owner if one of the property owners who originally agreed to the easement sells their property.

Encroachments, on the other hand, are not pre-agreed upon terms. If someone who owns the neighboring property to yours builds a structure that crosses into your property line, you have the opportunity to do something about it. If you are buying a property and the neighbor has already encroached upon the property, you may or may not be able to fix the issue. Several factors are taken into consideration that can influence whether or not the structure will be required to be removed.

What to do if there is Evidence of Property Encroachment?

If you already own your property and notice a neighbor building a structure that crosses your property line, it's best to work it out with your neighbor. One of the best ways to handle a property encroachment situation is to have an open conversation to come up with a solution on your own. If you are unable to resolve the encroachment issue between you and your neighbor, you can take the situation to court but that does involve hefty fees.

If you are buying a home at the Lake of the Ozarks and discover that a soon-to-be neighbor has already built a structure that encroaches on your property, you might be able to require them to move it - or you might not. This situation actually depends on how many years your new neighbor has been encroaching on the land, he/she may actually have rightful ownership to the property due to adverse possession.

How to Avoid Property Encroachments

As mentioned above, if a neighbor has already encroached upon a property that you are considering buying, it may be too late. You can help avoid this unfortunate situation by ordering a professional title search at the Lake of the Ozarks before you purchase the property. You have two defense options against getting involved in an encroachment situation without your knowledge is to have our Lake of the Ozarks title insurance company conduct a title search and help you purchase title insurance to protect your property ownership rights. If you're purchasing property around the area and want to make sure you have full ownership rights to the entire piece of land, contact Arrowhead Title today!

The Lake of the Ozarks' Most Trusted Title Company
Where Accuracy Matters!

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750 Bagnell Dam Blvd Suite B
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


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