gray-large.png Your adjoining neighbor has just listed their house. Assuming they are successful in selling their real property, two things are going to happen: (a) your current neighbor is going to be no longer living next to you and (b) you are going to have a new neighbor.

Regardless, if your relationship with your current neighbor is good, bad, or indifferent, this is the best time to sort out any issues related to your boundary with this neighbor. Why?

First, your current neighbor will soon be gone, so if a “discussion” about the true boundary line goes “sideways” at least you won’t be living cheek to jowl with that person any longer.

Second, this is the point in time when you have the greatest amount of leverage to sort out the boundaries. The reason for this is because if you do have a potentially meritorious claim, you can bring it against your neighbor (again provided that the discussion goes sideways) and then record a Lis Pendens against your neighbor so that anyone who purchases your neighbor’s real property will do so with constructive notice of the lawsuit and they then automatically become a party to the suit.

Yet, there is a much more important Realpolitik component here. When a Lis Pendens is recorded against a home, it generally will make it much more difficult if not impossible for your neighbor’s house to gain title insurance. And without this critical component in place, the home for sale can not be financed. That limits your neighbor to cash buyers who will want to discount the cost of the house be the potential fight ahead of them.

This leverage is potent. But, it might backfire if used inappropriately. The best advice if an accord can not be immediately sorted out is to be in contact with an attorney who can assist.

Finally, clearing your boundary up before a new neighbor comes in will at the very least have given that new neighbor proper notice of the accurate boundary before they buy in next to you. There are some issues, particularly if on waterfront or if limiting the footprint of a lot so that it no longer conforms to a zone, which may deter purchase. Yet, in the main land fights are less about the land at issue and are much more about emotions between neighbors. 

The best course then is to gain a clean slate and then work to build a mutually respectful relationship with the new neighbor.gray-small.png