Living close to someone is not always the easiest. You might have good relations with your neighbors most of the time, but there are usually some instances when you just don’t see eye to eye.
If you’ve ever had an issue with a lousy neighbor, you are not alone, Most Americans dislike their neighbors, and 42% of homeowners have engaged in some neighbor dispute. Any kind of conflict can be stressful, but it’s worse when you share a property line or wall.
Staying calm and reacting thoughtfully in such situations is essential. This article will tell you about some common types of neighbor disputes and how to deal with them. We’ll even tell you the potential consequences of neighbor disputes so that you can prepare for any situation.
The Most Common Types of Neighbor Disputes in Austin, Texas
Disputes between neighbors are unfortunately quite common. In most cases, they are caused by simple misunderstandings that can be quickly resolved. However, some disputes can escalate and become much more serious. No matter what the cause, a neighbor conflict can be a source of stress and frustration.
The following are some of the most common types of neighbor disputes.
Neighbors of both commercial and residential properties face problems when there is a question about the property lines. For example, one neighbor might build a new fence over the boundary line or there might be an access issue where a neighbor regularly crosses over the property line to get to a part of their own property.
Most boundary disputes occur when a homeowner believes their neighbor has encroached onto their land without permission. Texas law says no one can cross your boundary line or invade your property with any intention. Doing so can cause the invader to face legal consequences.
Sometimes these issues can also arise on unregistered land, where both parties claim that the piece of land belongs to them.
Do you think your neighbor has encroached on your property? The professional property lawyers at Kelly Legal Group can help. Our attorneys are well-versed in all state and local laws regarding property.
We can help you take the legal steps to stop your neighbor’s conduct and get them off your property. Call us at (512) 505-0053 to book your appointment with the best property attorneys in the area.
Another common cause of a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute arises from property damages.
If a neighbor damages your property with their vehicles or tools, such as a lawnmower or chainsaw, they can be held responsible financially. Similarly, if anything on your property gets damaged due to construction on the neighbor’s home, you can take legal action to stop it or seek compensation.
Typically, negligence on the part of your neighbor puts them at fault.
Problems with your neighbor’s animals, whether they are pets or livestock, can be extra annoying. These pesky critters can create a legal issue if they cause problems on your property or if they wander onto your property without your permission.
Some examples of animal issues include excessively barking dogs, defecation in your front yard, and threatening pets on the loose without a fence or leash.
While most people think that animal disputes with neighbors are only caused by pets like dogs or cats, livestock could also be the reason behind these disputes. Livestock often causes damage to a neighbor’s property by grazing on their pasture, destroying their gardens, leaving litter and debris around, and so on.
Noisy Neighbor Problems
Disputes between neighbors aren’t just limited to property-related things. Issues might arise from noise complaints due to loud parties, loud music, loud TV, late night or early morning construction work, fighting and screaming, or anything else that interrupts the peace and quiet.
Sometimes, these noises become unavoidable and unbearable, causing difficulties for the surrounding residents.
If your neighbor is stubborn and not ready to turn the volume dial down, it can become a tense dispute. The law does not permit anyone to create excessive noise levels that disturb the residents of the area.
The biggest problem with noise disputes is gathering evidence and proving your neighbor is at fault. You should contact an expert lawyer that can guide you through the steps to file your noise complaint and gather the evidence to prove the claims.
Disputes Over Shared Amenities
If you live in a communal building, there will be several areas shared by you and the neighbors. These can include lobbies, gardens, gyms, pools, rooftop decks, and party rooms for other activities. Neighbor disputes usually arise over who is responsible for maintaining the shared amenities or who can have access to these areas.
Legal documents such as title deeds normally make it clear who is responsible for the maintenance of the shared property, including repairs. Normally, such maintenance and related costs are borne by everyone that uses them.
A dispute can arise if one neighbor that uses the shared amenities refuses to pay for the maintenance. Or if someone damages the shared amenities and refuses to get the repairs done.
Overhanging Trees and Hedges
It’s not just people and animals, in fact, your neighbor’s trees and hedges can invade your property. If a tree or other plant from your neighbor’s property is overhanging onto your property, this may qualify as an invasion.
You can ask the neighbor to trim the particular portion of the tree that’s encroaching on your property. If the neighbor fails to do so, then the person who owns the property, which is you in this case, has the right to trim the tree or the hedges.
Building Code Violations
Every state in the U.S. has building codes and standards. They help in ensuring the safety of the building structure and the people in and around it. Under the law, every owner must adhere to these building codes, whether they own a commercial or private property.
If your neighbor fails to obey the building codes, it may pose a risk to their property and the neighboring houses. Not following the building codes is a common reason behind neighbor conflict, especially for those living in condo buildings or row houses.
Sometimes people park cars in front of their neighbor’s driveways blocking the entryway and making things difficult for them. The objective of such behavior could be to harass their neighbors or invade their property, or it might be a simple mistake.
Party Wall Disputes
You might have a shared wall if you live in a condo building or townhouse. These shared walls are known as party walls. If your neighbor wants to carry out some work that may affect the party wall, they should serve a notice first. Once you approve the notice, they can proceed with the construction work.
Damaging the party wall can attract legal consequences and is another common cause of neighbor disputes.
Besides those listed above, some other common neighbor disputes in Austin, Texas include easement disputes, violent actions, overhanging gutters, and bad aesthetics, such as junk in the yard.
Dealing with such disputes can be challenging because proving most of them requires proper evidence. At Kelly Legal Group, we are experts in handling neighbor disputes and can help you take legal action against the wrongdoings that have been done to you and your family.
Call us at (512) 505-0053 for a free case evaluation and get legal help dealing with your neighbors over a dispute.
The Potential Consequences of Neighbor Disputes
Small neighbor disputes can take the form of criminal mischief, so handling things with a calm mind is essential. Here are some potential consequences of having a dispute with your neighbor.
Tampering with Property
Tampering with property is one of the consequences many homeowners experience after they talk to their neighbors about a dispute. The tampering may include damaging fencing or your actual home, purposely planting or destroying plants on your property, ruining your landscaping, vandalizing items on your property, or even spray painting your driveway or something else on your property.
As per Texas law, if someone damages your property to a value of more than $2,500, with some exceptions for lower values, they can be charged with a felony punishable by a fine and a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
The worst can happen and a small dispute can cause your next-door neighbor to become violent, either against your person or your property. Even threatening violence is against the rule of law; you can report them to the police and get a protection order. If things escalate, there are several types of criminal charges that can be brought against people who commit assault or battery under Texas law.
If you and your neighbor can’t come to an agreement about a dispute, you may have to take legal action. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, so it’s important to try to resolve the issue amicably if possible.
In some cases, such as when there is property damage or personal injury involved, you may need to file a complaint with your local police or sheriff’s department. If the dispute involves a boundary line or another issue that can’t be resolved through negotiation or mediation, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Once you’ve decided to take legal action, consult an attorney to find answers about what steps you need to take to bring the matter before the court.
Contact Kelly Legal Group today for a free evaluation of your case and a conversation with one of our seasoned real estate attorneys.
Tips to Resolve Disputes with Your Neighbors
With the right approach, you can resolve disputes with your neighbors and avoid having to take things to small claims court or file a criminal complaint.
Here are some tips from experienced Austin lawyers that may help:
Seeing your neighbor parking their car in front of your driveway or hearing them blaring music all night long can be frustrating, but you should keep calm in such situations. There could be a reason why they have parked the car there or aren’t able to turn down the volume, such as a medical emergency.
Talk to Them
After calming yourself and giving them some time, you can communicate directly and find common ground to speak about the issue. Talk to them without anger in a reasonable manner and try to explain that their behavior is creating trouble for you.
In most cases, talking to neighbors can help bring about conflict resolution.
Ask a Neutral Party for Help
If the neighbors aren’t listening to you or don’t respond to your questions, you can ask a third party to help. For example, if you live in a commercial building, you can ask the building manager to accompany you and help enforce the rules of the building. Or you can ask another neighbor that you are both friendly with, but who is not involved in the conflict.
Speak to a Lawyer
If nothing you try is helping, then you may need to involve a lawyer. This might be your last resort, however, it might also be the best course of action for your situation. An attorney will tell you more about the legal steps you can take to resolve neighbor disputes. Just involving lawyers might pressure the neighbors and help resolve the issues.
How a Lawyer Can Help You with Neighbor Disputes
Neighbor disputes are pretty complex, especially when a property is involved. Gathering evidence and proving the claim is challenging without the help of an attorney. Here are a few reasons why hiring a lawyer for neighbor disputes is important.
They Evaluate the Case
Attorneys start by evaluating the circumstances around the issue to learn if they can build a case against the neighbors. This involves reviewing local ordinances and determining the complexity and severity of the situation.
They Send Legal Notices
Lawyers speak the legal language and can serve your neighbors on your behalf. The notice may include the resolution you want, such as the neighbors should stop encroaching on your property. In addition, the notice also elaborates on the legal steps you might take if the neighbors refuse to resolve the dispute.
They Represent You in Court
If there is no compromise or resolution, your lawyers will represent you in court and present your case. They take care of everything leading up to a court trial, including building a case, negotiating with the neighbor’s lawyers, and taking out a restraining order if necessary.
Let Kelly Legal Group Help You Resolve Any Type of Neighbor Dispute
If you are facing a neighbor dispute that cannot be resolved, you should reach out to professional lawyers for help. At Kelly Legal Group, we have a dedicated team of attorneys with expertise in residential and commercial neighbor disputes. From property line issues to problems caused by pets or animals, we can take steps to ensure you do not suffer anymore because of your neighbors.
Disputes happen all the time, but a lot of people don’t know what to do when they get stuck in a disagreement with someone. These difficulties might be solved easily if you approach them with confidence and knowledge of the local laws. However, if you feel like you are not getting anywhere, you can always turn to Kelly Legal Group.
Our problem-solving approach focuses on solutions, and you can expect to clear up the dispute during the negotiation phase, although we are always willing to court if required. Your best interests are our priority.
Call us at (512) 505-0053 to schedule your appointment with one of our proficient neighbor dispute lawyers in Austin, TX.