Property Line Disputes in Minnesota
Many of us have purchased homes in Minnesota over the years and rarely even think about the boundary lines that exist with our neighbors.
It is reasonable to assume that our legal boundary lines are at or near our fence lines, tree lines, along our driveways or near the “mowing lines” we have possibly followed for many years. Until a neighbor builds a fence, decides to put in a new garage or addition, and issues arise about the location of a boundary or a survey raises the issue, boundary lines are generally not something that comes up very often.
But when boundary disputes arise they can on occasion cause big problems. Boundary issues can impact real estate values, cause zoning or “set back” problems and/or cause friction between neighbors.
If, for example, a building or a fence is found to encroach on a property line, it can be a difficult- and expensive—problem to resolve. If a neighbor cuts down trees you think belong to you, or if a neighbor wants to sell or develop a tract of land, a survey must be done to determine the exact property lines.
In cases such as the ones described above, you may be able to negotiate an agreement with your neighbor to establish the property boundary lines between your parcels.
If you and your neighbor cannot reach an agreement, you may decide to file a lawsuit in Minnesota state court. The legal remedies available for each unique property line dispute can be quite complex.
If you and your neighbor disagree about where your mutual boundary is, legal action may be necessary. Before you call a lawyer to file a lawsuit, however, you can start with trying to a locate a copy of the land survey or subdivision plot from your city clerk’s office.
In many cases, you will not be able to find a survey and you can hire a licensed professional to do a survey for you. If you hire a surveyor, he or she will come out to your land and place markers that mark the boundary lines of your property.
In most cases, the cost of your survey will be determined by the size of your lot and several other factors (i.e., whether a subdivision map already exists, the geographic location of your property, and the last time the land was surveyed. Costs for such surveys can range from $500 to several thousand dollars.
Based on the survey, it is possible that you and your neighbor can agree where you both want the property boundaries to be. In this case, you can enter into a “lot line agreement,” Lot line agreements are made official and binding by making and signing deeds that describe in detail the agreed upon property line.
It is also important to check your local zoning and subdivision laws before entering into a Lot Line Agreement to make sure you are in compliance.
After signing the deed, you will need to file it with the county land records office. In Minnesota, this will be either the County Recorder’s Office, or the Registrar of Titles Office. Recording (or registering) the deed gives notice to any future purchaser of the land of the new, agreed-upon property boundaries.