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Boundary Disputes

Orem Real Estate Lawyers Help Resolve Boundary Disputes

Experienced litigators protect your property rights

Real property is a unique asset, since no parcel of land is exactly like another. But are you even sure where your parcel begins and ends? If you don’t know the dimensions of your property, how can you know whether you’re getting the full value of your investment or protect your claim to an area from the owner of an adjacent property who wants to redraw the lines? Although Utah law tends to favor custom and usage of properties, a boundary dispute can still be disruptive and expensive. Fortunately, the experienced real estate attorneys at Skabelund Wirig & Loos are prepared to assert your rights and resolve boundary disputes in a cost-effective manner.

Utah doctrine governing boundary disputes

Ideally, a deed should clearly describe the boundaries of a parcel of land. Unfortunately, issues such as title defects, drafting errors, surveying errors, and encroachments can give an erroneous impression of the limits of a property. Due diligence at the point of sale often uncovers errors that have existed, undiscovered or simply unremedied, for years, decades or generations. This was often the case because the expense of a survey often exceeded the value of the tract in question. Neighbors engaged in informal agreements that were forgotten as the principals passed away. It is under these circumstances that the Utah Supreme Court developed common law rules for dealing with boundary disputes:

  • Boundary by estoppel — This doctrine holds that a property owner cannot make a boundary claim that contradicts his previous admission, representation, or act in relation to the placement of the boundary, especially where another property owner has acted in reasonable reliance and if allowing the contradictory claim would injure the other owner.
  • Boundary by acquiescence — This legal theory says that even when a survey would place the boundary line elsewhere, a long-standing marker, indicating where the owners of adjacent properties understand the boundary to lie, becomes the actual boundary, if owners have acquiesced to the boundary for more than 20 years. It is not necessary for the owners to have made a formal agreement.
  • Boundary by agreement — A court will uphold an agreement between landlords as to where a boundary lies if invalidating the boundary would cause injury to one of the parties. However, in order for the agreement to be enforced against a subsequent buyer, the agreed-upon boundary must have been clearly marked and identified.

These doctrines illustrate the reluctance of Utah courts to correct boundaries when doing so would cause undue hardship to one of the parties. However, as real estate values have risen, courts are willing to consider that failure to correct a boundary could also produce a harsh result.

How to resolve a boundary dispute in Utah

Where real property is concerned, the market value of a parcel provides a fair barometer for planning litigation. No one wins when the cost of recovering a parcel exceeds the land’s value. Large-scale developers may have a greater tolerance of lawsuits, since they may be able to absorb the cost. But most property owners prefer to avoid courtroom litigation in favor of alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration. Our firm provides a reliable cost-benefit analysis so you can decide on the right course for your circumstances. But no matter what course you choose, our experienced real estate litigation attorneys are prepared to help you achieve your goals.

Let our Orem real estate lawyers resolve your boundary disputes

A boundary dispute can interrupt your enjoyment of your property and put your future rights in doubt. Trust Skabelund Wirig & Loos to protect your rights and work toward a swift, cost-effective resolution. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 801-788-4447 or contact our office online. We are conveniently located at 1149 West Center Street in Orem, just off I-15.

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  • Orem Office
    1149 West Center Street
    Orem, Utah 84057
    Phone: 801-222-9700
    Fax: 801-224-9960