Property disputes are very stressful. A disagreement with a neighbor can be a constant and nagging issue that impacts your everyday life and prevents you from truly enjoying your home. Here are a few things that you can do towards minimizing property disputes in MA.
Extend Some Common Courtesy
Your property is yours and you can do whatever you wish to it (within the confines of the law, of course). This means that you can cut down trees, plant new shrubbery, add sheds, install fences, take down fences, etc. You certainly don’t need to run any changes by your neighbors for “approval”. However, it’s often a good idea to communicate with your neighbors and let them know about your intentions. Although it is your property, some of the changes that you intend to make could impact the way that they use or enjoy their property. It would be good to know about their objections ahead of time and to address their objections, if possible.
For example, perhaps you’d like to clear out trees from your yard to create more usable space. Your neighbor may not be happy if you take down so many trees that your two yards become completely visible to one another. Your neighbor may like their privacy and rely on those trees to provide that, whereas you don’t really mind having everything open. If you simply take down the trees without speaking to them, you might have an angry neighbor to deal with and an open yard through which that anger may be channeled!
Let’s now consider the potential alternative approach. Let’s say you speak with your neighbor ahead of time to inform them of your plans. They express concern over the lack of privacy. You may slightly change your plans and leave a small patch of trees abutting their yard. You still gain a larger yard from taking down most of the trees and the neighbors are happy that you left a few behind for their privacy. By avoiding a dispute with your neighbor over these changes, it will be much easier for you to enjoy your new yard!
Identify Problems in Advance
Some changes to your property may be about more than preference. It’s possible that you may be relying on incorrect information. Speaking to a neighbor might help you identify issues beforehand and avoid a costly mistake or legal battle.
For instance, let’s say you plan to install a fence along your property line. You rely on information from the previous property owner about where the boundaries are. You then install the fence, only to find out shortly after that you have the wrong information and have installed fencing in the neighbor’s yard! At this point, you will have upset your neighbor and will likely need to re-do the fence. If you had spoken to them beforehand, you might have avoided the mistake.
More on Minimizing Property Disputes in MA
You may be thinking, why should I have to check with my neighbor before making improvements to my own home. You really don’t have to, but sometimes going beyond what you “have” to do can make your life easier in other ways. In this case, minimizing property disputes will create a much better environment in which to enjoy your beautiful home. When you upset one neighbor, they may in-turn complain to others. Before you know it, you may have a hostile environment surrounding you. It’s not easy to simply pick up and leave your home like you would an apartment, so taking steps to maintain good relationships with your neighbors is well worth the effort and hassle. You may not always agree on a solution, but at the very least they will appreciate that you considered their feelings and attempted to accommodate them.