Many of the land disputes heard in the Manchester Parish Court has to do with the issue of encroachment. Land encroachment means that one person ‘advances’ or violates his boundary limits by building something on the neighbour’s land or allowing something to hang over the adjoining property boundary. An example of an encroachment is the construction of a dividing fence or wall that is not within the correct registered boundary of the property.
To remedy the encroachment, the following steps could be taken:
- Consult with a Commissioned Land Surveyor. The Surveyor would show you exactly where your boundaries are and where and what section of the fence or building that is incorrectly constructed. Sometimes, the fencing can be easily corrected by moving the posts however, there are other times when the correction of the encroachment is not as simple.
- For encroachment that is not as simple, efforts can be made to negotiate with the owner of the property on which you have encroached to purchase the property, or at least the section on which your structure is encroaching on. This will require the services of an Attorney-at-Law and a Surveyor.
You might decide that your neighbour’s encroachment doesn’t bother you and do nothing about it. This option has the advantage of preserving good will between you and your neighbour and has the disadvantage of acquiescence. This occurs when there is no protest by the adjoining landowners for seven years or more that a line, definitely marked by fence or wall is the dividing line between them and it becomes the true boundary even though a survey may show otherwise.
You must be mindful that there is a limitation period of twelve (12) years to bring a land matter to court.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)