What do you do when your neighbor claims part of your land belongs to them AND they have a survey to “prove” it?  Can the county record change the boundary of an decades old existing boundary because of this new survey?  This happens more often than you might think and if it happens to you, here are a few things, quoted from “Quora Digest”, that you can do to help resolve the situation.

(1) Ask for a copy of the survey being quoted. IS it by a licensed land surveyor? Or some other surveyor?

(2) Get the county/parish/boroughs tax assessors plat (map) which should have the lot description from the original survey. Locate the benchmark used to identify the map basis.

(3) Look at your title search or other documents to identify any easements.

(4) Locate the physical property line markers, sometimes this is a buried pipe, sometimes it is a arrow or mark on the curb. Typically ground marks trump maps.

Once you have these documents you should be able to figure out the truth of the situation.

I have a second home on a steep hill in coastal California in an area with lots of magnetic abnormalities due to iron rich deposits. A neighbor had our property lines surveyed and noted that the hill had slumped over 8′ since the 80 year old prior survey.

The hill has slumped (as hills do in California), but 8′ is a lot of slump! So I checked his survey against the original. Both were done by licensed surveyors (so far so good) but they used different benchmarks (wait a sec).

The original survey used a benchmark located using a magnetic compass survey line to a nearby hill top benchmark. The new survey used a highly accurate GPS based location. No attempt was made by the modern surveyor to locate the original benchmark.

A subsequent survey by the local water district did. Guess what. The original location point is 7′ or so off of the GPS location. Local magnetic fields distorted the original survey….

The key is if you’re confident that your survey is correct and you’ve been paying taxes on that land for several years, you should not just give in and agree. New doesn’t always mean right!