A property line is the border between two pieces of real estate. Property lines are often a cause of dispute between neighbors. When these problems occur, the matter may go to court. However, since property line laws differ by state, the outcome of the dispute often depends on the location of the property.
Border disputes occur when neighbors disagree about the location of the property line. Such disputes often involve fences or plants located along the property line. Under Georgia law, it is the responsibility of both property owners to ensure that they install fences on their side of the property line. If the fence is on the property line, both parties are equally responsible for its upkeep. If one neighbor's foliage crosses the fence, Georgia law allows the other neighbor to cut off the foliage that crosses the boundary. If a neighbor erects a fence maliciously, the court will typically force him to remove it.
Adverse possession occurs when one neighbor takes obvious possession of a portion of land he doesn't legally own. In Georgia, the adverse possessor must have possession of the land under color of title for at least seven years with no contest from the rightful owner. Adverse possessors can obtain legal ownership of land with no title if they possess it for 20 years. To qualify for adverse possession, the adverse possessor must openly claim the land in a way that is obvious to the rightful owner.
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Some property disputes involve a complaint of nuisance. In most cases, nuisance cases involve one neighbor complaining of excess noise, flooding, trespassing, odor or pollution. If the court determines that the offending neighbor's actions are interfering with the other neighbor's property use and enjoyment, it will force the offending neighbor to eliminate the source of the problem.
Eminent domain occurs when a government entity, utility company or power company may take possession of an individual's land for public use. Typical uses include building or maintaining roads, sewer or water line easements and erecting power lines. Eminent domain sometimes causes problems for property owners, such as devaluation of their property. In some cases, the property owner may be able to receive compensation from the entity possessing his property.
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