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Boundary Dispute Attorney Proudly Serving Livonia, Northville, and Plymouth

Boundary and Property Disputes

At Matt Devitt Law, PLC we understand the value of real estate and we understand the importance of protecting your property.  Boundary disputes between neighbors can be highly stressful and can minimize your enjoyment of your home and real property. If you are involved in a boundary dispute, our goal is to work hard to help you reach a resolution that protects your property and its value. No matter how straightforward or how challenging your boundary dispute case may be, we can help.


Property boundaries are generally taken for granted when buying a home.  Home buyers are comforted by the fact that in many cases a mortgage survey was done, as well as, the title being insured. However, these surveys and policies, are often ill-defined due to a lack of attention to detail form the title company which lead to conflict between neighbors.

Property and Boundary Dispute with Neighbor

What to do When a Boundary Issue is Found?

Boundary issues are usually identified in two ways.  First is during the due diligence leading up to the sale of a property, and second is well after the transaction has occurred and their is an incorrect presumption either on the part of the neighbor or owner of the property (i.e. presumption of who was to take care of a party wall or easement for use of the driveway).


The best time to take care of a suspected boundary issue is as soon as practicable. Boundary disputes are not like fine wine and do not get better with age. In Michigan, there are legal doctrines for adverse possession and prescriptive easements which allow a person to obtain a right to someone else’s property after 15 years of open and notorious use.  


Boundary dispute resolutions are often complicated and affect one of the most important assets that you own.  For these reasons, it is often advisable to hire an experienced real-estate attorney to negotiate on your behalf.  For a few hundred dollars you can have the peace of mind that your interests are being handled appropriately.

What are Typical Types of Boundary Disputes?

One of the most important tools to prevent or resolve a boundary dispute is a survey.  An accurate survey, hopefully, paid for by the opposing side will help to provide:


  • an adequate legal description,

  • fixed boundaries in relation to adjoining property and structures,

  • confirmation of the access to the property,

  • disclosing and graphically locating easements, encroachments, structures, or other matters that affect the use of a parcel of land.

Further, many buyers believe a title insurance policy will help with boundary disputes.  However, title insurance commitments only focus on recorded documents and not boundaries.  

The most common boundary disputes general arise from:

  • Fence placement

  • Building too close to property lines

  • Overgrown landscaping

  • Damage caused by a neighbor's tree or other property

  • Unauthorized use of a neighbor's property

  • Disputes regarding the location of property lines

  • Nuisance claims

  • Deeded easements

  • Prescriptive easement rights

  • Lateral and subjacent property support

  • Ownership of waterfront parcels

How to Resolve Property Disputes

There are many different ways for neighbors to resolve boundary disputes without going to arbitration or court, and an experienced attorney can help choose the most adequate path for your individual situation

  • Boundary Agreement - Boundary agreements are simple contracts in a recordable form that explains the dispute, then sets forth the intended resolution, and finally the actions that have been taken to resolve the problem (i.e. easement).

  • License for Encroachment -  License is “a permission to do some act or series of acts on the land of the licensor without having any permanent interest” in the property.  This can help both parties by recognizing their is an encroachment and stopping the clock on adverse possession claims.

  • Easements for Encroachment - An easement is the right to use the land of another for a specific purpose.  Easements differ from licenses in that they are more permanent and can be irrevocable if done in writing.

  • Corrective Deeds - special type of deed used to fix problems in deeds that have already been recorded.  A Corrective Deed does not create a new interest. Instead, the Corrective Deed corrects the documents relating to the prior transfer of interest.  For these to be effective they should be signed by both the grantor and grantee.

When all negotiations between parties have failed there are additional avenues to include third parties such as:

  • Arbitration - Arbitration is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the "arbitrators", "arbiters" or "arbitral tribunal"), by whose decision (the "award") they agree to be bound.  Nearly all property issues can be submitted to arbitrators in Michigan.

  • Litigation - Using the court system to resolve a dispute should be the last option.  Generally litigation is expensive and neither party comes out as the winner.  An action to quiet title, formerly called an action of ejectment, is the most common court action and seeks to clarify an interest in real estate and extinguish any claims contrary to it. It is equitable in nature and is usually brought in the circuit courts.

While boundary disputes are fairly common issues for landowners, they can be very stressful and evolve into additional problems with your neighbor.  When you need an attorney to protect your property rights, Matt Devitt Law, PLC can give you the legal tools, advice, and guidance you need. Contact us to arrange a free consultation. You can reach us at (734)-335-0713.

Proudly Serving Livonia, Northville, and Plymouth Areas

39111 Six Mile Rd
Livonia, Wayne County 48152


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