Drawing the line: Tips to navigate Texas land disputes

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Commercial Litigation

Whether the land you call home or a parcel used for business, landowners in Texas work hard to keep their land and are unlikely to let outsiders stake claim on what’s theirs. Sometimes the threat is a government entity, in other situations a neighbor, and in others a developer.

In a recent example, a developer told nearby homeowners that it was going to take down and rebuild their fences — at no cost to the homeowners. But, upon closer look, it appears the developer planned to move the newly installed fence almost five feet back, allowing the development additional land and taking over the homeowner’s property. This type of dispute is not uncommon. Having a basic understanding of what triggers these types of disputes and potential resolution options can help landowners in these and similar situations prepare to fight back.

What are the most common causes of land disputes?

Land disputes in Texas often arise from:

  1. Boundary issues: Similar to the example above, misunderstandings or disagreements over where one property ends and another begins are a common trigger of land disputes.
  2. Easement conflicts: Disputes over the right of one party to use the property of another for a specific purpose.
  3. Adverse possession claims: Cases where an individual claims ownership of land after using it openly and continuously for a certain period.

Although each is frustrating, homeowners can use the methods below to fight back and keep their land.

How can I resolve these issues?

When facing a land dispute, the first step is generally document review. Ensure deeds, titles, and related records are accurate and up to date. It can also help to hire a professional surveyor. A clear, professional survey may help to settle boundary disputes.

Many of these matters are complex, and the benefits of an attorney who understands this niche area of the law cannot be understated. This is especially true as Texas land law is intricate and can vary significantly by locality. Understanding the common causes and knowing how to address them legally can provide a clear path forward. Whether dealing with a boundary issue, an easement conflict, or an adverse possession claim, proactive steps are available to help defend your property rights.