Neighbor Disputes

As top real estate attorneys serving the Bay Area, we’ve helped countless clients navigate disputes and find favorable resolutions. If you are a homeowner our lawyers can provide top-tier legal advice. Contact Estavillo Law Group to get started. 

You don’t choose your family—or your neighbors. And while some people enjoy harmonious relationships with others in their proximity, not everyone is so lucky. If you are struggling to navigate a neighbor dispute, you’re not alone. These conflicts may affect as many as 42 percent of Americans and are often difficult to resolve without outside help.

Although some neighbor disputes arise from disagreements over property lines and boundaries, practically any type of disagreement—even over a barking dog—can result in a serious conflict. Some factors that contribute to disputes include neighbors’ unfamiliar lifestyles, socioeconomic statuses, and cultural misunderstandings.

If you are currently involved in an ongoing neighbor dispute, it’s important to understand the potential consequences of escalation, your legal rights, and the options available to you. This article will explain everything you need to know about neighbor disputes, including common causes, types, and remedies.

Are you having repeated run-ins with a disagreeable or threatening neighbor? It’s a good idea to consult an experienced neighbor dispute attorney right away. The real estate lawyers at Estavillo Law Group are here to help. Call us at (888) 982-0599 to get started. 

Common Types of Neighbor Disputes

In the world of real estate law, few conflicts have as much potential for acrimony as neighbor disputes. These situations can escalate quickly for a variety of reasons, especially when property owners engage in threatening, aggressive, or vindictive behaviors.

Although practically any disagreement can precipitate a neighbor dispute, a few scenarios occur more frequently than others. The following are among the most common types of neighbor disputes:

  • Property line, fencing, and boundary disputes, including disagreements about where property begins and ends, whose side a fence falls on, and who is responsible for fence repair
  • Noise complaints arising from loud music, parties, barking animals, or other disruptive sounds that frequently occur at inconvenient times
  • Animal disputes that arise from barking dogs, pets roaming freely, neglectful pet ownership, and not cleaning up after pets
  • Trees and landscaping disputes about tree branches that hang over a neighbor’s property, tree root damage, disagreements about shared landscaping responsibilities, and complaints about the appearance of a neighbor’s unkempt property
  • Parking and shared driveway issues, especially about who has access to the driveway, visitor parking, blocking driveways, and easements
  • Light pollution complaints that arise from issues with bright lights or security lights that shine into a neighbor’s home
  • Water drainage disputes about runoff that results in property damage or flooding
  • Renovations and construction projects that are noisy and long, or that stir up dust and result in significant debris

Again, it’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list. Many types of neighbor disputes can get out of hand quickly and require outside mediation or even real estate litigation to resolve. If you sense a conflict has the potential to get ugly, it’s important to contact a neighbor dispute attorney right away to assess your options.

Remedies Available for Disputes Between Neighbors

The best way to remedy your current conflict will depend on the exact nature of your neighbor dispute. Each situation is unique and requires a customized approach, but many neighbor conflicts can be solved with one of the strategies discussed below.

Direct Communication and Mediation

In some cases, a simple conversation is all it takes to resolve misunderstandings between neighbors, but, unfortunately, it’s not always possible. If you are unable to reach a mutually agreeable solution after approaching your neighbor in a respectful, non-confrontational manner, you may want to consider mediation.

A neutral third party may be able to facilitate a discussion and acceptable compromise (might want to put the definition of a mediator or explain that the third part can be a mediator). After discussing the situation with the mediator, you and your neighbor may decide to grant an easement or even to sell a portion of the property to the other party. As a much cheaper alternative to legal action, mediation—even when it ends up being unsuccessful—is worth a shot.

Conducting a Property Survey

If you are involved in a property line or boundary dispute, it’s important to know exactly where your property begins and ends. Hiring a professional surveyor to conduct a property survey has the potential to save you a lot of time and money, but it’s not always enough to halt an encroachment issue.

Involving Outside Agencies

In some situations, involving an outside agency can be helpful. If your neighborhood is governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), you may want to reach out for support services. In many cases, they can intervene in disputes, especially when they pertain to community rules and standards. Depending on the nature of the dispute, you may also be able to solicit help from government agencies or regulatory bodies that investigate building code violations, environmental concerns, or violations of local ordinances.

Contacting a Real Estate Attorney

A real estate attorney with experience in neighbor disputes can be your best advocate in many difficult situations. They can investigate your situation, draft formal legal notices and other pertinent documents, and even help you pursue a settlement through civil litigation. Even if they determine that your efforts are better spent in small claims court, a trusted neighbor dispute lawyer can illuminate your legal rights, obligations, and options.

Neighbor Dispute Attorney FAQ

Neighbor disputes are often complex, and favorable outcomes elude many individuals who try to resolve their situations without legal help. If you have questions about a neighbor conflict or disagreement, the best way to find answers is by contacting a real estate attorney. In the meantime, check out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

• Are neighbor disputes serious? 

Neighbor disputes have the potential to be very serious, even dangerous. Whereas two people in conflict typically have the option to remove themselves from the situation to cool off, neighbors do not. Repeated run-ins, intimate knowledge of the other’s living situation, and rising tempers can even escalate to the point of requiring restraining orders and other protective measures.

• What’s the best way to resolve a neighbor dispute? 

Ideally, neighbor disputes can be resolved through open, direct communication, but that’s not always possible. The most effective way to put an end to these conflicts, however, is legal action. A real estate attorney will have intimate knowledge of the legal options available to you, as well as your rights and obligations under the law.

• Why do I need a lawyer for property disputes? 

In some cases, property disputes can be resolved without legal assistance. However, complex neighbor disputes or situations with the potential for escalation are typically best resolved through swift legal action. If you are unsure whether or not you need a property dispute lawyer, it can be helpful to contact an attorney who offers free initial consultations.

Estavillo Law Group: Leading Neighbor Dispute Attorneys in California

Your property should be a place of respite, a space in which you feel safe and comfortable. Neighbor disputes can jeopardize all of that, wreaking havoc on your peace of mind and harming your quality of life. Luckily, the neighbor dispute attorneys at Estavillo Law Group can help you regain your security. Contact our law firm online to schedule a free consultation.


Reach Out to an Oakland Real Estate Attorney Today

Disputes concerning real estate can have a significant financial impact on individuals and businesses alike. If there is a dispute and it appears that a compromise is not possible, it may be necessary to initiate litigation. This could mean participating in settlement or mediation talks or even bringing a formal lawsuit to civil court.

An Oakland real estate lawyer may be able to help. They are prepared to take the lead in settlement talks that could help to avoid costly court cases. However, if the case does go to court, they will take every step necessary to protect your rights. Contact us now to learn more.