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Why Ohio property owners shouldn’t ignore boundary issues

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2023 | Real Estate |

Property owners in Ohio generally invest quite a bit in the real property that they purchase. Whether they own rural acreage for agricultural purposes or a small residential plot in the city, every square foot of property ultimately contributes to the value of their real estate holdings. The proper enforcement of boundaries is part of maintaining the value of such property.

Frequently, people use established markers or word of mouth from a seller at the time of purchase to set the boundaries of their property. They may then end up embroiled in a conflict with their neighbors because of a boundary incursion. Many people dealing with a boundary-related conflict will take the matter to civil court. Although doing so may seem unnecessarily aggressive, it is actually a smart move to protect what is likely someone’s most valuable resource.

Boundary issues could lead to adverse possession claims

When one party openly and continually uses someone’s property, they can eventually ask to become the owner of that property. The adverse possession statutes in Ohio allow those who have occupied land for at least 21 years to ask the courts to change the ownership records so that they now are the official owner of that property. They need to openly use the property and become the only party regularly utilizing it.

Whether someone puts a fence one foot over the boundary line in the city or in the middle of someone’s unimproved acreage, those violations might lead to the actual owner eventually losing their rights to the property. The only way to protect against such challenges is to enforce the boundary. A survey may be necessary to clarify the boundary and validate that there has been a violation of some sort.

In many cases, property owners will need to take the matter to court to force someone to move a fence or to effectively evict them from property that they continue to access without permission. Although small sections of land may not seem like a major concern, losing part of a city plot or a portion of one’s acreage could significantly reduce the overall value of the property and impact what someone can do with their real estate.

Recognizing when real estate litigation may be necessary can help people protect an investment that they have already made. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start exploring one’s rights and options in this regard.