Encroachment On Neighbor’s Land

Question: We have owned a home in Cave Creek since 2014. The owner of the lot to the west is building a home on his lot. This owner hired a surveyor, and the survey showed that our west wall is not on the boundary line, but is located three feet away from the boundary line on our neighbor’s side. We do not want to pay for the cost to move our west wall to the boundary line, and we have agreed to sign a quit claim deed to our neighbor for this three-foot strip of land. We now believe that our east wall is encroaching three feet into the lot to the east. If a survey shows that our east wall does encroach this three feet, what are our rights?

Answer: If old aerial maps or old surveys show that your east wall existed more than 10 years ago, you may have a right by adverse possession to ownership of this three-foot strip of land. You should hire a surveyor to get a legal description of this three-foot strip of land. You should then ask your neighbor to sign a quit claim deed with this legal description of the three-foot strip of land. If your neighbor will not sign this quit claim deed, you should contact an attorney. Your attorney will probably send a letter based upon A.R.S. §12-1103 to your neighbor to the east, and enclose a quit claim deed for the three-foot strip of land to be signed and returned within twenty days. If the quit claim deed is not signed and returned within twenty days, a quiet title lawsuit can be filed. If you win the lawsuit and get title to this three-foot strip of land, you should also be awarded your attorneys’ fees.

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