Property Disputes: Good Fences Make Better Neighbors

Property Disputes: Good Fences Make Better Neighbors

We know that: “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”.   That is true.  But, a truer statement is: “Good Fences Make Better Neighbors”.   Since we cannot pick our neighbors or choose how our neighbors behave or live, legal issues involving neighbors are common and often relate to property disputes.  Examples include: property line disputes, barrier fencing, odor and noise nuisances, and encroaching trees, roots, and the like.  Because these issues can be emotionally charged and acute, we recommend you get the help of a qualified third party as soon as possible to facilitate resolution. 

If you have a “bad” neighbor, legal options exist to help resolve your problems with your neighbor in a peaceful and constructive way aside from filing a lawsuit.  Sometimes, mediation is a great first step.  The City of Hillsboro, OR has its own program to help those in need with such issues.  You can learn more here: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/departments/police/programs/mediation-program

One initial place to get assistance with legal compliance issues is to contact your local code enforcement department, which may help you determine if there is a local law violation that can be remedied by that department without need to have direct conflict with your neighbor.  

In Hillsboro, OR you can get information here: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/services/public-safety/code-compliance

In Portland, OR you can get information here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/34170

In Beaverton, OR you can get information here: https://www.beavertonoregon.gov/392/Code-Compliance-Program

If your efforts with mediation and/or code enforcement fail, it is time talk to an attorney to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your legal issue.  Please do this before you decide to cut down your neighbor’s tree or move their fence.  Do not take self-help actions of any kind.  Direct actions like these, especially without understanding your own legal risks in acting out, will only escalate otherwise resolvable problems into costly and contentious litigation and outright hostility.  

Property Law is complex.  Therefore, get the legal assistance you need to ensure you are aware of your legal options and risks in your particular situation.  

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