While the vast majority of my Real Estate Litigation practice involves actual lawsuits, I pride myself in attempting to stave off litigation between neighbors when possible. In this regard, bringing neighbors together to inspect the premises and trying to understand the needs, of not only my client, but of my client's neighbor has often led to a resolution without litigation.
Recognizing that the objective is to preserve the relationship, I have in conjunction with other attorneys drafted agreements between neighbors regarding certain issues that sometimes arise on abutting property. Sometimes it is the configuration of structures, or the lay of land along the border line, sometimes it is access or the lack of access, which could potentially raise issues of adverse possession. Sometimes these issues deal with right of ways, easements and boundary disputes.
The key is to look at it from the neighbors point of view and see what you would want if you were in their shoes. Then make the agreement eminently understandable by the client and to make sure nothing is done to affect the ability of either neighbor to sell their property in the future and finally, the ultimate goal, avoid litigation. These agreements confirm the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you are having any problems with your neighbors, it is often better to address them early and openly than to wait while bad feelings fester and litigation ensues. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Pearlman Apat Futterman Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP for a consultation.