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Addressing the problems that may turn neighbors against each other.


Property disputes can be extremely frustrating and can often lead to hostilities between neighbors. Unfortunately, an abutting neighbor who has encroached upon your property may also impact you when you try to sell your home.


Property disputes can run a gamut of issues and at Solomon Richman, P.C., we can help untangle a number of property dispute issues including:

  • Access issues

  • Property hazards

  • Right-of-way issues

  • Joint ownership issues

  • Prescriptive and implied easements

  • Boundary line disputes

  • Adverse possession issues

  • Property access issues

  • Property hazard issues

  • Squatter’s rights


Even something that seems fairly simple such as erecting a boundary fence can have legal consequences. For example, in most cases, once a boundary fence between neighbors is erected, the property owners on both sides of the fence are typically responsible for maintenance. The only exception to this is if both parties agree that one party will be responsible for repairs and maintenance.


Under New York adverse possession laws, boundary disputes often result when there are shared driveways, alleyways between two homes, and even woods or fields between two homes. Under Article 5 of the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (the “RPAPL 5″), adverse possession claims require the adverse possessor to prove one of the following:

  • Possession was under claim of right

  • Possession was hostile

  • Possession was actual

  • Possession was open and notorious

  • Possession was exclusive and continuous


Under the law, if an adverse possessor has openly and exclusively occupied your property for 10 years, their claims will be approved and you may lose that piece of land. If this should occur, when you attempt to sell your home the amount of actual land that is sold may be decreased, which can cause survey and title problems. In extreme cases, this could result in a dispute between you and someone wishing to buy your home.


Other common types of real estate dispute issues arise due to overgrown trees, driveways or overhangs that encroach upon your property, anything a neighbor does that has a negative impact on your land ownership rights, and neighbors using abutting property land for a right of way. If you fail to act immediately upon discovering a problem, you could be putting part of your property at risk. It is important to deal with all real estate disputes as quickly as possible.


Property disputes can often be settled successfully without going to court. Generally speaking, neighbors can sit down with an arbitrator or mediator and work out the issue. However, when there seems to be no solution, Solomon Richman, P.C. is fully prepared to go to court to protect your property rights.


If you are involved with a property dispute with a neighbor, contact Solomon Richman, P.C. at (516) 437-6443 to schedule a consultation with a property dispute attorney. We will put our knowledge of New York law to work to protect your property rights.

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