Adding a deck, fence, gazebo, or another structure to your property could enhance your enjoyment of your home. However, before initiating construction, you have a legal obligation to ensure you do not infringe upon your neighbors’ rights.
Still, if your neighbor does not extend the same courtesy and moves ahead with building a structure too close to your property line, you can take the following steps to protect your rights as a homeowner.
Understand the law
Georgia laws state that homeowners and contractors must obtain permits before adding, altering or repairing decks, patios, electricity, water or other structures and utilities. Although fences do not require permits, they must meet height, placement and material requirements.
Confirm your property’s borders
Although you may need to hire a surveyor to obtain precise property measurements, your local municipality may provide parcel maps that you can use to confirm your land’s boundaries.
Share your concerns with your neighbor
When you and your neighbors are reasonable you can resolve your concerns and avoid litigation. They may not realize they are interfering with your rights and want to remedy the situation. It may be possible to brainstorm an agreement such as repositioning a shed or paying the landowner for property usage.
Understand the consequences of inaction
Encroachments can impact your rights, safety and enjoyment as a homeowner and lead to other unpleasant consequences. For example, if you sell your home after allowing your neighbor to extend a fence into your driveway, the title company may refuse to provide insurance to the new owner. Also, Georgia law states that your neighbor can acquire part or all of the property if an encroachment persists.
Responsible Georgia homeowners consider their neighbor’s rights when planning construction close to property lines.