What New Jersey Property Owners Need To Know About Boundary Disputes

nj property owners boundary

Boundary disputes between neighboring property owners can be a complex and emotional issue to navigate. These conflicts arise when it’s not clear or there is disagreement over the exact location of a shared property line. While some boundary disputes can be resolved amicably, others require legal intervention to reach a resolution.

Here are the legal steps involved in resolving boundary disputes in New Jersey. By understanding the process and potential outcomes of boundary dispute resolutions, New Jersey property owners can better prepare themselves for any future conflicts that may arise.

What is a Boundary Dispute?

A boundary dispute occurs when neighboring property owners disagree on the location of a shared property line. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as outdated or unclear property surveys, changes in landscape or land use, or simply a lack of communication between neighbors.

Boundary disputes can range from minor disagreements over a few inches to significant conflicts involving large portions of land. These disputes can also escalate quickly and become emotionally charged, making them difficult to resolve without legal intervention.

In New Jersey, boundary disputes are handled by the state’s Superior Court system. Property owners who find themselves in a boundary dispute may file a lawsuit to have the court determine the proper location of the property line.

Legal Steps to Resolve Boundary Disputes

The legal process for resolving a boundary dispute in New Jersey typically involves the following steps:

Gathering Evidence

Gathering evidence is a critical first step in resolving a boundary dispute. Kristen Johnson, Esq., an experienced real estate attorney, will assist you in collecting all relevant documents and information that can establish the rightful location of the property line. Key pieces of evidence include property deeds, plats, and maps, which provide historical records of the boundary lines.

Additionally, Kristen Johnson, Esq. will help you obtain a current and accurate property survey from a licensed surveyor, ensuring you have an updated and precise measurement of the property boundaries. Photographs, witness statements, and historical documents, such as old property surveys or land use agreements, can also be valuable in building a strong case. With Kristen’s expertise, you can compile comprehensive and persuasive evidence, substantiating your claims and increasing your chances of a favorable resolution through negotiation or in court.

Filing a Lawsuit

Once the evidence has been gathered, the next step is to file a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Kristen Johnson, Esq. will draft and file the complaint on your behalf, outlining the nature of the boundary dispute, presenting the collected evidence, and requesting the court to determine the rightful location of the property line. Her legal expertise ensures that all necessary details are included, strengthening your case.

After the complaint is filed, the defendant, usually the neighboring property owner, will be served with legal papers and given an opportunity to respond. Both parties may be required to attend a pre-trial conference to outline the disputed issues and explore potential resolutions. Kristen Johnson, Esq. will represent you during this stage, facilitating effective and clear communication, which can sometimes lead to an amicable settlement and avoid a lengthy court battle.

Filing a well-prepared lawsuit with Kristen Johnson, Esq. by your side can help expedite the resolution process and provide a clearer path to settling the boundary dispute. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial, where your real estate attorney will advocate for your interests, working diligently to achieve a favorable outcome.

By working with Kristen Johnson, Esq., you gain a knowledgeable and dedicated legal ally who will guide you through each step of the boundary dispute resolution process, ensuring your rights and property interests are protected.

property lines for nj homes

Pre-trial conference

A pre-trial conference is a meeting between all parties involved in the dispute, their attorneys, and a judge. During this conference, both sides will present their arguments and evidence to the court. The goal of the pre-trial conference is to identify areas of agreement and disagreement and explore potential solutions before proceeding to trial.

At this stage, it’s essential for property owners to have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations under New Jersey law. Seeking legal guidance can be beneficial in navigating through this process successfully.

The judge may make recommendations for a settlement or order mediation to help the parties reach an agreement. If no resolution is reached, the case will proceed to trial.

Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, both parties have an opportunity to gather additional evidence and information from the other side through requests for documents and depositions. This process allows each party to review all available evidence and potentially uncover any new information that may strengthen their position.

The discovery phase is also a time where expert witnesses, such as surveyors or appraisers, can be brought in to provide their professional opinions on the disputed boundary.

As this phase can be time-consuming and costly, property owners should consider seeking legal advice to ensure proper procedures are followed and to help mitigate any potential delays or complications.

Settlement negotiations or mediation

At any point during the dispute resolution process, both parties can choose to engage in settlement negotiations or opt for mediation. In these scenarios, a neutral third party will facilitate discussions between the parties and attempt to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Mediation is often recommended as it allows for more open communication and can result in a quicker resolution compared to going through a trial. Additionally, it can also help preserve relationships between neighboring property owners, which can be valuable in the long run.

However, if a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations or mediation, the case will proceed to trial.

Trial and Judgment

During a trial, both parties will present their arguments and evidence before a judge or jury. With our firm as your legal counsel, you will have a dedicated and experienced attorney presenting your case. Kristen will prepare and deliver compelling arguments and evidence to effectively advocate for your property rights.

While trials can be lengthy and expensive, we ensure that your case is handled with the utmost professionalism and expertise. We are dedicated to protecting your interests and increasing your chances of a favorable judgment.

After the trial, a judgment will be issued, determining the rightful location of the property line. This judgment is legally binding and must be followed by both parties.

Appeal, if Necessary

If either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of the trial, they may choose to appeal the decision. Kristen Johnson, Esq. can help you assess the viability of an appeal and guide you through the process. The appeals process involves requesting a higher court to review and potentially overturn the lower court’s decision.

To successfully appeal a boundary dispute case in New Jersey, there must be evidence of a legal error or misconduct during the initial trial. Kristen Johnson, Esq.’s legal expertise is helpful in identifying such errors and effectively presenting them to the appellate court. While appeals can be costly and time-consuming, Kristen’s thorough approach ensures that you make an informed decision about pursuing this option.

In some cases, an alternative dispute resolution method may be recommended by the higher court, such as mediation or arbitration. Kristen Johnson, Esq. can represent you in these proceedings, providing a more cost-effective and efficient way to reach a resolution.

The different stages involved in filing a lawsuit for a boundary dispute in New Jersey can be complex and challenging. With our help, property owners can ensure their rights are protected and increase the chances of a favorable outcome. Her legal expertise and commitment to her clients provide the support needed to navigate the legal process confidently and successfully.

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Boundary Disputes?

Many homeowners may wonder if their insurance will cover legal expenses and damages related to a boundary dispute. In most cases, the answer is no.

Homeowners insurance typically only covers damage or losses caused by unexpected events, such as natural disasters or accidents. It does not cover disputes over property boundaries that are considered a pre-existing issue.

However, some policies may offer coverage for legal fees if the dispute results in a lawsuit. This coverage is usually limited and may require an additional premium or specific endorsement on the policy.

It’s important for homeowners to review their insurance policy carefully and consult with their insurance provider to understand what is covered in the event of a boundary dispute. In some cases, it may be beneficial to purchase additional coverage or seek out specialized policies for property line disputes.

Homeowners should take steps to prevent boundary disputes through proper documentation, communication with neighbors, and regular maintenance of their property boundaries. By doing so, they can avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles in the future.

Why A Professional is Important in Resolving Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes can be emotionally and financially draining for property owners. It’s necessary to seek professional guidance to ensure a fair resolution and protect one’s rights throughout the process.

A boundary dispute attorney has the knowledge and experience to navigate complex legal issues and negotiate on behalf of their client. They can also advise on potential resolutions and provide support during mediation or trial.

Engage a professional surveyor to accurately determine the location of a property line. A licensed surveyor will use precise measurements and technology to establish the exact boundaries, avoiding any discrepancies or further conflicts.

a property line dispute in new jersey

In some cases, experts such as land appraisers or title searchers may also be necessary to provide evidence and support for a case.

By working with professionals, property owners can have peace of mind knowing that their interests are being protected and the dispute is being handled effectively. They can also save time and resources by avoiding potential mistakes or missteps in the legal process.

boundary disputes are a common issue for property owners

Homeowners should understand that their insurance may not cover legal expenses related to boundary disputes and the importance of seeking professional guidance from an expert New Jersey real estate attorney as well as a professional surveyor.

If you’re facing a boundary dispute in New Jersey, contact Kristen E. Johnson for experienced and personalized legal assistance. With her extensive knowledge and dedication to her clients, she is well-equipped to handle complex real estate matters and find effective resolutions for your dispute.

Call 732-477-4921 or Contact Us now For Help With Boundary Disputes


How long does a boundary dispute take to resolve?

The length of time it takes to resolve a boundary dispute varies depending on the complexity of the case and the chosen resolution method. Some disputes can be resolved through communication and documentation, while others may require legal action or mediation. It’s best to consult with a real estate attorney to get an estimate of how long your specific case may take.

What should I do if my neighbor refuses to communicate about a potential boundary issue?

If your neighbor is not willing to communicate or cooperate, it’s important to document any evidence that supports your claim, such as property surveys or deeds. You may also consider seeking legal guidance to explore your options for resolution.

Can I build a fence along my perceived boundary line?

Building without proper documentation or approval from all parties involved can escalate a boundary dispute and potentially result in legal consequences. It’s best to seek professional advice and follow appropriate procedures before making any changes to your property boundaries.  By working with professionals, homeowners can ensure that their rights are protected and the dispute is handled effectively, potentially saving time and resources in the long run.


  • Kristen Johnson, Esq

    With over two decades of legal experience, Kristen E. Johnson, Esq. has been serving the Jersey Shore community. As the owner and principal attorney of her NJ real estate law firm, Kristen specializes in residential and commercial real estate. A Monmouth County native, Kristen is deeply rooted in the community. She holds degrees from Drexel University ('00) and Villanova School of Law ('03). Her expertise spans various areas, including foreclosures, Condominium Law, Landlord-Tenant matters, and residential and commercial real estate. Kristen's commitment to the field extends to education, as she also operates the Ocean School of Real Estate as a licensed educator.

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