Life as a property owner doesn’t always run smoothly. A downed tree, new fence, or construction gone awry can cause tensions to run high between neighbors, and permanent damage can be done if problems are not settled early. These kinds of property disputes can quickly spiral into spiteful actions, lawsuits, eviction notices, and even the loss of an entire home.
Luna Law Firm helps clients in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Woodbury, McMinnville, and across Middle Tennessee defend their legal property rights. We combine in-depth knowledge of state and local laws with a goal-oriented approach to resolving complex disputes—ensuring that our clients’ voices are heard. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation on your case.
Common Types of Property Disputes in Tennessee
A property dispute can involve numerous interested parties and occur on a wide range of real estate. In some cases, only one element of a property will be involved in the dispute, such as a deck, fence, pond, driveway, or a single tree. Larger disputes could challenge legal ownership of a significant amount of land, such as a home, condominium, commercial building, or vacant lot.
Attorney Nathan Luna can advise you on a variety of property disputes involving:
- Boundary lines. Boundary disputes occur when parties disagree on (or do not know) the exact boundary line between adjacent properties. For example, if your neighbor installs a swimming pool or plants a garden between your two houses, he may illegally be using your land. In some cases, neighbors intentionally create problems out of spite, such as putting up a tall fence to block a scenic view. An attorney can conduct a proper survey to determine the existence and location of boundary lines.
- Landlord-tenant issues. There is a wide range of issues that can arise during the landlord-tenant relationship, such as determining who is at fault for property damage, who will pay for maintenance or repairs to the property, and when a landlord has the right to keep a tenant’s security deposit or evict them from the property.
- Homeowners Association (HOA) disputes. Homeowners Associations may have disputes with tenants over improper use of common areas or late assessment fees, insurance providers who refuse to cover damages, and real estate developers who fail to meet safe construction standards.
- Zoning problems. All properties are constructed for specific designated uses, or zones. Problems arise when a property is not being used for the same purpose it was zoned, such as the establishment of a commercial farm in a residential neighborhood. Depending on the nature of the dispute, an owner may need to conform to the local zoning ordinances or apply for a variance from the town.
- Partition actions. If you hold property with someone else and no longer wish to be co-owners, you may resolve the matter through a partition action. This is a court-ordered sale of the property where proceeds of the sale are distributed to co-owners according to their percentage of ownership.
- Construction disputes. Some boundary disputes may arise from negligent remodeling or construction, such as widening a driveway that accidentally encroaches over the neighbor’s property line. When this occurs, the contractor or building company can be held responsible for the costs of correcting the error.
- Title claims. Failure to establish your legal right of ownership of a property can cause all sorts of problems, from the inability to put your house on the market to a legal challenge from a co-owner or title challenger. An attorney can research the chain of title thoroughly and determine whether the dispute can be resolved by filing documents with the county or if it requires a quiet title lawsuit.
- Easements. An easement allows a non-owner to use a portion of someone else’s property for a specific purpose. The existence and nature of the easement can dictate whether a neighbor has permission to use a piece of your land, when the easement may be terminated, and whether the neighbor’s actions constitute trespassing.
- Eminent domain. Municipal entities have the right to claim certain lands for public purposes, even those that are located on or near your property. If your town or city has claimed ownership over your property through the doctrine of eminent domain, an attorney can ensure that you are fairly compensated.
- Government regulations. Federal and state governments have a variety of agents that regulate property ownership and use. These agencies set forth mandatory building codes that must be followed during construction, and planning departments may refuse to issue a building permit if designs do not conform to specifications.
Property laws can vary greatly depending on state, county, and city laws, so it is extremely important that you consult with a knowledgeable local attorney. Luna Law Firm proudly assists clients in Murfreesboro as well as Rutherford County, Cannon County, Warren County, and throughout Middle Tennessee. Contact us today to discuss the next steps in your case.