Property Disputes in Anchorage, AK
Property disputes in Alaska are common between neighbors. They even occur between companies and governments. People want to protect what is legally theirs, but sometimes the boundary lines are not clear.
Find out what you can do if you have a property dispute in Anchorage, Alaska. Discover the legal remedies and actions that can help you clear up a misunderstanding, arrange a settlement, or manage an issue involving your property.
What Is a Property Dispute?
Property disputes are legal disputes that involve real estate, including single-family homes, apartments, roads, condominiums, and ponds. Anchorage, AK property disputes can involve a wide range of parties, which might include some of the following:
- Homeowners’ association
- Landlords and tenants
- Family members
- Property visitors
- Government agencies
Most Anchorage property disputes fall under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Judicial District Court. However, if your case involves more than $100,000, the Anchorage Superior Court will hear your case. Conveniently, the Nesbett Courthouse currently houses both courts.
Common Types of Anchorage, Alaska Property Disputes
It’s important to know about common disputes to understand your circumstances. The most common property disputes often include:
- Disputes between neighbors regarding where property lines exist
- Disputes between landlords and tenants regarding who is at fault for damage to the property
- Homeowners and real estate developers disagreeing over who is responsible for repairs on construction
- People blocking their neighbor’s view via a “spite fence” or another structure specifically made to annoy their neighbor
- Disputes between mortgage lenders and creditors over who can foreclose a property and who receives the proceeds of a sale
- Disputes between homeowners and government agencies about whether they have a utility easement
- Ownership disputes about who is the rightful owner of a property
- Issues with zoning
Beyond these examples, you may find other situations in Anchorage where a property dispute occurs. In general, if you own land, you have to constantly watch out for it and ensure that others are not using it illegally or trying to claim it as their own.
Understanding Typical Anchorage, Alaska Property Disputes
Trees on or near a property line can be a common source of problems between neighbors. In Anchorage, as in most places, you can trim branches that hang over your property, but only up to the property line. If you cut further than that, you may be liable for damages under Alaska statute. In addition, Anchorage Municipal Code requires tree owners to prevent interference with public utilities and roadways.
Agricultural operations can also be a source of contention between Anchorage neighbors. However, Alaska’s Right to Farm laws protect these operations from most nuisance lawsuits. While these laws override any conflicting local ordinances, they only apply to nuisance suits. This means that an Anchorage farm could still face legal action for violations of a different sort, such as blocking a gutter and causing a flood.
Legal Process for Boundary Disputes In Anchorage, Alaska
Has someone brought a property dispute against you in Anchorage, or are you starting a property dispute against someone else? If so, you need to understand the legal process you will go through. This process begins with understanding the issue at hand.
Understand the Boundary Issue
To understand the specific boundary dispute, you’ll have to do the following things:
- Complete a land survey to locate the exact boundary of your home as outlined in the legal description of the deed. This survey will help you understand your property and how much of your land is encroached.
- Conduct an appraisal to learn the exact market value of the piece of property that is in dispute.
- Do a title search to find all of the documents in the chain of title of your Anchorage, AK property. The title search will show if any deeds may affect your ownership.
These things will likely have happened when you purchased the home. If that’s the case, the documents you already have should suffice unless the case goes to court.
Alaska legislation contains provisions requiring agricultural landowners to keep their barbed wire fences in good repair and their livestock contained. However, unlike in some states, there are no statutes regulating boundary fences or non-agricultural fences. Therefore, an Anchorage court will look to both common law principles as well as local ordinances. For example, Anchorage code provides guidance on fences, landscaping, and retaining walls.
Try to Find a Solution with Your Neighbor
Property dispute litigation in Anchorage, Alaska can cost a fortune, not to mention it can take a long time to settle a dispute. Therefore, it’s important to open a discussion between you and your neighbor. If you can reach an agreement and settle the dispute without going to court, you can save time and money.
Try to communicate directly with your neighbor. You can attempt sending a letter, email, making a phone call, or visiting their home if that’s a safe option.
If no progress happens and it’s clear that you and your neighbor are still on completely different pages, at this point, you should consider hiring an attorney to assist you. They can help you understand if you have legal grounds upon which to stand. If you do, then you can send a demand letter.
Sending a Demand Letter
This letter will be from your Anchorage attorney to your neighbor, and it will outline the property dispute. It will give your neighbor the option to respond via a requested action, or it will provide a reasonable price for settling the dispute out of court.
Your neighbor will likely forward this letter to their attorney to better understand the boundary dispute. From there, the attorneys on both sides will decide the best course of action moving forward.
Going to Court or Reaching a Settlement
Typically, the best option for both sides is to settle the dispute out of court to avoid costly litigation fees. But if your negotiations are going nowhere, it might be necessary to file the dispute with the court. The court will then look closely at the evidence presented and determine who owns the Anchorage, AK property in question. Keep in mind the court’s decision is legally binding. You may not agree with it, or it may not be exactly the result you wanted to see. That is why it’s typically in your best interest to settle.
The Anchorage District or Superior Court will handle most property disputes in the city.
Work With an Experienced Local Property Dispute Lawyer In Anchorage, Alaska
When it comes to property disputes, you should work with an experienced property dispute lawyer. Whether you’re filing a property dispute against your neighbor or you are defending a dispute brought against you, you’ll need a lawyer that understands Anchorage property law on your side. An experienced lawyer can help you settle before taking the dispute to court, which will save you both time and money. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Alaska state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!