Property Disputes in Houston, TX

Property disputes in Texas 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 Houston, Texas. 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. Houston, TX property disputes can involve a wide range of parties, which might include some of the following:

  • Neighbors
  • Homeowners’ association
  • Landlords and tenants
  • Family members
  • Trespassers
  • Property visitors
  • Government agencies

Depending on the size of your Houston property dispute, it will be heard in one of Harris County’s 3 civil courts. The jurisdictions can overlap, but in general:

Common Types of Houston, Texas 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 Houston 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 Houston, Texas Property Disputes

Trees near a property line can often cause friction between Houston neighbors. Texas does not have statutes that govern tree and branch issues. Instead, Harris County courts will rely on common law principles. According to Texas Legal Help, you can trim branches that overhang your property. However, you can only trim up to the property line and cannot damage the tree or trespass on your neighbor’s property. In addition, the Houston Municipal Code requires a permit before cutting any trees on public property.

Houston property disputes can sometimes involve the inconveniences of living or working near agricultural operations. However, the Texas Agricultural Code contains Right to Farm provisions similar to those in every state. These protect Houston farmers and ranchers from nuisance lawsuits in most circumstances. However, to gain this protection, the farm has to be in operation for at least a year and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Furthermore, the City of Houston adds additional restrictions regarding livestock within the city.

Legal Process for Boundary Disputes In Houston, Texas

Has someone brought a property dispute against you in Houston, 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 Houston, TX 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.

Boundary fence disputes in Houston are governed by common law and the city’s fence ordinances. In general, a landowner is solely responsible for a fence on their property. However, an agreement to share costs with your neighbor can be binding. In addition, Houston prohibits fences that run along sidewalks. Furthermore, barbed wire and electric fences are only permissible under very specific circumstances.

Try to Find a Solution with Your Neighbor

Property dispute litigation in Houston, Texas 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 Houston 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 Houston, TX 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.

Your Houston attorney can help you determine whether Harris County’s Justice Court, Civil Court at Law, or District Court is the appropriate venue for your property dispute.

Work With an Experienced Local Property Dispute Lawyer In Houston, Texas

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 Houston 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 Texas state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!

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