Real Estate Terminology: Encroachment

Posted by Chad Hendrix on Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at 11:03am.


It's a word that can strike fear into the hearts of buyers and sellers everywhere, and quickly sabotage a property sale. But what does it mean?

In real estate, an encroachment is defined as when, "A structure from one property extends over the property line of another." Seems pretty simple, right? Well, encroachments can be real deal breakers even if they don't adversely affect anyone's quality of life. There's actually a statute of limitations on how long someone has to claim an encroachment on their property and what the consequences are if they're proven correct.

So, how do encroachment's happen? Usually as a result of an improperly-performed survey or incorrectly drawn property lines. They can also be caused by unpermitted or "lazy" building work that simply assumes where property lines lie. Sometimes encroaching structures can be as large as a house, garage, or shed, and sometimes they can be a superfluous structure like a driveway or a fence. In most cases, homeowners don't even realize they're encroaching on their neighbors' land until they try to sell their home and a property survey reveals the issue.

And did you know that utility companies (like Duke Power) are actually allowed under certain circumstances to encroach on your property with things like power poles? 

What should you do?

First and foremost, you should have a property survey done on any property you own before making external improvements. If you're looking to buy, you need a property survey done before closing on the home in question as well. If an encroachment is found, immediately bring it to the attention of your real estate attorney. 

You should also talk at length with your real estate broker about encroachments. They can help you understand the nuances of NC's many laws and statutes surrounding these issues and give you direction on how far to push a specific issue. An encroachment doesn't have to break a sale - but it is something that should be addressed early on.


Got questions about this week's Real Estate Term?
Call us to talk it through - we're your Charlotte real estate go-tos!

Chad Hendrix, Charlotte real estate agentHi, I'm Chad Hendrix, owner of Hendrix Properties. Whether you're just browsing or seriously looking to move, I hope you'll feel free to reach out to me sooner rather than later. I'd love the opportunity to be your agent long before you actually need one. Call or text anytime you'd like at 704-737-4400 -Chad Hendrix

Please provide a valid email address.

2 Responses to "Real Estate Terminology: Encroachment"

Cynthia Dixon wrote: If my neighbors tree hanging over on my property. What can I do about it?

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 8:29am.

Chad Hendrix wrote: Hey Cynthia, that's a good question and I'm sure a very common one as well. Being that I'm not an attorney, I wanted to make sure that I correctly answered your question so I went looking and found the following article on the very subject. Take a look at the last 3 bullet points:

I hope this helps!

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 9:51am.

Leave a Comment