What is Encroachment?

Definition: Encroachment is a property trespassing event that violates a neighbor’s perimeter with a construction or a misplaced object. It is a conflict between adjacent property owners caused by an unlawful violation of property lines.

What Does Encroachment Mean?

Encroachment situations are very uncomfortable for property owners since they create unnecessary conflicts between neighbors. It often occurs in places where no clear boundaries are set between one property and the other, which is the case of unintentional encroachment. On the other hand, intentional encroachment is the scenario where a neighbor places a given structure negligently but fully aware of the trespassing.

These situations are frequently resolved through friendly discussions, in cases where the boundaries were clearly established by the builder. By nature, encroachments are illegal. Since they are in essence a private property space violation. This means that the victim of the encroachment has the full right to demolish any structure built inside his property lines.

Finally, an encroachment is different from an easement., since easements involve an agreement between both the land owner and the company or individual using the predefined spaces of the property, and they normally include an element of compensation.


Mrs. Lanaghan and Mr. Keawi are neighbors. Their houses are located next to each other and the properties have no clear divisions between them. Mr. Keawi recently engaged in a project to build a barbecue space in his premises and the project includes a grill and some fixed wooden furniture he wants to place in his backyard. After the contractor finished the project, Mrs. Lanaghan complained that two of the wooden structures violated her property boundaries.

Apparently, the contractor ignored that the divisions were not symmetrical and because of that he placed some furniture in what was actually Mrs. Lanaghan’s property. The incident was quickly resolved by relocating the structures in other place and the relationship between these neighbors continued to be a friendly one.