A disagreement between property owners regarding their respective boundary lines may lead to legal action. In a July 30, 2018 opinion, the Massachusetts Land Court decided a case concerning the ownership of a disputed area along the boundary line between the parties’ properties. The area at issue was the driveway separating the two properties. The plaintiffs in the case brought an action against the defendant to quiet title, claiming ownership over the entire portion of the disputed area pursuant to their deed.
The driveway at issue was used by both parties to enter and exit their respective properties. When the defendant purchased her property in 1998, there was a wood board affixed to the driveway that ran the length of the two houses, indicating a boundary line. When the plaintiffs purchased their house in 2002, they understood that they were entitled to use the entire driveway between the properties, and they did so. At some point, however, the defendant told the plaintiffs that the boundary line was down the middle of the driveway and that the plaintiffs could not use or drive on her side of it.
In 2013, the defendant had a survey done of her property to determine the location of the boundary line on the driveway. The plaintiffs, in turn, obtained a survey in 2015 and sought a second survey thereafter. The defendant sought a permit and constructed a four-foot fence on the driveway. The plaintiffs obtained a third survey in 2016, which showed that a portion of the driveway and the defendant’s fence were located on the plaintiffs’ property.