Real Estate - Encroachments Law and Legal Definition

Encroachment is the situation that exists when a structure is built in whole or in part on a neighbor's property. Boundaries are frequently marked by partition fences, ditches, hedges, trees, etc. Disputes arising from a confusion of boundaries may be generally settled by an action at law. However, courts of equity will entertain a bill for the settlement of boundaries when the rights of one of the parties may be established upon equitable grounds.

Encroachments may be the result of incorrect surveys, or mistakes or miscalculations by builders and/or owners when erecting a building. Encroachments may be corrected by giving or selling the encroaching party an easement or lease for the lifetime of the building, or in the case of small structures, actually moving it onto the owner's own property.