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Neighbor Law: A Beginner's Guide

A guide to resources for navigating legal disputes between neighbors, including disagreements regarding trees and homeowners' associations laws.

Introduction

Carol Highsmith, photographer. Similarly designed small bungalow homes on one of several brick streets in a neighborhood of Huntington, West Virginia.... 2015. Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. Prints and Photographs Division.

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.” – Abraham Lincoln External

Despite these widely-cited words from President Lincoln, one of the most frequently cited research topics we receive questions about at the Law Library of Congress is legal disputes between neighbors. Whether the issue is trees, fences, paint colors, or the requirements of a homeowners' association agreement, neighbors can unexpectedly and strongly disagree regarding who should be legally responsible for changes to their properties. 

In this guide, we hope to provide sources you can use to bring some clarity to legal disputes between neighbors.

Below you will find links to items in the catalog that address neighbor disputes most broadly.  We have also compiled information on the two kinds of neighbor disputes we receive the most questions about at the reference desk (see guide sections in navigation menu on left).

 

General Resources