Old encroachment Definition - Posted by Bert G

Posted by Bill (OH) on May 12, 2000 at 20:26:48:

BG—what you are referring to is legally called ‘adverse posession’. I won’t bore you with all of the legal details, but this is one of the ways you can acquire property! Anyway, you have to ‘adversely posess’ the property for a certain period of time. At common law that period was for 21 years—however, ‘tacking’ is allowed. This is where subsequent owners can claim the years that the previous owners occupied the land. So, go to a public library and find the codes for your state. See what the time is before you can gain property through adverse posession. Also see what the rules are in your state for ‘tacking’. If you meet the guidelines, and the guy wants to get nasty, then you have to file what’s known as a ‘quiet title’ action–which is a good idea in any case as then if you win in court, the property is undeniably yours! If in doubt, always contact a good Real Estate attorney…

Old encroachment Definition - Posted by Bert G

Posted by Bert G on May 12, 2000 at 13:23:58:

In '96 I bought a piece of property that has an old shed and fence along the back edge. Been there for well over 30 years, which I learned from talking to previous owners. Last year someone bought the property next door, and after doing some measuring pointed out that the shed & fence are over the prop line by about 2 feet. We measured it together, and sure enough he’s right. (lesson here, survey before buying). The fence line follows a rather obvious change in grade level which also makes it look like the line is where I originally thought it was.

I know there’s a term for some sort of easement where an encroachment has existed for a long time with nobody complaining. Just need to know what it is so I can mention it if the neighbor starts agitating. He was out measuring again this week. (I took out the fence because it was an eyesore, but I use the shed and it would be inconvenient to move it) In the meantime, the neighbor has moved in an ugly shed of his own, and set it down right on where he beleives the line to be.

Short of asking the city to re-plat the lot, what would you advise?


Possession - Posted by steve

Posted by steve on May 15, 2000 at 10:25:37:

I don’t think this would meet all the tests to gain title by adverse possession. While you may be able to meet the ‘time’ test, you would also need to have paid the property taxes on that portion of property to which you’re claiming rights. There are some other gray areas, too, that I wonder whether you’d be able to satisfy.

That being said, you probably can prove you have some kind of prescriptive right. A good real estate attorney can help you sort out your options.

If I were you, I’d hire a real land surveyor, before doing anything else, just to make sure the property line is where I think it is. It sure would be a shame to go through the hassle of a quiet title action only to find out you already own it.