Author Topic: Adverse possession?  (Read 1023 times)

KYFIRE

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Adverse possession?
« on: May 31, 2021, 09:45:49 AM »
Kinda have a weird one.  I think I already know the answer but not sure if any lawyers in the house.

When I moved into my current house 6 years ago, my neighbor insisted that I owned a wedge of land next to my house (around .25-.3 acres).  Per the plat I did not.  He insisted even saying it would be a terrible property line which I agree as it puts the property line only 10 feet off my patio on a 1 acre lot.  Me being a nice neighbor just figured ok, maybe I'm wrong and certainly not going to get into an argument about it.  So for 5 years (until mid 2020) I took care of it.  Mowed, did lawn treatment, everything.  I even approached him in the spring of 2020 to buy it to make official but he again insisted it wasn't his but "sure, I'd probably sell".

Well, in mid of last year the owner on the opposite side of him had the property zoned.  Low and behold he comes up to me and says yeah, it was his land and he didn't want to sell.  I was pretty pissed since I'd taken care of it for years and also know the previous owners did too.  So suddenly at year 14 of other people taking care of his property (and telling him it was his) he finally agreed it was his.  I don't think it's his intent but in KY the adverse possession criteria is 15 years so just squeaked in.

Now he's actually a nice guy and there isn't any issue between us really but I'm worried since he said they were probably moving in a few years when they retire.  He doesn't have a problem with me using the land to get to my basement with my truck (completely necessary due to property lines) but I'm worried if future owner would be so nice.  Also, my septic tanks are right on the property line and I'm a little worried they could be an issue if someone really made a fuss.  I need to check with the zoning office to confirm.  He did say if it was an issue that he'd work with me on that but not sure how that would work out.

Anyhow, I'm curious, since he actively denied ownership for 14 years, is there any standing I could use should it become an issue with the tanks?  I would absolutely want to avoid any legal action but I also don't want to be backed into a corner potentially that could cost me a massive amount to fix.  Just want for back pocket should it need to be escalated. 

Thanks,

Morning Glory

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2021, 09:55:05 AM »
No idea on the legal stuff. When he's ready to move you could look at buying his house to use as a rental.

Catbert

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2021, 10:13:32 AM »
You could talk to him and a lawyer about getting an easement so your truck can get to the basement.  Morning Glory has a great idea if that would work.

Adverse  possession laws are different in different states so general internet advice won't be helpful.  So I'll add mine...in California you have to have paid property tax on the property in question in order for adverse possession to apply.

Sibley

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2021, 08:11:22 PM »
I love that he just insisted for years and years that it was yours, ie he didn't have to take care of it.

This is local lawyer territory however. An easement or similiar to ensure access to your property is a very good idea.

KYFIRE

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2021, 06:03:08 AM »
Yeah, I get of course it's his land and all but I would think he'd be more open about selling given he didn't think it was his for so long. 

I'd like to buy as a rental but not sure what I could charge.  Even assuming we come down from these crazy prices right now it'd probably be around $400k to buy.  Not sure I'd get the rent I could off of it. 

norajean

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2021, 06:29:37 AM »
Your local laws will determine if your septic tank location is kosher or not.

The basement access is courtesy unless you get an easement agreement signed.

Sounds like adverse possession won’t apply but the 14 years of lawn mowing could be used in some fashion if this turns into a nasty law suit. E.g., you could sue him for lawn services for 14 years.

Is there any reciprocal issue or thing he may want from you? That is often a good way to keep neighbors in balance.

Rosy

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2021, 08:29:52 AM »
The important thing here is access to your basement and a way to get your truck on the property since both are impossible if a new owner denies you both.
The septic tank location might turn into more trouble...

I'd speak to a lawyer there is little point in worrying about the situation. You either have a legal way to assume ownership given your long-term usage, a decade of expenses, and your neighbor's silent agreement to grant you access or not.
You can only hope that the new owner will agree to let you use the property or better yet sell it to you.
As far as the current neighbor he seems to be a wiggly worm.

RWD

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2021, 08:57:52 AM »
[...] not sure if any lawyers in the house.
@lexde is a lawyer practicing property litigation.

former player

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2021, 09:01:25 AM »
The assumption would be that your septic tanks and any access needed for them were built on your land - and in any case you surely have adverse possession rights in relation to the placing and use of the tanks and any access required for maintenance.

I'd be looking very carefully at the dates for adverse possession. How close are you to the 15 years?  Does your neighbour's simple statement of ownership actually stop the adverse possession from continuing?  If you don't agree with his contention that he owns it and you continue to maintain it the period for adverse possession might still be running.

I agree consulting a local property lawyer might be a good idea, but litigating over boundary disputes is usually a loser for all concerned.  You could also pay a visit to the zoning office to see what they make of the situation.

AMandM

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2021, 09:08:14 AM »
IANAL, but I believe adverse possession doesn't apply if the landowner consents to the non-owner using the land--it's not adverse if he agreed to it (indeed, urged it).

Catbert

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2021, 10:23:44 AM »
IANAL, but I believe adverse possession doesn't apply if the landowner consents to the non-owner using the land--it's not adverse if he agreed to it (indeed, urged it).
+1

former player

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2021, 10:38:13 AM »
IANAL, but I believe adverse possession doesn't apply if the landowner consents to the non-owner using the land--it's not adverse if he agreed to it (indeed, urged it).
+1
Yes, but the neighbour wasn't giving permission ("you may use this land I own"), he was denying that he owned it.

AMandM

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Re: Adverse possession?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2021, 10:30:32 AM »
Yes, but the neighbour wasn't giving permission ("you may use this land I own"), he was denying that he owned it.
Either way,  the occupier was not doing something adverse to the owner.