How does a prescriptive easement work if you just purchased a property that is 20 years old but he fence dividing property is not 20 years old?

I just purchased property 3 months ago. There is a fence that starts about 2 inches on my neighbors’ yard and runs diagonally into my property. It ends up cutting out over 1800 square feet of my property. My neighbors believe it is there property but I just got a survey done showing otherwise. The houses are all 20 years old, however the fence is clearly not nearly that old. It is also not clear who built the fence, but all but about two inches of the fence is on my property according to the survey. Also, the fence has the “good side” facing my property.

Asked on June 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In Florida, a prescriptive easement also known as adverse possession requires the following in order for your neighbor to assert a claim to the property enclosed by the fence: (1) the possession is open and notorious and in a visible manner that is in conflict with others right to the property; (2) person must have some sort of title on which to base a claim of title or must have paid property taxes on the land claimed to be adversely possessed and (3) possess the land continuously and exclusively for seven years.

If the neighbor has satisfied all of these requirements, he/she has established adverse possession to the section of your property enclosed by the fence.  If the neighbor has not satisfied all of these requirements, you may be able to defeat a claim of adverse possession.


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