If 2 unrelated people own land together but only 1 of them paid taxes on the property, does the person who pays get to claim it as their own?

Back in the early 1980’s my father-in-law and his neighbor slash friend bought 3.2 acres behind them. They were hoping to land lock so that no one could build by their properties. Over the past 10 plus years we are not sure of the accuracy of this the neighbor says he has been solely paying the taxes on the property. He now says that he owns the property because my father-in-law has not been paying taxes in years on it. We are looking to subdivide and possibly sell but he says we no longer have ownership. Is this true?

Asked on November 19, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No it is not. The payment of property taxes does not create sole oownership, absent an agreement to the contrary. If 1 wner pays taxes, maintenace, repairs, mortgage payments, etc. they do not acquire a greater share of ownership that that which they originally had. At this point, you should contact a local real estate attoent and consult with them directly about a sale. They can best advise you further.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No it is not. The payment of property taxes does not create sole oownership, absent an agreement to the contrary. If 1 wner pays taxes, maintenace, repairs, mortgage payments, etc. they do not acquire a greater share of ownership that that which they originally had. At this point, you should contact a local real estate attoent and consult with them directly about a sale. They can best advise you further.


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