If you take care of an abandoned lot for 6 years, do you have any rights to it?

I purchased my home 6 years ago. Directly beside my home there was an abandoned lot that was full of household trash. We then cleaned it up taking out over 19 contractor bags full of trash. We have ever since mowed and occupied the lot with our trampoline and such things for the kids. Do I have any legal rights to this property since I have been taking care of it for 6 years?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, a person can obtain a prescriptive easement to use another person's property if the use is open, continuous, uninterrupted, exclusive and under claim of right for more than five (5) years. If property taxes are paid in that time period for the used parcel, ownership can result under an adverse possession theory.

From what you have written about the adjacent lot, your cleaning of it, maintenance of it and use for over five (5) years could very well have resulted in property rights for you to use it for what you have been using it for as a prescriptive easement. Since the parcel seems abandoned, you might look up the owner under the tax roll and see if it is for sale.

Good question.

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