What are the consequences of an error made by a surveyor 60 years ago on property lines?

A surveyor made a mistake 60 years ago placing property lines 4′ off.5 lots were build based on these erroneous lines, including mine/ Fences and structures are placed based on the erroneous lines (including my garage which is just on the erroneous line and which is bisected by the ‘real’ lines)..Now, one of the neighborhood wants to put the fence on the ‘real’ lines.so, what happen? after 60 years, did the erroneous lines take force of low and become the property lines? or will everyone/everyting have to move 4′, including my garage?thanks, cyrille in Idaho

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Idaho


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You'll want to speak with an attorney about making claim to the land based upon something in the law known as "adverse possession".  Essentially you can lay claim to the property in question as rightful owner if certain requirements have been met.  Idaho courts have stated that these requirements are as follows: 

You have had possession of the disputed property, as is defined by I.C. Sec. 5-208;

You have done so under claim of title (you have held yourself out as the owner);

You have had exclusive use of the property (you or your predecessors in interest);

There has been continuous occupation of the property; 

You have paid all taxes which have been levied and assessed upon the property; and

That you have done the aforementioned for a period of at least 5 years.


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not an Idaho lawyer, but my research suggests that it's much to late to move the lot lines back where they should have been.  Everyone has used the lots and paid taxes on them as they are, with the mistaken lot lines.

There are more facts to this, I'm sure, and often the details matter, sometimes a great deal.  For advice you can rely on, before doing or saying anything more about this, please have all the facts reviewed by an attorney in your area.  One place to find the lawyer you need is our website, http://attorneypages.com

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