Can a 70 year old fence constitute a property line?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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Can a 70 year old fence constitute a property line?

I own 1400 acres in MO. A 40 acre tract just sold that joins me for a quarter. He has now owned it for 2 weeks and had it surveyed. The new line would be 25′ inside my fence. Does the adverse possession law relate to this?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In many states, adverse possession takes effect after something like 20 to 40 years. A 70 year old fence which you put up 70 years ago could constitute adverse possession and you taking the property. But if you did not put the fence up 70 years ago, the clock starts again and you no longer would have a claim. If the property has been surveyed and the new line is 25 feet inside your fence, you are arguably encroaching on his property. Your best bet is to get a survey yourself or look at the survey registered and filed with the county or city and see if your state's adverse possession laws would apply to your particular ownership rights.

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