Is there a law that states once an access has been used for so long it becomes a permanent access point?

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Is there a law that states once an access has been used for so long it becomes a permanent access point?

A pathway has been used through an individual’s yard to gain access to the neighborhood pool, clubhouse and swing sets for over 8 years. Now he wants to be a jerk about it. There is no damagto his yard or property.

Asked on June 21, 2014 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You are thinking of adverse possession which allows one to claim ownership of another's property if certain requirements are satisfied.

Adverse possession requires continuous, hostile, open and notorious and actual use of another's property for the required statutory period.

You have not satisfied the requirements for adverse possession because the statutory period in South Carolina is 10 years and you have only been using the path for 8 years.  Therefore, continuous use for the statutory period has not been satisfied.

As for the other elements of adverse possession, hostile means using the property without permission; open and notorious means possession is obvious to onlookers; actual means actual use of the property.


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