can you claim ownership of anothers property if you cut the grass?

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can you claim ownership of anothers property if you cut the grass?

fence is property line , 15 ft wide 10 yards long strip of grass between fence and gravel road.

Asked on April 13, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Cutting the grass of another's property does not in and of itself impart ownership rights. There is something in the law known as "adverse possession". This is a legal concept that allows a trespasser (typically a neighbor) to gain legal title over land owned by someone else. The possession must be 1) hostile (against the right of the owner and without permission); 2) actual (exercising control over the property); 3) exclusive (within the possession of the trespasser alone); 4) open and notorious (using the property as the real owner would without hiding the tresspasser's occupancy), and 5) continuous for the statutory period (15 years in VA). While cutting the grass may go to requirement of actual control over the property, the other 4 elements would still need to be met. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, voluntarily cutting someone else's grass (or doing other maintenance, etc. work) in no way gives you ownership or any rights over their property. The law does not let you use your own voluntary actions as a basis to deprive another person of ownership.


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