Do have any rights to ownership if I maintain an abandoned lot?

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Do have any rights to ownership if I maintain an abandoned lot?

I bought my home 6 years ago and at that time there was a vacant lot that touches mine. I had to clean this lot because it was overflowing from trash. And ever since have taken care of this property (mowing, using it for the pool and trampoline, etc.). My father-in-law was telling me something about a law that if you take care of a property for so long, that you can legally claim it. I have tried to call our local real estate tax department and they haven’t been able to be much help as far as how I can buy/claim it. All they can tell me is that there is over $5000 due for back taxes and the guys name they gave me is passed. So I tried calling his son but I can’t find a number.

Asked on September 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your father-in-law is talking about adverse possession, which would allow you to claim ownership of another's land if certain requirements are met.

In Ohio, the requirements for adverse possession are as follows: actively using the land, the land must be enclosed by a fence or similar structure, and the land must have been used by you openly for 21 years.

You have been actively using the land.  You didn't say whether or not it is enclosed by a fence or similar structure, but even if it is and you have been using it openly, you haven't been using it for 21 years.  Therefore, you would not be able to assert a claim for adverse possession at this time.


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