What to do if I have lived in my house for 22 years and now find out that 4feet of my driveway is on the neighbor’s property?

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What to do if I have lived in my house for 22 years and now find out that 4feet of my driveway is on the neighbor’s property?

I was told I can’t park there by the new owners. I was also told by the real estate agent selling the house there would be no problem parking there because there was an easement agreement. It is not on my deed or my title search. Can I claim squatters rights because I have maintain and used that property for 22 years, or would the easement agreement be or there deed or title search? We are not able to park on the street overnight in our city.

Asked on November 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would go an see a real estate attorney in your area as soon as you can.  What you have referred to as squatters rights is known in the legal world as "adverse possession" and what you need to do is to bring an action for adverse possession to claim this property.  It used to be in New York that adverse possession had to be that you knew that the land was not yours and that you are possession under "claim of right" of the true owners.  But New York has changed the law to reflect the actual meaning behind the law:  a reasonable basis to believe that it is your land.  In other words, it allows for a good faith dispute as to ownership.  Adverse possession law as it stood before was not easy to prove in New York so this change could work in your favor.  FYI the length of time in New York is 10 years so you are ok in that respect. You could in the end offer to buy the 4 feet.  Good luck.


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