If a fence line has been in place 20 years, is it considered a permanent property line?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If a fence line has been in place 20 years, is it considered a permanent property line?

We want to put a fence up but the new owners says it’s not in the right place.

Asked on November 26, 2017 under Real Estate Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to claim the boundary by "adverse possession" but be advised this may very well entail potentially expensive and acrimonious litigation with your neighbors.
In your state, it you claim land (e.g. the land enclosed by the fence) as yours under a belief that you have the right to it, claim it openly so anyone can see the claim (e.g. with a fence), are present on the land (e.g. you live on or otherwise occupy this tract of land, and do so for 10 years, you may be able to transfer title to you--but it could get messy and expensive, since it would involve litigation.

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