My property line goes through my neighbors stairs. Do I own that land?

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My property line goes through my neighbors stairs. Do I own that land?

We let our previous neighbors build stairs that
partially went over the property line by about
4 feet. Our new neighbor of 2 years is now
claiming that they own the land under the
stairs, the entire strip on land running
perpendicular to the stairs, and also an
additional 10 feet into our land. They also
keep mentioning that the house is in litigation
even though we have not received a single
notice since she has been there. Does she
really own all that land? Thank you for your
time.

Asked on May 25, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, she does not. Voluntarily giving someone permission to intrude on or make some use of your land does NOT give them any right to it. "Adverse possession," which is a mechanism for claiming another person's land, must be "adverse" or hostile, or against the property owner's interests--but if the property owner allowed you on their land, then that is by definition not adverse or hostile and so cannot convey any right to land. Permitted uses or occupancy does not cost a property owner his or her rights to his or her land.


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