Property line dispute – adverse possession. Should this land now belong to me. Neither I or my neighbor knew property line was wrong.

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Property line dispute – adverse possession. Should this land now belong to me. Neither I or my neighbor knew property line was wrong.

My parents bought the place in 1970. I bought it from the estate when my father passed away in 2005. The property line has always been a certain fence. My neighbor had a survey done about 4-5 years ago and the property line is now closer to me. It was since my Dad passed. At that time he said nothing to me but his ex-wife did. She told me they thought it would be “grandfathered in” as my land. Last summer/fall my neighbor told me about the survey but stated that he was not going to do anything about it. Now he wants to use the land as a hay yard. He did not know the line was wrong.

Asked on July 4, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Montana

Answers:

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am a lawyer in CT and practice in this ara of the law.  This sounds like it is going to be a big fight.  One of the elements to adverse possession is that the person (your neighbor) was using the property openly and notoriously.  This means that the neighbor knew that he was not supposed to be using that part of the property and that you could have said something.  The fact that the line was in dispute as to where the line was complicates things becasue another element is that the neighbor must be using that area of the property continuously for at least 15 years.  if there is a dispute about where the line is, then there are issues about when the line changed and how long the neighbor was using the land he now claims.  I suggest that you see a lawyer as this is going to get messy.


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