DoI have a claim for taking this property after 20+ years?

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DoI have a claim for taking this property after 20+ years?

We have a trailer in the FL Keys that has had a fence and backyard area for at least 20+ years. The existing park was purchased 4 months ago and the new owners want me to remove it so they can put their park model there. Do I have to oblige or can I dispute it?

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with a real estate attorney--you *may* have a claim for the land under "adverse possession," but be warned: it's tough to meet the standards.

The easy requirement--you've already passed it--is to occupy the land for 7 years. However, the occupation must be "open and notorious" to count; that is, it must be obvious you're occupying the land, which would seem also to be the case.

You also have to cultivate, fence, or improve the land, which you may have done.

However, in addition--

* you need "color of title," or some deed or document making you reasonably think you own the land, even if you never in fact did; or

* you have to have been paying the taxes on the land.

Unless all the criteria are met, you will not be able to take the land by adverse possession. If you can't do that, something else to discuss with an attorney: whoever bought the land bought it subject to any leases or other agreements. If you can show you had an agreement with the former owner that will still in force, it may be that you can bind the new owner. Good luck.


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