Can a neighbor take back a strip of land that they siad you could have?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can a neighbor take back a strip of land that they siad you could have?

After Hurricane Katrina 13 years ago, the house next to mine was abandoned. I took care of it until it sold 2 years ago as a HUD property. The original owner had someone staying there for security reasons. When the auction came up, the property was sold with no off street parking. Over the years, I took leave from the military to continue the upkeep of this property. There was a 2 tire strip driveway between the 2 houses that was more mud and rocks than anything. the original backyard fence has been there since the 1950’s and projected to the street. Before I retired from the military, I spoke to the original owner of the property about the pouring of a driveway and that I would need to add 3′ to the space to make the pour. He said that since I had been taking care of the property for over 10 years he had no problem with me having that piece and that I now had possession of the driveway area. So I poured my backyard up to the original fence and also poured a driveway not to encroach on the next door’s walkway/sidewalk. As stated, the original fence line had been there since the 1950’s. Can the neighbor take back the 3′ strip that I poured to make a driveway? What is the statute of limitations for a blighted property?

Asked on September 3, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the current owner can take back the land, and require you to remove the concrete at your expense and restore the land. The oral agreement you had with the prior owner is simply not binding on anyone who acquires the property from or after them and did not adjust the property lines. It was an agreement only between the two of you and bound no one else. It was, unfortunately, risky for you to rely on that owner's permission without getting that permission reflected in either an adjustment in the boundaries (e.g. by him quitclaiming that land to you) or an easement which was then filed. The current owner can enforce the property's boundaries, as reflected in the filed deeds.

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