Trailer on my land

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Trailer on my land

I have property that I own. A friend of mine put a trailer on 1 piece of my land; he died about 1 1/2 years ago. His son has left the trailer on my land since then but said that he was going to move it. He cleaned out everything that he wanted from the trailer, including the wiring and copper pipes, and made a huge mess outside. Someone broke into the trailer 8 months ago. The son wasn’t back until last month, so animals got into the home. Now, he is blaming me for breaking in and suing me for $8000. Can he win? I would think since he didn’t move it for almost 2 years and I told him over and over to move it, that it is technically my property.

Asked on June 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) It is not technically your property. While there are ways to take over property abandoned on your land, you have to provide proper notice to the owner and comply with statutory requirements, which you  have not done; therefore, you did not take over ownership.
2) However, you are NOT responsible for it unless you specifically agreed to keep it safe *and* he paid or gave or promised you something in return for keeping it safe, thus creating a contractual obligation to take care of it. A property owner is NOT liable for damage to other person's property on his land unless the property owner was at fault in damaging it (e.g. drove his vehicle into it; didn't cut down a dead tree leaning over it, which fell on it; etc.) or, as stated, agreed contratually to protect the property. His property is HIS responsibility, not yours. Based on what you write, if he sues you, you would expect to win.


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