Unclaimed land driveway

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Unclaimed land driveway

There is a house for sale that I am interested in purchasing. The owner just told me that the driveway right beside the house isn’t part of the property and is not on the survey of the house. He purchased the property 2 years ago from an old woman who lived there for 65 years. He says that he tried to find the records to who owns that land but had no luck. Have you heard of his before and would it be an optimistic result in annexing the driveway to the property lines if I purchase it now? The house beside it has their own driveway and it is not theirs.

Asked on February 6, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can't just "annex" land. To get land by "adverse possession" (the closest thing to "annexing" it) in your state:
1) You must *openly* occupy it and use it as if it is your land, so it is clear to anyone looking or paying attention that you are claiming it;
2) For at least 10 years;
3) The possession must exclusive (no one else, including the land's owner, has possession and use) and continuous (no breaks or interruptions) for  the 10-year period.
4) The possession must be "hostile" to the actual landowner's claim--if the owner gave you permission, you cannot claim the land.
If ALL these criteria are met, you can then bring a legal action (after 10 years!) to have a court award you the land by adverse possession.


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