Whatare the stipulations for taking over land once it has been abandoned?

UPDATED: May 6, 2011

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Whatare the stipulations for taking over land once it has been abandoned?

We have been mowing and landscaping about 30 ft of our neighbors land for 10 years. We thought that we owned the property but a recent survey showed we don’t. Are we eligible to file for land abandoment? If not, then what are our other options (i.e. a privacy fence and will they have to pay half of it)?

Asked on May 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, in Ohio, to gain title to someone else's land by "adverse possession" (which is what you mean by "land abandonment"), you have to be openly occupying the land, with intention to claim it (and/or believing it's already yours) for 21 years; therefore, you are less than half-way there.

You certainly have the right to put up a privacy fence as long as you respect the boundaries, but you have not legal right or way to make your neighbors pay for half of it. You can obviously discuss sharing the cost of a fence with them, but it's their choice; they have a right to say "no" and not pay for a fence, in which case the ball is back in your court as to whether to pay for it yourself.

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