Adverse Possession – Is this my land or yours neighbor?

You recently bought your home, you’re excited, unpacked, and are ready to meet your new neighbors. Everything seems to be going great until your next door neighbor tells you that your fence is on his land, really into his land

Boundary disputes such as these happen more frequently than you think. An error in the chain of title going back 80 years or a misplaced fence 15 years ago can create a cloud, or doubt, on your ownership rights to that strip your neighbor now claims. 

The type of remedies you may have depend on what kind of title you received when you acquired your home or investment property. If you received title via Quit Claim Deed, the cloud baggage that came with the former owner is now your cloud baggage. If you received a Warranty Deed, and a title insurance policy under it, you or your seller paid for an insurance company to undertake and secure your title as described in the policy or to pay you due to the loss of ownership rights.

If and when your neighbor has presented you with his ownership claims, it is important that you do the following things: 1) do not accept his claim orally or in writing, 2) contact a survey company to verify your boundary description, 3) review your title insurance policy and inform the title closing company of your neighbor’s statements, 4) if you did not have title insurance, order a root title search from a local title insurance or title search company, 5) do not agree to move fences, other monuments, or structures on the boundary lines as you understand them to be, 6) contact a real estate attorney today to assess your ownership rights.

Your neighbor may be basing his claim on the location of a fence, his own legal description, adverse possession (also known as squatters’ rights), or gift presumptions. Our attorneys have a decade of experience assessing the validity and viability of such un-neighborly claims and are here to educate you about your property rights. 

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