Actions of a prior owner

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This is probably a legal question but I hope someone has delt with a similar problem. I bought a house and the survey showed that a shed with concrete pad was over the back line on anouther lot. (woods and stream behind my lot).
The owner of the property is now telling me to remove the shed. I did not put it their but have been using it and cutting the grass to the boundries that the previous owner had used. This is 6 or 7 years after I purchased the house, Anyone have a similar condition?
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That is called Adverse Possesion. Laws vary state to state and can need 5 to 20 years to justify a claim. It will be very expensive to fight in court. If you want an enemy do nothing and you may find any part of your property over the line cut down, yes your shed cut in half with a chain saw. I cut my neighbors fence down that way. If you want to be friends see if they will let you keep it there if you release them from Easement and Adverse Possesion claims in writing, esentialy they give you permission to use it till the shed is old and is torn down. You can " tack" on the previous owners time to make your Adverse Possesion claim. But is it worth it. Is it worth having a true enemy as a neighbor, plus what is the total value of the land you posess. It could cost 10000 $ to fight, and you may loose, more than money. If you want a friend , work out a deal. If you dont care about it, it could cost you money , agravation, friends , and the enjoyment of your home. I know , my neighbor is pulling that shit on me. It is not woth fighting unless it is worth many times more than you will loose. Talk to them and try to be friends and work it out.
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m Ransley wrote:

I think you are absolutely on the mark with your thinking, and I reached the same conclusion over a similar situation myself this spring.
A home "on the other side of the block" was sold the beginning of last year. The lot that home is on shares a side border with our lot for about 75 feet. I'd introduced myself to the new owners when I first saw them and said "Hi" to them on subsequent occassions, but they didn't seem inclined to "schmooze", so I gave them their space.
Last summer the new neighbors hired landscapers to do some pretty heavy duty modifications to their back yard which included excavating what I suspected was about 5 feet into our lot, building a stone retaining wall there and planting shrubs. They didn't ask permission before they did that. We weren't using that land for anything, nor could I forsee ever doing so, since the lay of the land makes that part of our property more naturally "fit" the new neighbor's site.
But, my memory of just where the common border actually was had dimmed in the 20 years we'd lived in our home, and I didn't want to make a fool of myself by bringing a question of encroachment up to the new neighbors and then finding out I was wrong. I hired a surveyor who staked out our lot and I took a number of photographs of the stakes from various angles.
The surveyor's work confirmed what I thought, the new neighbors had carved off about 400 square feet of our lot for themselves and made significant changes and permenant additions to it which made it appear to be "part of their yard".
They would have had to have been blind to not notice the dayglow orange stakes plunked down in "their" new lawn, but they just left them in place and didn't bring it up with me.
I decided that a letter to them was in order and wrote one, explaining what they'd done and offering to sell them the land they grabbed for it's proportional tax accessed value. (about $6,000, land is pretty dear where we live.) I added that if they didn't want to buy the land from us then perhaps they could pay a lawyer to draw up some kind of contract between us "renting" them the land they were using for just the proportional property taxes we're paying on it, about $80 a year.
I didn't receive an answer to my letter and a couple of months later I saw the husband in his yard and asked him if he'd received it. He said he had, but he couldn't respond until he got a survey of his own. I knew right then that he was just an asshole who figured that if we weren't using the land he could, and without even having the class to take care of the property taxes on it.
I checked with a real estate lawyer in my Rotary Club who told me essentially what you said, we could start a feud and spend tens of thousands on lawyers and surveyor's witness fees, which would be a lot more than the piddling amount we are paying in property taxes on the land they are using. I also found out that our property is what's known as "Registered Land" here in Taxachusetts, which is a higher class of title than usual,making it pretty near impossible to grab by adverse possession. So, future owners of our home can still take up the matter themselves if they want.
I briefly fantasized about spending some money and having a crummmy looking fence erected down the property line, which would have chopped off the land they'd improved and made my point very clear, but then I had an epiphany and decided to "put it away" rather than have to occasionally lock eyes with those folks and wonder what retribution they might decide to take someday.
I feel better for dropping the matter, and the neighbors and I still can say, "Hi", to each other, but still little more than that. (But, when they turn away I can't help myself from "giving them the bird" behind their backs and muttering, "Asshole".)
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Didn't they need some kind of permit to put up the retaining wall? A permit would not have been granted if it encroached on your land. You might can have the city order their wall torn down, at little or no cost to you -- the dispute will be between them and the city, and you will just be an interested 3rd party.
Best regards, Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

That retaining wall is a little under 4 feet in height, and you don't need a building permit to erect stone walls less than 5 feet in height in our town, according to the chief building inspector.
They also plunked down one of those prefab garden sheds with it's back side right on the property line. The town code doesn't allow that, those sheds have to be 5 feet in from side and back lines.

I suppose I could, over the shed location at least, but that would still start a feud, as they'd be sure to realize who complained about their shed being too close to the line. I'm pretty sure of that because the shed can't be seen from the street and also because I mentioned its nonconforming location in that letter I sent to them. I wrote that they could "make an honest shed out of it" by buying that strip of land I was offering to sell them. So, they know that I am aware of the shed location transgression, and who else would have any reason to complain?
I prefer to stop where I decided to and think of it as "noblesse oblige" (used in its ironic sense.) There are many more important things to try and put right in this screwed up world of ours.

Likewise,
Jeff
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Well Jeff Wisnia when the lady informed me of her adverse possesion desires I got a bottle of whiskey, a chainsaw, and cut down everything on my property. A new Neighbor they are? what an ass he is. To me it is theft. You can offer them a letter that allows them to use it without Adverse Possesion, without Easements and break the chain they started. Some states are 5 yrs, Mine Indiana is 10. some are 20. If my neighbor did that after just moving in, after failing in peacefull talk out would come Mr Beam and a Bulldoser. Call me I will do it for the fun of it, you buy the booze. But your case is different, they just took your land from you, in front of you, saying in essence F.U. In that position them being new to the area . Well in the old days they shot horse and land thieves. Yes It is messy arguing with someone living next door. But your case of your neighbor from what I know is so blatelantly wrong I personaly would take action. How you do it, well the first step failed, they ignored you. Talk to an atty, the city permit, and bldg comissioner good luck, you are paying the taxes, and insurance, and you paid for it.
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m Ransley wrote:

I don't need the booze, but it looks to me like theft. Plain and simple. How is it different than hitching up a tow truck to your $6,000 car and hauling it away? How about a "No Trespassing" sign right in the middle of his "improvements" on your land? I don't like thieves or cheats.
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buy a house where part of the land was appropriated by a neighbor? If you failed to disclose that to a buyer, you could be held liable.
I would bite the bullet and have them either buy the land or restore it to the way it was.
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toller wrote:

I've not failed to think about that one, but I've decided that I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, 'cause that's when we won't have to leave near those neighbors any more.<G>.
Of course I'd disclose the situation to our real estate agent right up front if and when we ever want to sell the place. Because of the contours of the land it is extremely unlikely that a future purchaser would think of it as a useful part of their purchase, so there's a good chance it wouldn't turn off a prospective purchaser too much.
I did send my original letter to "the asshole" via certified mail return receipt, and I'll ping him with similarly sent polite reminders every couple of years, and keep them on file, for good measure.
I suppose though, that the way things are going re liability lawsuits these days, if some trespasser fell off that 4 foot high retaining wall the neighbors erected and broke his neck they might come after us over it, but OTOH our property insurance and umbrella coverage should apply since it's on "our land", 'eh?

near zero chance of recovering my own legal expenses from the encroacher in this matter. I long ago learned not to confuse the law with justice.
I'm only in it $1,100 for the survey so far, but OTOH that showed me that similar undeveloped land on the other side of our lot on which our teen aged son and his friends had built a firepit where they'd sometimes hang out around a small bonfire, really belonged to us, and not as I had mistakenly assumed, to someone else.<G>
Jeff
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Get another lawyer. And another and another until you get someone that is indignant that you are being taken advantage of.
Pj
On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 15:49:11 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

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"Jeff Wisnia"

already done the survey, the wall is on your land, so just tell him if he doesn't remove it within 30 days, you will remove it. Unless there is some dispute about where the property boundary is, I see no question of law here, and he has zero recourse if you remove the wall on your own property. Then bill your neighbor the cost of demolition, but don't expect to collect.
If you don't care about it affecting the future value of your property, and you don't mind the wall being there, then don't bother. But I don't believe a defense of your property boundaries against encroachment would take an expensive legal battle, if the facts are as you state.
Will
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Jeff, court costs alot you are right, but it is your land, put up a cheap fence or destroy his crap if you get no agreement. So if I move next to you you would let me take the other side of your property?
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m Ransley wrote:

Well, there are limits to everything, and a strip of land that's less than 1% of the area of my lot in a location which I couldn't envision myself or a future owner of our home ever using anyway, just isn't worth getting my pantyhose in knots over.
If you moved in on the other side of me and encroached onto areas I'd landscaped and taken care of over the years that'd be an entirely different matter. But in relationship to my situation with the "new neighbors" the words "Dog in the manger" would probably apply.
Thinking about my situation in retrospect, I was probably cought up in a self-righteous frenzy thinking I could get those folks to apologize and "do the right thing". They didn't rise to the bait, and I've got other fish to fry.
-------------------------------------------
But, I'm a little suprised to hear your reply above, considering that my first post to this thread was my long winded way of saying that I agreed with what you had just said, namely:
*****
Is it worth having a true enemy as a neighbor, plus what is the total value of the land you posess. It could cost 10000 $ to fight, and you may loose, more than money.
*****
Did I misread your meaning there?
Jeff
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I was first responding to the other post about the shed up for 6 yrs. His case may have the minimum legal time limit requred by that state I was kidding about moving in next door.
But a new neighbor , the one of yours is an easy fight since no time has elapsed and time is what it is about in a claim,. But they are making one, they are making an established exclusive, complete, actual, open , obvious , visible,notorious , hostile , and continuous uniterupted possesion of a portion of your land. These definitions define Adverse Possesion. It is theft in my mind, open, plain as day they are saying FU Jeff, it is ours now . And yes that is what they are saying FU. A good neighbor he is not, not a friend, nothing. I bet you dont ever enjoy each others company. The longer you wait the better their claim is, and yes you will have trouble selling unless you just give up and turn over Quiet Title to that claimed portion. And yes it will cost you 500 mimimum to attorneys fees to give away what you paid for and pay taxes on. I am spending 10000 for 5000 in land to a bitch that thought she could sweet talk me to leave the fence. For me it is the principle of it all. Theft, a thing I do not condone. The man with the shed his case is different, and seems to be more of a mistake than the obvious theft being done on you. It is your property, you can simply bulldose the crap and or put up a cheap fence. Or just put up a fence and start using the police to file trespass charges. The charges are valid and inforceable by the police. If litigation is filed, they will have no claim as it will be a frivilous suit. You can recover court costs and damages if they file now and the case is baseless . There claim is today baseless. If you wait the legal time limit you will have lost that advantage. Time is the key here. without the minimum time required by law to develop Adverse Possesion they have NO CASE... That is why you should act now. The guy with the shed said maybe 6 yrs. Well some states allow 5, some need a minimum of 20. Your case of 1 yr is running fast, you are allowing them to openly steal your land. As I said I would give them 1 week to accept you gave permission and they have no Adverse Possesion or Prescriptive Easement rights, but that they have your Permission to use it. Or I would { and did w/ Mr Beam } destroy it and errect a fence. You are dealing with the scum of the land and the scum with your land. Treat him for what he is a trespassing ,crooked, lowlife, thieving son of a bitch. If it were me id call a demolitiion man with a bulldozer to come out at 8 am sunday and blast some rock and roll and have a beer, while its being destroyed , but I like a good FU on anyone that tries to rip me off. Pay a lawyer ? you dont have to, plus it will cost to much. Do it your self, and enjoy, remember, your neighbor is stealing from you and laughing as he is doing it.
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Im not aware of what "registerd land " is and your neighbor probably is not as well. That may change things in your favor to be at ease. Here we dont have that, or I dont. But you need to research it thoroughly and be sure before you let your guard down. I just know adverse possesion will take what you owned. good luck
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m Ransley wrote:

Well, guess what, it looks like I haven't been "smoking the drapes" over going by what several folks have been telling me about "Registered Land" here in Massachusetts. The last paragraph on this page says it - No takeover by adverse possession...
http://www.tbhmr.com/Publications/registeredlandownerrelief.htm
Jeff (Jumping around doing his annoying "Toldjaso Dance"...)
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But can they aquire prescriptive Easment Rights, that is something you do not want also. They may never own it but you pay the taxes and they get to use it for free as their own. At least that could be put in your letter, if they agree and sign a letter stating you give permission for them to use it it breaks the chain. But for me personaly I would not want that person on my land. Whos insurance covers an accident? If he is crooked , which seems obvious he could blame any accident anywhere on your side and try to collect, thereby screwing your future rates and coverage. What will your insurance co do about future coverage. It realy seems he should go.....
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Ransley) writes:
| But can they aquire prescriptive Easment Rights, that is something you | do not want also.
That's a good question (and one I've been wondering about). Although the certificate of title for Massachusetts registered land is supposed to be the absolute authority wrt both ownership and encumbrances, and while adverse possession is specifically excluded, I've not had a good answer about prescriptive easments (which would presumably have to be recorded at some point?). I had previously assumed that protection from the adverse possession process implicitly protected from "similar" types of easement ripening (though perhaps not from easements of necessity or such) but now I'm not so sure...
                Dan Lanciani                 ddl@danlan.*com
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Thank you for posting that and eliminating the Urban Myth of adverse possession. It at least 49 of the 50 states adverse possession does not apply to tracted land, LA may be an exception as they are based on Frenchie laws.
Colbyt
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

stone retaining wall and landscaping? Put an add in a local small print paper for free landscaping. Put a small sign saying the same in your yard just before the paper add hits. That ought to force his hand one way or the other before the scavengers get there. If the stuff is truly on the wrong side of the fence it should be legal.
I have a neighbor who's unoccupied dog house sits on a couple of feet of my yard. I thought about moving it a number of times, but never had.
But on the flip side, behind my lot is a old alley that was abandon. I have been taking care of the old alley strip for 20 years, but technically it not on my original lot plot. I figure i will mow it and use it until someone tells me different. I suppose i could make a case for adverse possession from the city, but then i would just have to pay more taxes.
Bob
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