This is done all of the time. Skip all of the advice about going to an
attorney. Way too expensive. Most LGA's (Local Government Agencies) have a
lot line adjustment procedure in place. Go to your LGA's Planning or Zoning
department. The typical requirements would be that you get a surveyor to
map the houses so setback requirements can be verified. You file your
application, with the survey, and after approval your surveyor will draw the
necessary plats, write a new legal description etc. Your local title
company will record the documents.
HOWEVER, as stated above, a revocable or irrevocable easement from your
neighbor for specified uses would be a lot simpler and more economical.
You think an attorney is expensive? If someone who, by all
appearances, hasn't the first clue on how to proceed on this tries to
do this himself, the money he should have spent on an attorney will
look cheap. Without someone to make sure his interests are
represented, he could easily wind up screwed. For example, who's
gonna draw up the contract? Suppose he leaves it to the neighbor who
draws up some one sided piece of crap and takes his money, with no
escrow, etc? Then he'll be running to the lawyer when it's too late.
I'm always in favor of people doing whatever they feel comfortable
with and have the necessary knowledge to do. But this doesn't sound
like one of them for the poster.
Wrong! This is not a DIY project for either the seller or the buyer.
I have done over 300 Lot Line Adjustments for clients. (Licensed Land
Surveyor and Registered Civil Engineer)
The jurisdictions in which I have performed these adjustments all require
proper platting, measurements, descriptions, stake out on the ground, etc.
In other words there are enough protections. If something goes wrong the
client simply sues the Engineer/Surveyor just as he would sue his lawyer.
While I have not worked in every state of the union, I believe that the
majority of states use title companies to guarantee transfer and ownership
and not lawyers. I think Louisiana is an exception.
As an example, most agencies required a description and plat of each
property before the transfer, after the transfer and a separate description
of the transfer. That is 5 plats and legal descriptions total.
In California, if this client were to go to a lawyer, he would pay about $
150 for the advice of "go hire a Land Surveyor". Been there, done that.
You completely avoided the central issue. If someone doesn't have a
clue about how this transaction should take place, they are asking for
trouble if they don't have someone looking out for THEIR interests.
You seem to think proper plating, surveying, provide all the
protection he needs. I gave you a scenario where at the start of
this, the neighbor crafts a purchase contract all favorable to him.
Is the surveyor or title agency going to solve that?
Suppose the neighbor drafts a contract that says $10,000 is due him
right now upon signing the contract, before anything is done, let
alone title is transfered. Let's assume the buyer hasn't even heard
of the word escrow. Who's gonna look out for him on day 1? How
about if the seller goes bankrupt before the transfer is completed and
there was no escrow because he signed a contract all favorable to the
To put that $10K in perspective, my lawyer (in upstate NY) charged a flat
$400 for my house purchase. It seems a pittance compared to $10K, in return
for knowing you've minimized or eliminated the possibility of nightmares
Most buyers want/get a survey. They will find markers or have them
installed at survey. Upon noticing your fence is 10 ft inside their
property they are likely to remove it.You then wasted time and money.
Instead of insisting the poster become a squatter why not have him be
honest and do the right thing
Oh, BS, as usual. It is a case by case thing. In the case of a recorded
subdivision, they often accept the recorded plat as a valid description of
the property they have a security interest in. Been that way on deals I have
been involved with in several states.
Not that a survey is a bad thing, mind you, especially if you live in an
area that has dispensed with abstracts. One of these days, I'll bother to
get a survey on this place. In the meantime, having assisted in surveys as a
kid, my own quick'n' dirty measures off the easily found benchmark in the
back yard agreed with the deed, so I sleep easy.
Yes, in some cases a photo copy of the last one that is never checked for
accuracy. Eventually it would come back to bite you in the ass though, but
if there are no recorded changes you may slip it by.
1) The possession has to be truly adverse. That is, both parties must know
about it, disagree about it, and disagree over a seven year period (or
whatever the statute of limitations in that state).
2) The adverse possessor also has to pay the taxes for the same duration
This provision is not impossible to meet if the properties were mis-measured
to begin with (e.g., very common. Somebody buys the west 50 feet of the
Jones property. Later somebody buys the east 50 feet of the Jones property.
One day they discover that there is only 98 feet total. They argue over the
2 feet. The tax assessor thought there were two 50 foot parcels and taxes
accordingly. Both parties are paying taxes on the same 2 feet).
3) After meeting the above, you still have to go to court through a "Quiet
Title" procedure. Expensive.
Of course if instead of "Adverse Possession", you simply meant
"Acquiescence" those standards are easier to meet.
LOL. Yes, I've never heard that there was any requirement for both
parties in an adverse possession to know about it and continously
disagree about it. AFAIK, the possessor has to make use of the
property as if it were his own, ie maintaining it, or occupying it,
and it has to be obvious to anyone that cared to look. But, I've
never heard of any reqt of direct contact. In fact, in the typical
adverse possession case, the parties are not in contact, because if
they were, there are simple legal steps the owner could take to
prevent the adverse possession. Therefore, the most common thing is
for the parties to not have contact.
Now this is a good example of why telling a newbie that he should go
about buying a piece of his neighbor's land without a lawyer is bad
advice. A lawyer knows the law, has experience doing these
transactions and is there to protect your interests and make sure you
don't get screwed.
I guess you didn't want to read down to the first paragraph of your above
"A trespasser is entitled to legal ownership of property if his occupation
of the property is hostile, actual, open and notorious,
exclusive and continuous for a period of years set by state statute."
What part of "hostile, open and notorious" make you think that there is no
requirement that both parties must know and disagree about the trespass?
Get your money back on your law classes!!
It's not up to us to show you that the requirements of hostile, open,
and notorious extend to mean that there must be communication between
the parties. It's up to you to show that it does, because your are
the one making the claim. A credible link, other than your own
opinion, would be a good start.
You continue to make a good case as to how those that seek to do their
own lawyering can get into trouble. You are trying to interpret what
"open, hostile, and notorious" means, without knowing what these mean
in the legal context, or case law. In particular, you seem to think
hostile means that the parties must be fewding and in contact with one
another. In reality, it has a specific legal meaning, which is very
different from what you think it means:
Hostile - Hostility exists where a person possesses the land of
another intending to hold to a particular recognizable boundary
regardless of the true boundary line. That is, possession is "hostile"
to the title owner's interest in the property. If possession was not
hostile, it may still be possible to advance a claim of ownership
under a theory of "acquiescence". You cannot claim "adverse
possession" if you are engaged in the permissive use of somebody
Open & Notorious - You engage in acts of possession consistent with
the property at issue in a manner which was capable of being seen.
(This does not mean that you must have been observed in your acts of
ownership but, had the actual owner or members of the public been in a
position to see you, your acts must have been observeable). You need
not use the property in a manner that exceeds that which would be
expected of the actual owner - that is, it may be possible to claim
adverse possession of a vacation property on the basis of use only
during the vacation season, or to claim adverse possession of a vacant
parcel of land by engaging in typical acts of maintenance for the
No where does this say or even come close to implying that there has
to be any contact between the parties at all. Hostile simply means
that your possession must be hostile to the owners interest. If you
have any credible links that say otherwise, please post. And if you
were familiar at all with adverse possession, you would know that in
many cases, there is never any contact at all between the parties.
Because if there is contact and the owner by title has just a glimmer
of intelligence, he will take the necessary steps to avoid the adverse
possession. Except, perhaps if he chooses to be his own lawyer and
I've given expert testimony in over a dozen cases regarding adverse
posession. Admitedly, California only. All of the cases, where defendant
was an absentee owner, and had no knowledge of the trespass, were dismissed.
One defendant moved to Hawaii for 12 years. He won his case. Granted,
these were not appealed to a higher court. Acquiescense or easement through
use probably would have been the winning argument.
I want to apologize. Let's back up to the very top of the discussion. I
meant to say that most agencies tightly regulate (Subdivision Acts, etc.)
boundary creations and transfers. The OP should go to his agency and follow
their approval procedures. Having done so, and having the boundary shift
approved, then, YES, YES, YES, take the transfer either to your attorney or
to your title company, whichever applies in your state.
Simply trying to grab the land is morally reprehensible. I think we all
agree on that.
What a maroon.
"Hostile, open and notorious" are defined in English common law cases
stretching back nearly a thousand years, and in searate lines of case law
in 49 US states after 1789.
Many states have decided to codify by egislation ow adverse possession
Many more have not.
To think, as Ivan does, that a "Black's Law Dctionary" type definition
of"adverse possession" is all th OP needs is an amazing dislay of
ignorance and ignorance.
People relying upon olks like Ivan for legal advice have helped make
me a comfortable lving as a lawyer over the years.
Keep it up Ivan! You go, guy. And I hope lots of folks take
your expert legal advice posted in a Usenet forum.
Heh, heh, heh.
Which part of that do you think imparts such a requirement?
"Hostile" means, depending on the state, one of:
(1) The trespasser be aware he is trespassing, or
(2) The trespasser occupy the land. It doesn't matter if he knows
that he is trespassing, or
(3) The trespasser must NOT know he is trespassing.
The second meaning is the one used in the majority of states. Not
nothing in any of these depends on the property owner being aware of the
How about "open and notorious". That simply means that the trespass
must be readily apparent to anyone who cares to investigate. There is
no requirement that the owner ACTUALLY investigate and/or notice the
So, putting this all together, we've got:
(1) The property owner does not have to know about the trespass. The
trespass merely must be done in a way that makes it so the owner could
easily know if he wished to check, and
(2) In most states, the trespasser does not have to know he is
trespassing. Only in the states that follow the first definition of
"hostile" must he know. That is 11 states.
In fact, in 3 states, the trespasser must NOT know he is trespassing.
And if you go check the case law, you'll find that all the cases support
Apparently, judges don't have your incredible gift of being able to look
at a phrase that consists of technical legal terms like "hostile, open
and notorious" and then make a half-assed guess at what they mean based
on a vague approximation of their ordinary English meanings.
Lots in my neighborhood are 60x100 (6000 sq feet) and go for about
I'd sell my neighbor 100 sq feet for about $8,000 dollars and he pay
all the costs..
I know that is kind of high, but the smaller size makes it much more
expensive, plus it does devalue my home by about that much.
I'm dead serious on this.
It does depend upon location (doesn't it always?) and bits of land can be
expensive. Our condo association wants to buy 125 sq.ft. of land next to
the condo building to add porches. It would take land from a designated
pedestrian walkway. The owner is asking $14K based upon recent lot prices.
Unfortunately, according to the tax records for lots and buildings in the
area, that's a fair price. :(
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