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  1. #1

    Default Can a Neighbor Claim Land That I Have Been Living on for 25 Years

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Massachusetts


    A gentleman came to my door yesterday and told me that he was hired by my neighbor because she wanted to install a fence. We have been living here for 25 years. The surveyor returned today and has markers across the entire length of my backyard. There was a fence up when we bought our property and when she built her house about 12 years ago.
    Is it true that after 20 years we can file for a title? If you could direct me it would be greatly appreciated.

    Donna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Claim Land That I Have Been Living on for 25 Years

    "can we file for a title? "

    It's a lot more complicated than that. What you can do is to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit in Land Court or Superior Court against your neighbor, asking the court for "quiet title" on the land that you're trying to claim. The neighbor can also hire a lawyer to fight against your claim. Eventually, after a very long time and after a very large amount of money is funneled into lawyers' pockets, a judge will decide the matter.

    You might want to discuss the situation with a lawyer. Some questions that you will need to answer:

    Do you have any reason to believe that the survey markers are in the wrong place?

    Where was the fence that you referred to in relation to the current location of the survey markers? What happened to the fence?

    What specific use did you make of the area that you are referring to as your backyard? Did you plant shrubbery there? Pave a patio? etc.

    You may or may not be able to prevail in court but it will be a long, expensive process. Win or lose, you will make a life-long enemy of your neighbor. (I know this because my neighbors filed such a lawsuit against me. They did not win, and we are no longer on speaking terms.)

    One more thing. If the neighbors' land is registered land, then all bets are off. You cannot use adverse possession to claim registered land in Massachusetts.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Claim Land That I Have Been Living on for 25 Years

    Thanks Danny - doesn't sound too promising.
    We are seeing a lawyer this morning.
    The fence was right on what we were told was the property line by the previous owner.
    Oh my. We removed thirteen tree trunks - loomed, landscaped, planted flower beds and veg. gardens, installed a patio and fenced in the entire yard. I do have pictures of this work being done over the years. I appreciate your response. Thanks again.
    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Claim Land That I Have Been Living on for 25 Years

    Actually, the fact that you have done all that work strengthens your position.

    I assume that your lawyer will tell you this, but you should also think about whether you could work out something with the neighbor without dragging the whole business into court. For example, maybe the neighbor would be willing to rent you the land in question. It would cost you some extra bucks, but in the long run it would be cheaper than paying for dueling lawyers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Claim Land That I Have Been Living on for 25 Years

    But renting would be seen as permissive use, which is revocable at any time.

    If you wish to own the land, try to come to an agreement about purchasing the land. Similar to what Danny stated, purchasing land would cost some money, but would be a fraction of the cost of going to court.

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