We have just closed on a home in Kansas. There is an old unmaintained fence on our property. The legal survey states the old fence is over 17' away from the property line. Our neighbor has sent us a letter, from his attorney, stating he believes the land up to the fence, not the legal property line, belongs to him. He believes this because a (non-legal) survey was done incorrectly in previous years (since 2001).
The lawyer mentioned in the letter "adverse possession" and that the old fence had been up for over 15 years. My understanding is this man has only owned the property for a short period of time (less than 2 years).
The Kansas Statute States: "No action shall be maintained against any person for the recovery of real property who has been in open, exclusive and continuous possession of such real property, either under a claim knowingly adverse or under a belief of ownership, for a period of fifteen (15) years."
My question is, can I take this literally, in that this neighbor will have had to own the property 15 years? Or is it just that everyone who's owned both properties has to be under the assumption that the land has belonged to his side for the last 15 years? We're going to acquire our own Real Estate Attorney soon. However, I just wanted to hear others thoughts and insight. Thanks!