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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Adverse Possession with New Owners of "Neglected" Property

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: NEW YORK
    Hi, As my friend and I were doing research on the local tax maps, we each found a piece of property that we would like to purchase. Mine is a couple doors down and I found that it is Railroad owned and have contacted them. The property is adjacent to a defunct railroad roadbed that is in proceedings for abandonment. It was apparently purchased as a separate parcel by the RR over a hundred years ago to provide an avenue for access to a built-up section of problematic roadbed in the event they needed to bring in equipment. The property was apparently forgotten about by RR "A" when the rest of the roadbed was sold to RR "B" twenty years before abandonment, and therefore remains in the original RR's property inventory. There is a beat-up, but possibly savable garage/shed on the property . I have contacted the RR and they are looking into the matter for a possible sale to me. The question is that the woman and her husband who owned the house across the street had been using that garage for many years - whether through a lease with the RR, or possibly they just took it upon themselves to use it as it was there and empty, and directly across from their home. She and her husband have both been deceased for at least two years, and it seems her son has inherited the home. He now continues to use the garage, although he has not done any repairs - as a matter of fact, I have had the D.E.C. there recently because he uses the lot for a dump and has been burning the plastic insulation off of wires he scavenges to scrap. Would the lease have "died" with the parents (if there was one) ????? Also, would he have any right to claim adverse possession since even though his parents used it for many years, although he is their heir, he is not "them" ??? I believe adverse possession claims must have been utilizing the land for a minimum of ten years in NY. (he has only personally lived there for 2-3 years)

    The other property lies behind my friends property, and also adjacent to property owned by a man using the parcel in question. (whom we are quite certain knows it is not legally his). This may be confusing, so please bear with me! The property according to the town isn't even on the tax rolls and has been a mystery to the tax assessor for the last twenty years, it does however seem to show it was last deeded to the man whom previously owned my friends land (who claimed he didn't still own the parcel in question to his knowledge). The neighbor, though using the property for recreation purposes for at least ten years has not made an attempt to gain ownership through outright purchase or adverse possession (which, if I understand correctly, he would have a good chance to be successful if he can prove he thought it was his) The real question is that if the parcel can be purchased by my friend (from the last deeded owner), or have it deeded to him through the town by a purchase of "abandoned land"??? (there are no back taxes as it has been off of the tax rolls) Would the man utilizing it still be able to claim adverse possession or would his "ten year possession time" start all over as it has a new legal owner, and he then could be kicked out? This could involve both properties we want if we take legal deeded possession before either would attempt to acquire the properties through adverse possession.... Ok, Quite a mouth full. Thanks for any input!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Adverse Possession with New Owners of "Neglected" Property

    Railroad title issues are a subject unto themselves for experts to resolve.

    You may find that the RR will be happy to "sell" you the parcel but it will be a quit claim deed (search here or google it) without a current survey. That's fairly meaningless. You need some kind of a general warranty deed at the least. That is likely where the RR will flunk.

    As for AP claims against railroads, the general thinking is that AP is not possible against a railroad but I have personally seen it happen.

    If you want to pursue either of your objects, be aware that some people make a business of this, but they are all sharp title people and know all of the angles of the law. They also know how much to risk from a real estate standpoint. If you do not have all of this experience and expertise, you will probably not find it here, and you may be putting funds at high risk.

    Good luck!

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