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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Default Adverse Possession in New Jersey

    I recently purchased vacant land at the rear of my property.

    The problem is that the parcel is half behind my property and half behind my neighbor. Before the purchase, I approached my neighbor to see if they wanted half.(Another relevant fact is they have encroached upon approx. 25% of the land, the balance is wooded. The previous neighbor put a fence on the encroached portion about 5 years ago.) They said yes, but when it was time to actually present a bid, they backed out as they felt why pay for something they have for free.Then their attorney contacted mine and said if I purchased the land, they would file an Adverse Possession lawsuit(they purchased their property in 2002).

    After the closing, I offered to sell them half the parcel at my cost and the additional cost of the subdivision in order to alleviate any problems with my neighbor. Again, their response was that I stole their land,I should pay half the subdivision costs or they would file an Adverse Possession lawsuit.

    In order to save court costs, I told them I would share 50% of the subdivision costs,but they still have to pay half of all my out of pocket costs,real estate taxes and finance charges. Again, no response for 2 weeks.

    My attorney allways likes to try to settle out of court but my feeling is to file for ejection with the courts as they seem quite unstable.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Adverse Possession Action in New Jersey

    I think you should have your situation reviewed by a real estate litigator in your state. Real estate lawyers do tend to be more settlement oriented as a whole. But a real estate lawyer with a litigation focus is likely to give you a more realistic assessment of the pros and cons of litigation, and the probability of success.

    The fact that your neighbor initially said "yes" when approached about buying the land is something that should weigh in your favor, given that it suggests that they did not actually believe that they owned the land. (Of course, they may now deny having made such a statement.)

    It is my understanding that the statute of limitations in New Jersey to establish adverse possession is ordinarily 30 years. Even giving all appropriate due to "tacking" (a principle by which the prior owner's use of the land can be considered toward that period, if part of a continuous adverse possession of the land), three years of ownership and a five-year-old fence wouldn't satisfy that requirement.

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