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  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    Default Adverse Possession in Orange County

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California. I own a 32 year old home in Orange County that I purchased 23 years ago. At the time I purchased it I was told that the previous owner and the neighbor behind me (who has since sold the house to someone else) had a dispute over the property boundary. It appears that the block wall was put up 18" onto his property effectively giving me an extra 1 1/2 feet of backyard. Since the wall has been there for 32 years isn't it true that the land now belongs to me? Or do I have to file something in court under the "adverse possession" statute? The current owner claims that she has a survey document from the previous owner showing the 18" of property to still be hers and that she can do anything she wants to that section of property. Recently, she hopped the fence (something I know has to be illegal) and put in a fence post in my backyard to use to tie off something in her yard. I'd just like to know what my rights are in this case.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Adverse Possession in Orange County

    until you sue to quiet title, the property is still hers. Hopping her fence is not illegal, if she is doing it.

    you may have a claim of adverse possession. You have been paying the taxes on that section of land, right?

    Oh, you haven't? Then you cannot claim title under adverse possession in California as that is one of the requirements to do so.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Adverse Possession in Orange County

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Just 2 points. First, the way I understand adverse possession and I believe you just clarified this for me is that I would have to file with the county the desire to pay taxes on this additional 18" of land for the next 5 years and at the end of 5 years file for "adverse possession" in court. Do I understand this correctly? Second, you're telling me she has the right to hop the fence any time she wants as long as she doesn't step past the 18" area and this would not be considered trespassing? This seems a little crazy to me. What if we had a dog back there who went after her? In any event, common sense has to dictate that there is no way she could have cemented in this pole without stepping onto my property and I would think if this were to ever go to court a judge would have to view it that way. I've put in many a fence post and was never able to complete the task by standing in a 18" circle. Any comments on this?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adverse Possession in Orange County

    =qhreggie;340218]Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Just 2 points. First, the way I understand adverse possession and I believe you just clarified this for me is that I would have to file with the county the desire to pay taxes on this additional 18" of land for the next 5 years and at the end of 5 years file for "adverse possession" in court. Do I understand this correctly?
    I loathe adverse possession laws and surely will not help you steal your neighbors property


    Second, you're telling me she has the right to hop the fence any time she wants as long as she doesn't step past the 18" area and this would not be considered trespassing? This seems a little crazy to me
    . why would it seem crazy for her to access her property? Remember, the wall is on her property therefore, it is hers actually. She can tear it down if she wants.

    What if we had a dog back there who went after her?
    then you would be at fault for not fencing in YOUR property which apparently stops 18 inches your side of the wall.

    In any event, common sense has to dictate that there is no way she could have cemented in this pole without stepping onto my property and I would think if this were to ever go to court a judge would have to view it that way.
    well, that would be one you would have to prove.

    I've put in many a fence post and was never able to complete the task by standing in a 18" circle. Any comments on this
    so call the police and report the trespass. With any luck she will sue you for trespass for all the times you walked to the block wall. Remember, that is her property and every time you walk within those 18 inches of the block wall, you are trespassing.

    do you really want to get into that game?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Adverse Possession in Orange County

    Of course I don't want to get into that game. I'm just simply wanting to find out what the rules of the game are. For the past 23 years this has never been an issue. I just figured I got to enjoy an extra 18" of backyard and never gave it a second thought. I realize you don't like Adverse Possession Laws so I understand your point. And no I don't see a need to pursue anything like this further all over a measly 18" of property. But, please at least agree with me that it was pretty darn brazen (if not downright rude) of her to come onto my side of the fence and do what she did without talking to me about it first. At least give me that. After all, what it really comes down to is common courtesy.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Adverse Possession in Orange County

    No, what it comes down to is property rights and as long as she was on her property, she did nothing wrong. If she did step onto your property, you have every right to be offended though.

    Don't forget the part about the dog and you allowing it onto her property. You will be liable if she were to be bitten. And yes, I understand it was hypothetical.


    Given the situation, it might be in your best interest to make friends with the neighbor. You are in the wrong here (at least by your info) so she could cause you problems about trespassing or even take the wall down. It appears she is content allowing you to use the 18 inches so I would look at that as a victory in itself. She does not have to be accepting of your use of that piece of property.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Adverse Possession in Orange County

    It's been nice chatting with you about this JK. I've owned a few different properties for years and have always gone out of my way to work with my neighbors. In almost every situation I've given more than my share to keep peace. In fact this very same neighbor once asked me to take out a tree because she believed the roots were disrupting her wall and she was concerned it would damage her pool. Even though I thought she was over-reacting I went ahead and did it anyway. I was just surprised that she would come into my backyard and do this without talking to me first. It may be legal - and according to you she was well within her rights to do so. But that still doesn't make it right. And there is a difference about what is right and what is legal. But enough on that. I did talk to her and she did apologize for not letting me know first. I am going to ask her for a copy of the survey showing the property boundaries just so I'll know for sure. Of course I'll offer to pay her for any costs she will incur to make me the copies. Up until now I only have her word and that of the previous owner regarding the situation with the wall. I did detect a little hostility from you regarding the subject of Adverse Possession. Evidently, you have a little history with that. I have no intention of suing anyone. All I was after was information so I can be better educated. Until today I didn't even know what Adverse Possession was. Anyway, thanks for the info. Take care.

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