Neighbors, Fences, and Adverse Possession
Over seven (7) years ago, I installed a fence that is on a portion of my neighbor’s yard. Is it now my property?
We have been asked this and similar questions regarding adverse possession and boundary disputes. There typically is not an easy answer. There are specific requirements for claiming ownership of another’s property including, in some cases, filing a “return” with the property appraiser office and paying real estate taxes on the real property you are claiming to own. Additionally, as the doctrine states, the claimed ownership must be adverse. For example, if your neighbor has given you permission to install the fence, you would not be adversely possessing that property. In some cases, a claim for adverse possession may fail, but the claimant may be able to prevail on another type of theory to include such property as his or her own based on boundary theories including boundary by acquiescence or boundary by agreement. If the issue arises, you need to seek legal advice to make sure that your property rights are protected.