A claim of adverse possession or boundary dispute can arise when one landowner claims he has acquired ownership of a portion of your real property based on his continuous, exclusive and uninterrupted use for a period of fifteen (15) years. Whether you are the person claiming title by adverse possession, confronting a boundary dispute claim, you need a real estate attorney who has the experience and understanding of the law to represent you fully and to follow the matter to its resolution whether it be by trial or settlement.
Adverse possession is the doctrine whereby if one has been in possession of land openly, notoriously, continuously, exclusively, adversely and under a claim of right for an interrupted period of 15 years, a claim for the title to the land or an easement upon may exist. This claim has to be pursued in court as a quiet title action. If the action is uncontested, it may not be difficult to prevail, but still the judge must be convinced. If the claim is contested then will be harder to prove. The burden of proof is on the claimant by clear and convincing evidence which is a much higher level than in an ordinary civil case but slightly less than beyond a reasonable doubt. There may be survey issues involved, locating old monuments to determine property lines, title search questions and issues of exclusivity and consent. The adversity has to be proved as to the owner of the property claimed, not the entire world. It takes experience to recognize a good case and to recognize when a case should not be contested. Easement law is also involved because not every use will ripen into title being awarded to the claimant.
Not all claims concerning ownership of land evolve into a case of adverse possession. A disagreement with a neighbor over the true metes and bounds of the adjoining properties is a more common issue. Because the location of boundaries is a significant part of the value of your real property, the assistance of counsel in these matters is advisable.
For a Free consultation on an adverse possession claim or boundary dispute, contact Simon Sumberg at (203) 853-9420