I own a vacant piece of land with an encroachment of a vacant shack from the adjacent parcel. I worked with the owner for seven years to remove it or sell me his parcel to no avail. I did not file a claim in court hoping we could work something out. Now unbeknownst to me he has sold it. Is there a statute of limitations on an encroachment? Did I lose my right after 7 years or does the clock reset now that there is a new owner?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Based on your information, you still retain ownership of the land located underneath the offending shack. Since you notified the prior owner that he/she did not have permission to keep the shack there, a claim of adverse possession cannot stand - provided you follow up on the matter and have the shack removed. New ownership does not change your rights, but you will want to notify the new owner that the shack is located on your property. Such notice will prevent the new owner from claiming ownership of the underlying land, or claiming he/she was not aware of the shack's location in relation to your respective boundaries. I would recommend you demand, in writing, that the shack be relocated/removed so that it is no longer located on your land. Give the new owner a deadline, but make it reasonable. If the new owner does not comply, you can have the shack removed on your own and pursue the new owner for the costs of removal (if desired). However, prior to taking any action, I recommend you make CERTAIN the extent of encroachment of the shack. Have your land surveyed. If you are relying on old surveys/boundaries and you are wrong, you may be liable for damages from your neighbor.
Also, if you do nothing, the new owner will likely gain adverse possession of the land once the adverse possession period runs.
I hope this information helps. I routinely handle quiet title matters and would be happy to speak with you in more detail or answer questions.
Riley S. Snow