Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

adverse possession

Just purchased A bank owned property and moved in. as I went through fixing it up I found sewer line going through my basement which is tied up to the adjacent house. Some gas line and water line does the same. Neighbors told me that that next-door house belongs to the same person that lost mine to the bank.-the house is abandoned for over a year. The questions are. 1 can I go to the next door house and disconnect whatever is tied up to my house without risking some legal ramifications?

2. Since the property is abandoned (doors are opened trash all over some spilled over to my side) I think I would like to clean and make the place more presentable thus eliminate the risk of bad impression of the neighborhood.

3. does maintaining that house produces grounds for adverse possession assuming I pay the taxes and keep the yard up.


Asked on 3/05/09, 8:09 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

George Shers Law Offices of Georges H. Shers

Re: adverse possession

Your going onto the other property would be trespassing and cutting the lines on that property vandalism or some other misdemeanor. You probably could cap the lines where they go onto your property, but if you do so you might make the other house unsaleable. Try to find the owner and see if you can purchase his ilnterests cheaply if there is any equity in the property and you can afford to pay whatever outstanding mortgage is on the property. If you can not contact anyone who will do anything, contact the local public entity to complain about the unkept status of the property to see if they will eventually clean it up, unless you are able to contact the mortgage holder and work out a purchase plan for once they foreclose. Point out to them that if you cut the lines no one will buy the house so they should sell it cheaply to you.

It would take 10 years of clearly hostile action as to the tile of the property and payment of property taxes to gain the property by adverse possession. That is not a viable remedy.

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Answered on 3/06/09, 10:58 am

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