There is an empty piece of property next to me which I have been mowing and keeping up on the land for the past 13 years. I heard that I might have rights to this propery... is this true?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Dear Grass Mowing Neighbor: You may only claim an interest in the property if you have an agreement with the Owner to do so, and for a stated price or some other consideration.
Your entitlement to any ownership in the property does not arise under the law of adverse possession.
Property owners’ concerns over their neighbor’s “…going over their (property) line…” and whether such acts, over time, may constitute claims against (or adverse) to their property title may be unfounded. Owners may take comfort in knowing that mere use or even trespass cannot support such claims, which are viewed with disfavor in the Courts. The laws of Ohio have defined the acts necessary to constitute and support (claims of) adverse possession:
***”…To prevail on a claim of adverse possession, the moving party must demonstrate `"exclusive possession and open, notorious, continuous, and adverse use for a period of twenty-one years.'" Bohaty v. Centerpointe Plaza Assoc. Ltd. Partnership, (Feb. 20, 2002), 9th Dist. No. 3143-M at 3, appeal denied (2000), 96 Ohio St.3d 1439 , quoting Grace v. Koch (1998), 81 Ohio St.3d 577 , syllabus. A successful claim of adverse possession requires proof of each aforementioned element by way of clear and convincing evidence. Grace, 81 Ohio St.3d 577, syllabus. Clear and convincing evidence is an intermediate degree of proof that produces in the mind of the trier of fact a solid conviction or belief as to the allegations sought to be established. Cross v. Ledford (1954), 161 Ohio St. 469 . The Ohio Supreme Court explained that the doctrine of adverse possession should be disfavored because a successful claim results in a legal title holder forfeiting ownership to an adverse holder without compensation. Grace, 81 Ohio St.3d at 580. Thus, the elements of adverse possession are stringent, and the burden of proof rigorous. Id. “ ***
If you wish to assert any right, title or interest, arrange it with the owner of the porperty. Otherwise, enjoy being a good neighbor. God Bless... Sincerely, J. Norman Stark