Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Oregon

hi i am renting a house in josephine county of oregon and a couple months back we had an internet satellite installed on the edge of our property. We had previously discussed in a friendly manor with our neighbor that he was unsure where the property line was. They day the satellite was installed the neighbor came outside and watched the two men put it in where he said it seemed close to his line but that was fine. He then proceeded to cut down a tree in front of the satellite (ON HIS PROPERTY, & *BLM LAND*) for our benefit of better service. Now he is claiming to be upset by the placement of the satellite which he then decided to have his property surveyed only to find that it IS on his property, in fact half of our yard is his property but is separated by a shed from the majority of his yard. The owners of this house have used the side yard for over 20 years where we now have two gardens currently growing veggies. SO, my first question is would this yard be considered an easement or possibly adversely possessed by the home owners? The neighbor is threatening to build a 6 foot fence through our garden on his new found property line and WITH OUT NOTICE cut our satellite line which they very well know is our means of communication as we have a phone line through magic jack which uses our internet. Not to mention i am an online student and have an online business. FINALLY we are currently in a state of emergency in southern oregon as there are 2,000 acre wildfires 8 miles away from our neighborhood. IS THIS LEGAL??? CAN I TAKE HIM TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT?

Asked on 7/30/13, 2:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Daniel Meek Daniel W. Meek

You are a renter. You have no property rights v. the neighbor. It is possible, but not likely, that your landlord-owner could obtain a prescriptive easement on half of the yard by adverse possession. The law says:


Acquiring title by adverse possession

(1) A person may acquire fee simple title to real property by adverse possession only if:

(a) The person and the predecessors in interest of the person have maintained actual, open, notorious, exclusive, hostile and continuous possession of the property for a period of 10 years;

(b) At the time the person claiming by adverse possession or the persons predecessors in interest, first entered into possession of the property, the person entering into possession had the honest belief that the person was the actual owner of the property and that belief:

(A) By the person and the persons predecessor in interest, continued throughout the vesting period;

(B) Had an objective basis; and

(C) Was reasonable under the particular circumstances; and

(c) The person proves each of the elements set out in this section by clear and convincing evidence.Here, there may be no objective basis for the landlord's belief that he owned that half of the yard.

It is likely that the neighbor can legally build the fence and require you to move your satellite.

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Answered on 7/30/13, 4:15 pm

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