If a neighbor’s large shrub has encroached onto our property, can the neighbor take ownership of our portion of the property under adverse possession?

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If a neighbor’s large shrub has encroached onto our property, can the neighbor take ownership of our portion of the property under adverse possession?

Shrub is 7 feet wide and 5 feet high. More than half of which is on our property and is blocking our window.

Asked on September 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under common law in all states of this country if portions of vegetation on the side of one neighbor's property encroach upon another neighbor's property, that neighbor can prune and maintain the vegetation that is on his or her property coming from the neighbor's side so long as it is not damaged.

Adverse possession applies to real property, not items of personalty or vegetation. If you are using the shrub that has encroached upon your property, you are not using the neighbor's land, you are using his or her vegetation. Accordingly, you can prune the shrub 's portions on your property away from your window for a better view so long as it is not damaged.

Good question.


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