What are our rights to property that we have maintained for over a year?

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What are our rights to property that we have maintained for over a year?

My wife and I have mowed and generally taken care of a vacant lot that is located next to our property. Our neighbors who have lived here 20+ years have never seen or heard from the lot’sowner. The county says they do not own it and nobody is paying taxes on it. How do we go about claiming this property or at least being reimbursed for our time and gas to mow and maintain it?By the way, the previous owner’s of out house maintained it as well. Doesn’t that time get tacked on?

Asked on July 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First go down to the county tax assessor's office and find out the name(s) and address of the owners of the lot as well as how long the property taxes have not been paid on it and if any property tax sale of the lot is being set. If so, you can go down to the location of the sale and bid on the lot.

If no tax sale is set for delinquent property taxes, perhaps writing a letter to the owner(s) after you get the name and address making inquiry about possibly buying the lot and see if you get a response.

If you have no response to the letter, the last option is to personally pay the property's delinquent property taxes and continue doing so for a long time period, usually five plus years (keeping a record of the payments) and claiming the property as your own. This procedure is called "adverse possession" in many States in this country. Before starting this procedure of paying property taxes on the lot, consulting with a real estate attorney may be a wise decision.


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