What rights do I have as a property owner who has a neighbor who has recently done a boundary survey which has reveals an encroachment?

UPDATED: Sep 2, 2011

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What rights do I have as a property owner who has a neighbor who has recently done a boundary survey which has reveals an encroachment?

My neighbor’s boundary survey has revealed that 1/2 of her asphalt parking pads and two of her outbuildings are on our property. These encroachments were from previous owners and have been there for no more than 15 years. What rights do I have and what should I do? Can she legally claim the property?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the recently discovered encroachment shows that your neighbor's asphalt parking pad is partially on your property, you have a potential issue where your current neighbor's use of the one-half of the asphalt parking pad on your property may have ripened into a claim for a prescriptive easement originated by the previous owners some fifteen years prior.

The elements to prove a prescriotive easement is open, continious, notorious, exclusive, hostile, exclusive and under claim of right for more than five years of another person's land. If the asphalt pad was placed by the prior owner's thinking that it was placed on their own property, they did not have the requisite state of mind to claim a prescriptive easement.

You should try and reach an agreement with your neighbors that the asphalt pad's use by them in the future assuming that you want them to do so is by permission and that you get a written agreement signed by them regarding this.

You should also consult with a real estate attorney regarding the situation as well as an additional precaution.


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