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Neighbors and Property Users

Common issues facing landowners from adjoining landowners are, boundary disputes, encroachments, ground support issues, water flow issues, interference from neighboring trees, and issues related to common walls and fences. An encroachment is the extension of a building or other structure beyond the boundaries of the land on which it was rightfully constructed onto (or over) adjoining land without the adjoining landowner’s permission or consent. When an encroachment actually rests on adjoining land, it constitutes a permanent trespass. When it merely intrudes into the airspace above the adjacent property, it is not a trespass, but may be a nuisance.

An easement is an interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land, or an area above or below it, for a specific limited purpose, for example to cross it for access to a public road. Easements are created and terminated in a number of different ways.

Adverse possession is the use or enjoyment of real property for a prescribed period of time with a claim of right. The use or enjoyment must be continuous, exclusive, hostile, open, and notorious. A party can acquire title to property by adverse possession. A party can acquire the right to use property (e.g. create an easement) by something called prescription. For adverse possession, the claimant must pay property taxes and have exclusive use. This is not required for prescription.

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