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“Hey, that’s mine!”-Adverse Possession and Implications

In matters involving real property (i.e. land and immovable property on land), in general, boundaries and possession can be known through title. However, even with the proper boundaries and title defining a parcel of land, there can be disputes that arise between neighbors or landowners about who owns what, including not only land, but also structures on land.

Take for example a patch of land which Neighbor A has turned into a garden. By law, the land that Neighbor A uses as a garden is actually past the boundary of Neighbor A’s property, and it technically on Neighbor B’s property. However, Neighbor A cultivates the garden, and even places a fence around the garden to keep out animals. Whose property is the garden? The short answer is, it depends.

Adverse possession requires several elements be met. Generally, a degree of use and control, intent to claim full ownership, actions give notice to actual owner of control, and control must be for the required period of time/duration1.

In the example above, if Neighbor A had been gardening the patch of land for 20 years, built a fence for all to see, and controlled the garden completely and solely, Neighbor A may have a claim for adverse possession against Neighbor B. Neighbor A will have to prove the elements if there is a dispute.

There may be tax implications related to adverse possession. It is important to be sure to follow all necessary steps and follow up on all matters to ensure that the matter is properly completed.

We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring the basics of adverse possession. This blog is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your case, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. may be able to help evaluate same. Dixon & Moseley, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.

  1. See generally, Garriott v. Peters, 878 N.E.2d 431, 438 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007).

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