York, PA asked in Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Have a question about adverse possession in Pennsylvania.

Our neighbor is insisting that we are on their property line, however we have been maintaining this section of the yard (about a 4-foot section) for the past 17 years. Are we eligible for adverse possession? It was per a good faith mistake, we have actual possession of the land, we've had open and notorious possession, and exclusive and continuous possession. What can I do?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko
Answered
  • Allentown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Adverse possession requires a minimum of twenty consecutive years. That twenty years may be accumulated between a current owner and a prior owner.

Based on your information, unless you can establish possession and control by your prior owner, you are out of luck.

Secondly, you indicate that there was a mutual mistake. Although I would want to double check, I believe that for adverse possession to take effect, you must knowingly assert possession and control of land which you know is not yours and which the neighbor believes is the neighbor’s. Thus, for that additional reason, if my recollection is correct, there cannot be adverse possession here.

Are you now sure that the land belongs to your neighbor? You both might want to invest in a survey.

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