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Continuous use and tacking in VA - Adverse possession of property

Alexandria, VA |

My neighbor placed a fence on my property 12 years ago in VA (statutory law is 15 yrs). I just purchased it 6 months ago. There is a brick patio that she claims has been there for 20 years and the bricks meet the base of the fence she installed. There was landscaping she states that she had removed and filled in with bricks 12 years ago at the same time when she installed the fence. It is evident and easy to see where this was done. Some of the brick on the patio appear to have been on my property prior to her erecting the fence and adding in bricks. Was continuous use broken here since she added the fence and filled in brick patio that further encroached on my property?

Attorney Answers 1


Certainly any new encroachment is not covered. In addition, this may be more akin to a prescriptive easement which requires 20 years. There are not enough facts here to know which may actually apply.

I suggest you immediately seek the advice of counsel knowledgeable in the areas of adverse possession and prescriptive easements to determine which might apply and what you may be able to do to resolve this issue. Based upon timing, they may suggest you immediately give the neighbor a "license" to use that portion of the property (revokable at will) so that you can effectively stop the use. Or, if adverse possession can be claimed, there may be other tactics to follow.

Land in Alexandria is valuable. Given the number of years involved you should act immediately to preserve your ownership.

Please note that this response is based upon the limited information available in the question. In addition, it is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship and is offered only as general information and not as legal advice.

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