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Does my neighbor have an adverse possession claim?

Swoyersville, PA |

We bought a piece of property. It needed to be subdivided. The day after the surveyors were here a neighbor called the property owner and asked to buy a piece of that property. We offered to sell him 40 feet width which was a paper street. (We have nothing in writing, only verbal) he said he wanted 95 feet width. The whole width is 192 feet. He also said he doesn't need a subdivision when we offered to let him pay for part of it and buy the 40 feet. He said I will have my attorney contact you. We never heard anything until we paid for the subdivision. Paid for the property, our attorney is transferring the deed. He has been aware of our intent for years but has really known since January of this year that we were proceeding Now today we got a letter from his attorney claiming adverse pos.

Attorney Answers 2


(1) Land sales must be in writing. Oral contracts are generally invalid.
(2) Adverse possession requires 21 years of open, notorious possession of the land in question.
(3) YOU NEED A LAWYER NOW, because this is over your head.

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It sounds like you live somewhere above the Back Road where there are a lot of properties where the owners maintain some portion of another's land. I hope you had a title insurance company insure your purchase (although it does not sound like it) - that might help with the upcoming legal fight. To answer the question, the neighbor certainly can make a claim, and might have a VALID claim, but that will be up to the Court to decide. You should contact your attorney immediately to review all of the history of the properties in question and help you decide on a strategy.

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