My boyfriend gave his friend permission to hunt, clear, plant & is helping him build an elaborate tree house on my property.

Asked about 1 year ago - Jefferson, NY

I own 46 acreas, legally documented. I share this with my boyfriend for better than 16 years. Boyfriend has given his friend permission to hunt, clear portions of the land, plant gardens (which hasn't occurred yet) and take wood. Now my boyfriend is helping his friend build an elaborate tree house, (12x12) with sliding glass doors, windows, wood stove, vinyl sideing, etc, in the woods. Ref Adverse Possession...am I in danger of losing ownership of my property?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Richard J. Chertock

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I don't think you are in danger of losing the property to adverse possession as you have been continuously maintaining the property and presumably paying the taxes on same. Adverse possession would have to include a 3rd party using the property open and notoriously and maintaining it and paying the taxes on it. It would also involve a supreme court action to determine the facts and award title to the 3rd party. If you don't want him using the property or allowing his friend to use it and build on it put him on notice that it is your property and that he has no right to do this. Send a certified letter to his friend advising him that you own the property and advising him to cease and desist from clearing it or building on it. Then if it persists you could have him charged with trespass. Finally, consult with an attorney in your area and consider having him or her send a cease and desitst letter.

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  2. Noah D. Cohen

    Contributor Level 10

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you want to allow this activity on your property, then at the very least you should consult an attorney in your area to have an agreement drafted limiting the third party's rights, indemnifying you for any losses caused by his actions, and further acknowledging that he is there with your knowledge & consent (therefore negating any claim of adverse possession).

    Note: This response is for general informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created. No... more
  3. Anthony Matthew Vassallo

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You do not elaborate on how you "share" the 46 acres with your boyfriend. Is there a document in writing regarding the property?

    It seems that if you are the sole owner and permit a non-owner to dictate the use of YOUR land and then essentially GIFTS it to a third-party stranger, then you are losing control of more than just your acreage.

    Besides that, without some documentation with the stranger, what happens when someone falls out of the tree house or hurts himself logging or building the tree house or engages in illegal behavior on YOUR property (just putting it out there). Who will be to blame? You -- the "legally documented" owner. What are you getting out of the deal? Anything? What happens if Mr. Live off the Woods decides to abandon his homesteading project midstream?

    Based on what little you said, I have a bad feeling about this set-up in more ways than I count. Adverse possession is the least of your worries.

    Good luck.

  4. Michael T Millar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . So long as the use is by permission - it is not "adverse" - and cannot form the basis of a claim for adverse possession.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education... more
  5. Jeffrey Bruce Gold

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Adverse possession requires that the activity on your property being hostile to yours i.e. without your permission. If you have "the friend" sign a document indicating that he is building the treehouse and using the property with your permission and that he acknowledges that he will not acquire rights in the property through his activity on the property, then he will never acquire rights through adverse possession. If you do this, you want the treehouse and all of his activigy onthe property insured.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore,... more
  6. Richard J. Brickwedde

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The real issue is not adverse possession since to obtain adverse possession in NYS, the other person must have a claim of right. From the facts you relate, he would not have a claim of right. However, liability is a real issue. You definitely want to have an indemnification agreement which specifically includes your ability to collect attorney's fees if you have to defend yourself in any lawsuit. You also want to make sure that any building permits are obtained, and that the builder has an obligation to take the structure down at his cost either at your request, of at the request of any legal authority. If you will have co use of this structure that should be spelled out in writing. Lastly, you want him required to have liability insurance which names you as an additional insured. If this increases your taxes, who will pay the additional taxes?

    My answer to your question is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship,

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