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Consentable Lines - Recognition and Acquiescence

Posted by attorney James Tupitza

RECOGNITION AND ACQUIESCENCE

(A). "Recognition and acquiescence" requires: (1) a finding that each party has claimed the land on his side of the line as his own; and (2) a finding that this occupation has occurred for the statutory period of twenty-one years. Corbin v. Cowan, 716 A.2d 614 (Pa. Super, 1998). (e.g., a long-standing fence. See Niles v. Fall Creek Hunting Club, Inc., 376 Pa. Super. 260, 545 A.2d 926 (1988)(en banc)).

(B). Recognition and acquiescence does not require that the parties specifically consented to the location of the line. Plauchak v. Boling, 439 Pa. Super. 156, 653 A.2d 671 (1995), citing Inn Le'Daerda, Inc. v. Davis, 241 Pa. Super. 150, 360 A.2d 209 (1976).

(C). "'Occupation up to a fence on each side by a party or two parties for more than twenty-one years, each party claiming the land on his side as his own, gives to each an incontestable right up to the fence, and equally whether the fence is precisely on the right line or not.' [citation omitted]. In such a situation the parties need not have specifically consented to the location of the line." Sorg v. Cunningham, 455 Pa. Super. 171, 687 A.2d 846 (1997), citing Dimura v. Williams, 446 Pa. 316, 286 A.2d 370 (1972).

(D). The establishment of a boundary line by acquiescence for the statutory period of twenty-one years has long been recognized in Pennsylvania. Two elements are prerequisites: 1) each party must have claimed and occupied the land on his side of the line as his own; and 2) such occupation must have continued for the statutory period of twenty-one years. See Jedlicka v. Clemmer, 450 Pa.Super. 647, 654, 677 A.2d 1232, 1235 (1996); Plott, 377 Pa.Super. at 594, 547 A.2d at 1221. Cited in Zeglin v. Gahagen, 571 Pa. 321, 812 A.2d 558 (2002).

(E) An examination of the decisional law demonstrates, however, that the doctrinal roots of acquiescence are grounded in adverse possession theory; indeed, occupancy with open manifestations of ownership throughout the statutory period will generally satisfy the traditional elements of adverse possession. Decisions involving acquiescence are frequently distinguishable from adverse possession cases only in that possession in the former are often based on a mistake as to the location of property lines. See generally Annotation, Adverse Possession Involving Ignorance or Mistake as to Boundaries--Modern Views, 80 A.L.R.2d 1171, 1173 (1961 & Supp.2002). [FN6]. Cited in Zeglin v. Gahagen, 571 Pa. 321, 812 A.2d 558 (2002).

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