Do you have a neighbor that insists on mowing your lawn regularly? While it may appear to be a generous gesture, they may have ulterior motives.
However, this does not apply to all neighbors.
So you may ask: can my neighbor claim my land by mowing it? You can also wonder, “How do I deal with this kind of situation?”
Your questions will be answered in this article. Continue reading to find out.
Can My Neighbor Claim My Land By Mowing it?
The answer is yes. Your neighbor has the right to claim your land if you have neglected it for at least ten years and they have been maintaining it. However, it is not as simple as it appears, and there are more aspects to consider.
If your neighbor is attempting to claim your land by mowing it, the odds are stacked against them.
To claim your land, your neighbor must show, among other things, that they did not have your permission to utilize the portion of the land they are attempting to claim.
So, it’s quite improbable that your neighbor is using a portion of your land without your permission, whether in writing or simply in good faith that your neighbor won’t do anything with it, such as try to claim it as their own.
Can My Neighbor Claim My Land if I Don’t Look After it?
If you don’t take care of your land, your neighbor may be able to claim it. More so, if you’re not talking about the land you live on but rather some abandoned land in the country that you’ve neglected, your neighbor can certainly claim your land.
However, if they try to claim the land you live on even if you don’t maintain it, they will have a difficult time doing so because your neighbor is well aware that the land belongs to you.
It means they are simply intruding on private property.
They must be able to demonstrate that they were the only person using the land for at least ten years, which seems unlikely given that you reside there and have most likely used your land at some point.
Can I Claim the Land I Have Maintained?
In some parts of the United States, you can claim land that you look after. The condition is that you must have been the only person using the land for at least ten years.
Adverse possession is a statute that allows you to petition for a land claim if you have been the exclusive occupant for at least ten years, possibly 12 years in some locations.
You must also demonstrate that you intended to own the land while you were caring for it.
What Should I Do If My Neighbor Insists on Mowing My Land?
Consider your next-door neighbor’s constant insistence on mowing your lawn as a major red flag. Although they will almost definitely be unable to claim adverse possession of your lawn, they may have it in mind.
Come to think of it, they’re already out for an adverse possession claim because they insist on cutting your grass. If they insist on mowing your lawn, you’ve permitted them to do so.
If they have the authority to mow your lawn, the claim is automatically canceled.
Regardless, it’s evident that your next-door neighbor isn’t looking out for your best interests, and you should keep an eye on them.
So, what is adverse possession of the land?
According to research, adverse possession of land is a legal scenario in which one party gains ownership of another’s property by gaining possession of it. This can happen with or without the property owner’s knowledge, and it can happen intentionally or unintentionally.
A trespasser or squatter—someone who illegally occupies another person’s land—knowingly comes into another person’s land to live on it and/or take it over in circumstances of purposeful adverse possession. Adverse possession may even be unintended in some situations.
For example, a homeowner may construct a fence to separate their yard without realizing they’ve exceeded the property boundary and encroached on their neighbor’s.
The adverse possessor, also known as the disseisor, has the right to claim the property in any case. In addition, if the claimant is successful in establishing adverse possession, they are not obligated to compensate the landowner.
Note: a disseisor who successfully establishes adverse possession is not obligated to compensate the landowner.
Proof of Adverse Possession Requirements
The requirements for establishing adverse possession differ by jurisdiction. In many places, the claimant must show proof of payment of property taxes and a deed to be successful.
The claimant will have a tough time showing adverse possession if the state threshold is 20 years, and the landlord paints or pays for other maintenance on the dwelling in question in the 19th year.
If you’re a landowner, you should take steps to eliminate the risk of adverse possession as soon as possible by establishing documented agreements for any use of your property.
So, to be successful in an adverse possession claim, the claimant must show that his or her occupation of the land fits the following criteria:
- Continuous possession: The adverse possessor must demonstrate that they have had continuous and uninterrupted possession of the property in question under this condition.
- Hostile and unfavorable possession of the property: While this does not imply that the disseisor employs force to take the land, it does require them to establish that no current agreement or license from the landowner exists.
- Possession in an open, infamous, and obvious manner: A person seeking adverse possession must occupy a property in an open, notorious, and obvious manner. The genuine owner, on the other hand, is not obliged to be aware of the occupation.
- Actual possession: The possessor must keep the property in his or her possession for the state’s designated statutory time, which can range from three to thirty years. Possession may entail keeping the land in good repair and, depending on state legislation, paying taxes.
- Exclusive usage: The property is only used by the assessor, and no one else is allowed to use it.
Can My Neighbor Claim Adverse Possession by Mowing My Land?
By mowing your lawn, your neighbor is quite unlikely to claim adverse possession. They had to have been the sole one mowing your lawn for at least ten years and have total control over it.
This means if you didn’t mow your lawn for ten years because you didn’t want to and not because of a physical disability, your neighbor may have a stronger case for adverse possession.
But, the tricky thing with neighbors is that your neighbor who is claiming adverse possession knows the land belongs to you and most likely has your consent to mow the lawn.
Therefore, this makes them incapable of claiming adverse possession since they had your permission.
What should you do if you think your neighbor is trying to claim adverse possession?
Because asserting adverse possession takes so lengthy, you have plenty of time to catch your neighbor in the act.
To keep your neighbor off your property, do the following things:
- Put up a “No Trespassing” sign: Post “no trespassing” signs that clearly state that your property is yours and that trespassing will not be tolerated.
- Fencing: If your neighbor claims they don’t know where your land begins, you can also put up fences and natural barriers around your property to display a clear outline of your property border.
What is the Best Way to Prove Adverse Possession For Your Neighbor’s Lawn?
Adverse possession of a neighbor’s lawn is difficult to establish unless the neighbor has totally abandoned their home and no longer lives there, or if you are attempting to claim a portion of their lawn that they were unaware of.
However, if they are unaware that they own the land but you are aware that they do, you may be punished with trespassing if you try to claim adverse possession.
So, the best way you might be able to claim adverse possession of your neighbor’s grass is to prove that they have utterly ignored their lawn while also abandoning their home.
Now, let’s assume you’re the landowner whose neighbor is trying to claim your land, is it possible to challenge adverse possession?
Yes, you can contest possession under duress. If someone is attempting to claim your land through adverse possession, you should engage a lawyer and take them to small claims court to fight for it.
If your neighbor is attempting to claim your lawn directly, you stand a good chance of prevailing if you challenge the claim, and you may even be able to charge them with trespassing.
Finally, keep in mind that if your neighbor tries to take adverse possession of your entire lawn or a portion of it, the chances are stacked against them, and their claim will very certainly be refused.
You can hire a lawyer and try to charge and/or sue your neighbor for trespassing, which is essentially what they’ve been doing while attempting to claim your land.
Taking a chunk of land for no reason seems virtually unlawful. In some parts of the country, however, a person can claim ownership of an abandoned piece of property after caring for it for a set period.