Is your fence or block wall not squarely on the property line? Is your neighbor claiming to own some or all of your property? Is someone denying you the right to use an easement? Do you question the validity of a lien or deed of trust against your property? Are you having a dispute with a co-owner? These are just a few of the questions that can impact title and ownership.
Boundary disputes among neighbors are very common. Fences and block walls are not always erected along the actual property line. Under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to claim ownership of someone else’s property by virtue of adverse possession. Adverse possession requires the actual, visible, continuous, and exclusive use or occupation of another owner’s property for period of ten years. You must take action within this time period to prevent losing your property by adverse possession. Because the ten-year period may have started to run before you or your neighbor bought your homes, it is important that you seek legal advice immediately if you have questions or concerns about adverse possession.
Another common property dispute concerns easements. An easement is generally defined as a non-possessory right to use the property of another for a specific purpose. Easements often must be in writing to be enforceable, but there are many exceptions. An owner of property is usually prohibited from denying or interfering with use of the easement. Disputes commonly arise when a new owner is unaware of an easement or the easement was never recorded.
If you share ownership of your property with someone else, there are specific legal rules that govern your relationship. Generally speaking, a co-tenant is entitled to an undivided ownership interest in the property, meaning that each owner has the equal right to possess, occupy or use the property. So what happens when you decide you want to sever that relationship, for whatever reason, but your co-owner does not? The most common solution is known as a partition action. A partition action is a lawsuit that involving the court-ordered sale of the property and distribution of the proceeds.
Our lawyers also represent individuals who learn that someone else claims an ownership interest in their property. For example, an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend claims you agreed to share ownership of the home, or a stranger has a quitclaim deed to your home or claims that they are the new owners by virtue of a foreclosure that you did not know about. These are serious issues that you cannot afford to take lightly.
Boundary disputes, title problems and questionable claims of ownership can substantially diminish the value of your property or result in the loss of your home and lifetime investment. You should consult with an attorney immediately if you have any questions or concerns.