Adverse Possession

Asked May 6, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

My wife and I recently bought a piece of land. We had the property surveyed. Our only neighbor has mowed and built a walkway on our property. Our land is a 5-acre parcel, and the neighbor is using approximately 30' x 70'. We don't have plans for this part of our land. However, this is our property and I'm sure I pay taxes on it. What can/should I do?

Oakland County Michigan

3 Responses

Acquiring property title through adverse possession requires that the possession be actual, visible, open, notorious, exclusive, continuous and, in Michigan, uninterrupted for a minimum of 15 years. That's a high standard to meet. Each case is unique, so contact an attorney with experience with this issue if you are currently faced with an adverse possession claim, or think you may in the future.


I am not too worried about my neighbor claiming my property. I am more interested in beginning a conversation regarding them using my property. As I said, we had the property staked and they are clearly on our land. How do I tell them without coming across as confrontational?


I wish I had a good research-based answer for you on how to begin a conversation on property-related issues, but I don't. These discussions are often a bit uncomfortable. There are some legal options if you are okay with your neighbor's use of the property in the short term - for instance, a temporary easement.