Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight
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I am very sorry for your family's loss.Now I'm wondering if I need to protect myself from adverse possession. Would allowing mowing with only verbal permission put me at risk? If so, what steps should I take to protect myself?No
, you do not. First of all, adverse possession means 'squatter's rights,' which applies to the whole property. In other words, this is when a stranger takes over the whole land and its title
. This is not the case here, as he has not done this.
What you may be asking about is an easement by prescription
. This is when someone has used a part
of the land for a time to where they have essentially earned the "right" to continue doing so even if the owner no longer wishes it. However, this does not apply here, either:
"In order to establish a private right of way over lands of others by prescription, the claimant must prove that his use of the [land] was adverse, under a claim of right, exclusive, continuous, uninterrupted, and with the knowledge and acquiescence of the owners of the land over which it passes, and that the use has continued for a period of at least 20 years. Nelson v. Davis, 546 SE 2d 712 - Va: Supreme Court 2001
(internal citations omitted).
This mowing was neither adverse (against wishes of your late father), or has been going on for 20 years, I am guessing. So, the easement by prescription fails. He has no right to the land and you can stop him from mowing it without issue.
There is no need to hire an attorney for this, but simply to let him know (possibly via letter) that he should no longer be doing this. Please use REPLY if you need a sample of such a letter.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.
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