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Oklahoma law and adjoining neighbors boundary line dispute. After doing a survey we find our land in the possession of the neighbor. We have 33 acres, 3.3 of our acres are possessed by adjacent neighbor due to fence. We have a Statutory Corporation Warranty Deed and have lived here three years and our neighbors (having lived here 26 years) state that the fence line rules because it has been in place for 50 years and recognized as their dividing line. What do we do?
Are we required to notify the neighbor of our survey and the land dispute by law? We do not want to be a Petitioner in court suit; we just want to put up a new fence, the old one is in serious need of repair; and, we want to put up a fence on the boundary line. Also, for Oklahoma, does this mean the cost of the fence is shared? And, on our 3 acres they are possession due to fence, they have cut down at least 5 or more trees since we have lived here and even more stumps and there is a hay field which we have been deprived of receiving monies from that hay if we had been able to have our own land and use it.
Can we make a claim for damages and costs of land via a Breach of Convenant with our deed. We bought the property from a Bank; it was REO and we paid $85,000 cash. We paid for Escrow and Title Insurance and our policy commitment at closing stating "there were exceptions" and not listing this obvious "encroachment" was changed after asking the title office if they covered fence line disputes and they then provided a policy stating "does not cover encroachments,etc. Is this legal? I am 63 years and on SSDI for anxiety and panic disorder as well as fibromylgia, shingles, arthritis...I read of a "two year extension to file a civil "fraud" for statute of limitations when a landowner has a "legal disability". Any knowledge on this?
Closing date of escrow: 4/23/2010
Date of recorded deed:5/4/2010
Hello Leega2be. Thanks for submitting this interesting question. I'll try to assist. This answer is in general terms and should be confirmed by a OK attorney before you act on it. Generally, the boundary survey is done before purchasing acreage. The survey would have disclosed the encroachment of the neighbor's fence. You can erect a new fence at your sole expense just inside the true boundary line and in effect fence off the 3.3 acres that the neighbor claims is his. You don't have to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit to do that, but you might become a defendant in one if the neighbor sues to try to establish that he now has title by way of adverse possession. Here is a good discussion of that law:
http://www.okbar.org/obj/articles_01/sa031001.htm I am not going to try to guess the outcome of such a suit. Nor can I guess the outcome of any suit you might choose to bring against the bank that sold you the land. That advice will have to come from a local attorney who has reviewed the matter in much more detail. Such suits are often settled "out of court". I can add generally that title insurance policies do not insure against title defects which might have been disclosed by a survey. It's called the "Standard Survey Exception. It is legal and forms part of your insurance contract. I don't see anything that involves a claim of fraud against anyone, or which would invoke a statute of limitations, except perhaps if you try to sue the neighbor for the removal of trees or hay, you might be faced with a two year statute of limitations for trespass. The physical disabilities that you describe generally are not considered "legal disabilities" which would extend a statute of limitations. A legal disability generally requires being under age or under guardianship for a mental disability, i.e.something that legally prevents you from taking action.
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Hello again, and thanks for your patience. The problem that you have is that although you have title by deed to the 3.3 acres in question, those acres were fenced in by your neighbor and added to his property. Apparently this occurred many,many years ago. The fencing in might have given your neighbor a claim to those acres under the doctrine o adverse possession. When one holds the real estate of another in and open and notorious manner exclusively, adverse to the interest of the legal owner, for a statutorily significant period, the person can claim owner ship of the land by adverse possession. In OK the time period is 15 years. See; http://statelaws.findlaw.com/oklahoma-law/oklahoma-adverse-possession-laws.html
Here is a general discussion of adverse possession: http://www.uslegalforms.com/realestate/adverse-possession.htm Adverse Possession doesn't transfer title to the possessor automatically though. The possessor must go to court and have a judge here the case and declare that he has followed the statute and now owns the property in question. Until that occurs, your title by deed is still the superior title.
Yes, what you have to do is assert your ownership and control. It's difficult to do with vacant ground. Fencing it is one way. Riding horses on it, mowing, planting trees etc...
This is a scholarly article on the subject: http://www.crowedunlevy.com/Websites/crowedunlevy2010/Images/Thought%20Leadership/Rosser/Rosser%20-%20Adverse%20Possession%20Article%20from%20Bar%20Journal.pdf
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