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Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5735
Experience:  20 years professional experience
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Is it theft if I use a sod cutter to cut out grass on an

Customer Question

Is it theft if I use a sod cutter to cut out grass on an abandoned lot for personal cultivation and seed development. Would I be within my rights for claiming abandoned property? The lot is over-run with this type of grass and is off a road, the access to which was washed away many years ago.
This grass appears to be a particular dwarf variety of a native festuca rubra, which is attractive and I speculate has other desirable properties - it is unavailable any other way.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.

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Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.


Unlike personal property, typically real estate cannot be abandoned since it is owned by and through written title. Before you can avoid a trespass charge or theft type charge, you would first have to either gain the permission of the titled owner or obtain ownership of the property yourself outside of what is stated on the title. This is done by meeting the CA requirements of adverse possession.

In California, adverse possession requires five years of continued use which is "open and notorious" and "adverse" to the owner's interest. Your maintenance and upkeep of the property is required for the five years of use and the property taxes must be paid for by you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
OK,I wasn't asking about the property - I was asking about the grass on the property. Are you saying that the grass on the property is part of the property and can't be used?
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.

While real property does not include standing timber, growing crops, or grass, since these are located on the land which you do not own you could face a theft or trespass charge if you do not have the owner's permission.

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