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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32154
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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If my possessions have encroached on my neighbor's

Customer Question

If my possessions have encroached on my neighbor's property line for years, do I have any right to that land?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

It's not quite that easy but there is such a thing in Texas as "adverse possession" which can enable a person to "gain control" over a neighbor's property essentially by trespassing and being brazen about it.

To now for sure whether you have a claim to the land you will have to sit down with a local attorney and go over the specific facts and date. The laws have changed over the years and you have to take each change in the law into account as well as each change in facts.

There is a pretty good, although dry, article on adverse possession at

In general, to obtain title to land through adverse possession, a trespasser must satisfy four requirements: He or she must enter or use the land without the permission of the owner; He or she must actually be present on the land, as well as treating and using it as if it were his or her own; He or she must use the land in an open and obvious way; and He or she must use the land for a continuous period of time, without sharing possession with others including the owners .

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 months ago.

The various statutes of limitations that apply are as follows:

The most commonly used statutes of limitation to establish a claim for adverse possession are sections 16.024, 16.025 and 16.026 of the CPRC.

Under Sec. 16.024 -The Three-Year Statute, the possessor must actually have title (i.e., a deed as part of a regular chain of title) or at least “color of title” which refers to a claim of title that has some reasonable basis but for some legitimate reason does not fit within the usual chain of title. So, the possessor must be able to produce some conveyance or title document to support his claim if he is to successfully assert an adverse possession claim under the three-year statute.

Under Sec. 16.025 – The Five-Year Statute, the person must cultivate, use, or enjoy the property, pay applicable taxes on the property and claim the property under a duly registered deed during there five year period. This statute does not apply to a claim based on a forged deed or a deed executed under a forged power of attorney.

Under Sec. 16.026 – The Ten-Year Statute, a deed or other memorandum of title is not necessary so long as the elements of adverse possession are met. That is the person must simply cultivate, use, or enjoy the property for the ten year period. Without a title instrument, peaceable and adverse possession under this section is limited to 160 acres, including improvements, unless the number of acres actually enclosed exceeds 160. If the number of enclosed acres exceeds 160 acres, the adverse possession extends to the property actually enclosed.

Two other sections, Sec.16.027 and Sec.16.028 of the CPRC, are used less frequently. The first provides a 25 year statute of limitation regardless of whether the person is or has been under a legal disability. The second allows a 25 year statute based on a title instrument, even if that instrument is void.

These statutes of limitation do not include any periods of disability on the part of the original owner (e.g., he was under 18 years old, of unsound mind, or serving in the armed forces in time of war). However, these statutes of limitation may be “tacked” or combined by various successive possessors of the property so long as there exists what is known as privity of estate or a direct legal connection between these persons.

Finally, Sec. 16.034 of the CPRC provides that the prevailing party in a suit for possession of real property may receive an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

These are extremely complicated and to really know whether you have a claim for adverse possession sit down with a local lawyer. Even one small mistake or change can throw the whole idea out the window and you have to stat over.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 months ago.

I'm about to sign off for the evening. Any additional questions you ask I will pick up on and continue in the morning.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered. In addition, once you issue your Positive Rating the question will lock open and you can come back to it anytime in the future if you think of something else.