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KimberlyLaw, Attorney and Real Estate Broker
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4219
Experience:  13 years of experience in real estate law: Foreclosures, Landlord-Tenant, Condo/Coop, Property Law, Deeds, Purchases/Sales, Estates.
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My wife and I purchased 40+ acres in a remote location in Maine

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My wife and I purchased 40+ acres in a remote location in Maine 40 years ago. We haven't visited the property in 30 years. Using Google Earth I've found out that a neighbor has been using 5 to 10 acres of our land to plant his crops. I don't know for how long this has been taking place. Is it reasonable to expect that the neighbor compensates us for use of the land (for example: property taxes, land rent fees, value of crop, punitive damages, etc?) What is a legally defensible position?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.
Hello, I am happy to assist you today.

Well, yes, you could try to collect money for that usage, but if you haven't been there to stake claim to your property, it would have been impossible for them to ask you permission.

I think this is a tricky situation. They will probably try to claim adverse possession for those 10 or so acres. That means that will become the owner of that land through usage for 10 years.

So you could end up in court over this. The alternative is to just ask them to stop using your land or else you will charge going forward. That is fair, but I would put up a fence if you don't want them to use it.

In the end, this is the risk you take if you don't care for your property. And if you aren't actually using it, someone else may as well us it. And growing food is a great usage of lands and benefits us all, so that's actually a much more positive thing than just having the land sit there.

Good luck.
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