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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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. . My neighbor has a pole barn type shed with one corner that

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. . My neighbor has a pole barn type shed with one corner that sits about 6' into my property. . It was there before either of us bought our properties. . He has owned his property for 5 years now. . I don't mind the encroachment or the fact it was built disregarding the 30' set back but I do want to make sure that at some point he can't come in and claim that portion of land under some adverse possession rule. . He is a bit of a jerk. .
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Under Colorado law, the time limit for adverse possession is 18 years. Colo Stat., Section 38-41-101. The time that the prior owners had the properties can be added to the times that you and your neighbor have been there. That means that your starting point may be to try to figure out when the shed was built - it's entirely possible that the neighbor acquired title by adverse possession before you even bought the land.

If the shed was built on or after July 1, 1990, the statute requires that he have a reasonable good faith belief that he owned that portion of the land before he could acquire title by adverse possession. Since you now have a survey, that's impossible to establish. Another option is to simply give him permission to have the shed there. Legally, adverse possession is without the owner's permission. If you had something in writing stating that he could keep the shed there until further notice, that would also stop him from claiming title - as long as it hasn't been 18 years yet.

That means that it's probably necessary to talk to the prior owners to find out when the shed was erected. You could also see if there is anyone in the area who has lived there long enough to remember when it was built, if you can't find the prior owners. If the neighbor got permits to build the barn, then you could also check with the city.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.


. . I actually owned what is now his property and I sold it to him. . I bought it back in 1991. . He was my stepson and grew up in that house. .The shed was already there. . We don't know when it was built but we do know it was built without a permit. . We all knew that the shed encroached on the neighboring property that is now mine. . He has known it all along. .


. . Can I send him a registered letter just saying he has permission to keep the shed there as long as it lasts (without repairs that would require him coming on my property) ? ? Or should I simply do nothing unless he does something at some time in the future? ?

If you owned both, that could change things. A person can't adversely possess property against himself (for obvious reasons). So, basically, the clock would start running when you transferred the property to him, in 1991. 18 years after that is after July 2008, which means that if there was never any question regarding who owned the property, he can't claim title via adverse possession now.

But, if you want to protect yourself, you can send him a letter confirming that he has your permission to keep the shed there until further notice. That could help if either of you ever wants to sell and the shed comes up as a potential problem. You would also have the ability to grant him permission to enter your property to make repairs only.
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