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Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38183
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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What does the law say regarding neighbors encroaching on the

Customer Question

What does the law say regarding neighbors encroaching on the property of their neighbors. I have heard if they have encroached and maintained the encroachment area, the property is now theirs after 10 years. I am speaking about real estate in Washington State.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.


What you are referring to is called "adverse possession" and in WA, if someone is a trespasser but they maintain "exclusive hostile use and possession" of some amount of land for the statutorily prescribed amount of time, then they can claim legal ownership of it. In Washington the period of time for adverse possession must be at least seven (7) years. Washington Code §7.28.050-.090.

So if someone trespasses on land for over 7 years, they can file a quiet title lawsuit against the legal owner and have a judge issue an order declaring them to be the new legal owner.