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I live in a subdivision in Tennessee and have for 14 yrs.

Customer Question
There was originally a lot...
I live in a subdivision in Tennessee and have for 14 yrs. There was originally a lot sold behind us with an access going between our driveway and the neighbors house. The lot was originally sold but the developer asked the person who purchased it to trade for another lot because he wanted to trade the lot behind our house with the county. We have lived there for 14 yrs. We have been under the impression for 10-12 yrs that the lot had been traded for county land and that there would never be a house behind us. We have maintained the access and planted trees etc for 14 yrs. We have someone interested to purchase our house however they are scared someone will build behind the house. Someone has mentioned adverse possession to us. Is this something that would apply in our case? Thank You
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Tennessee
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No we just found out through the potential purchasers that the property had not been traded 10-12 yrs ago. My husband approached the developer and he confirmed and said he may still trade or sell..not in a hurry. Found out today through a survey that our driveway is over the easement in question by 5' so we are going to have to do something
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No just I'm sure he can't do anything about our driveway being over by 5' since it has been there 14 yrs. Do we need to file something and can we claim the rest of the access through adverse possession since we were unaware he owned it for 10-12 yrs even though my husband approached him recently which acknowledged we knew he owned
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 46 minutes by:
10/5/2016
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago
Damien Bosco
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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
no problem. I assume at no extra charge?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

There would be an extra charge if we spoke on the phone. Let me set forth the adverse possession rules for you below. It is usually for 20 years, but sometimes 7 years if there is a color of title issue. You can then ask follow up questions based on your ability to meet the requirements.

The following are required for adverse possession:

  1. Must enter the land without the owner's permission (hence the term "adverse");
  2. Must actually be on the land, using and caring for it as if it were his or her own;
  3. Must use the land and/or structure in an open manner (in other words, it may not be secretive or covert); and
  4. Must use the land continuously for seven years, without sharing this possession with others (unless it's possession by tenants in common).
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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The rule in question is adverse. We k ew he owned it early on but thought he traded it and have taken care of it for years. We had no idea he owned it for the past 10-12 yrs. he lives in our subdivision and passes our house everyday and has never said anything about our driveway being over by 5'. Do we have a right to just the 5' or the entire access since we have maintained it
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

Most likely to the 5 feet more than the entire part of it. What happens in these situation is the person making the adverse possession claim brings a case in court before the other attempts to bring a case against them and instead of waiting to see what happens. Meaning that the person who is making the adverse possession claim usually obtains an attorney to file papers first. We can discuss more if you would like to do so.

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