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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38216
Experience:  17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Second opinion] we have a piece of property that the

Customer Question

Second opinion] we have a piece of property that the neighboring land owner has built a building on part of our lot - they are trying to now settle the landowners estate when this was discovered by party wishing to purchase - we have offered to sell them this lot as they cannot settle or sell - they informed us that they could seize this lot because of amount of time building had been there -Is that possible?
JA: Have you talked to a real estate attorney about this?
Customer: No - we have been in contact with attornies trying to settle the estate
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: WEST VIRGINIA
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have owned this property sinc the early 90's - this lot is vacant
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

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If the neighbor has been encroaching on your land for over 10 years, they could legally claim ownership of the area they have been using under the legal doctrine of "adverse possession". In West Virginia the period of time for adverse possession must be at least ten (10) years. West Virginia Common Law Code §55-2-1.

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They would have to file a lawsuit called a "quiet title" action and then prove that they have used it at least 10 years without your or any prior owner's permission... basically to have been trespassers all this time... Then if they can do so, a judge would issue an order awarding them the underlying land that they have been trespassing on.

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With that said, you can mess up a sale by threatening to file a lawsuit for trespass as that would cloud the title until it is resolved and prevent any sale. That might give you some bargaining leverage to get them to settle with you and pay you something for it, even if they could legally claim it because an attorney would charge them probably $5K or so to file the suit against you to claim it..

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thanks

Barrister

Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Hello again,

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I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

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Did you have any further questions I can help with?

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Thanks much

Barrister