Couple Loses 25% Of Property To Litigious Neighbors

A Boulder couple lost 25% of their property after a neighbor used the legal principle of “adverse possession” to west control of it. For 25 years, Richard McClean and Edith Stevens used part of a vacant lot owned by their neighbor, the Kirlins. They extended their rock garden into it, held parties, and stacked wood upon it. Recently they filed to suit to take control of the land. The judge ruled that since the Kirlins hadn’t contested the Stevens use before, they were less attached to the property, and awarded the claim to the litigants. Naturally, the case has caused an uproar in the Boulder community who are delighted to have discovered a land grabber within their midst. The Kirlins plan to appeal, and the Boulderites plan to hold protest picnics among the lots scrabbly grass and weeds.

Stevens: Loser in property case ‘disgruntled’ [Daily Camera]

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  1. katzeroo says:

    I think that they probably could have filed suit way earlier (maybe even as early as 10 years), but more than likely, if the Kirlin’s didn’t protest this in the courts all along, in the eyes of the court, they did nothing and as such tacitly allowed this to go on where McClean and Stevens (sounds like a lawfirm, right?) could reasonably say they used this without official protest to the owner. I’m pretty sure the judges ruling will likely be upheld. Just goes to show ya. It pays to take em to court sometimes.

  2. Freedomboy says:

    So are the new owners on the hook for the past taxes?

  3. BuddyHinton says:

    Gee, the plaintiff is a former judge and won the case. Imagine that. This is really rubbing me the wrong way.

  4. Brad2723 says:

    Our system is royally screwed. Private property rights don’t exist any more.

  5. dlynch says:

    there’s nothing arcane about adverse possession and it’s there for a good reason…. if you just lay down and let someone take over your property, you’re clearly not putting it to its highest and best use. the law seeks to reward the party that will.

  6. gsmumbo says:

    So where were the Kirlins the whole time Richard and Edith were using the yard?

  7. alfista says:

    This happened to my boss – a neighbor he had for a couple of years asked to buy some of his property when he was putting up a fence to enclose a pool he was installing. When he declined the offer, the neighbor took him to court claiming the property had been used in common prior to either of the parties purchasing the land. I think title insurance helped him fight (and win) the claim but it was a pain.

  8. protest says:

    this is b.s. they own that property. that’s it, they OWN that property, the fact that their neighbors slowly encroached over the years should not be a legal standpoint to them getting the land! what the hell is wrong with this country??

  9. medic78 says:

    Wow. I guess that’s what you get for being a good neighbor. These poor people probably didn’t mind their neighbors partying on their property and figured letting them use the land was a nice thing to do. Then they get screwed in the end.

    Whatever happened to the neighborly attitude from when I was a kid? We’d play in each other’s yard, help each other out by working on the land between our houses, etc.

    Now I’m stuck with a crabby woman who accuses me of “stealing her chair” (when I walked down the street to get it for her when it blew away), and demands that I repair my fence RIGHT AWAY, so that she can keep HER dog in HER yard (this is all after putting countless hours of work into my house, which had previously been a party house and eyesore).

    Whatever happened to politeness and sharing?

  10. MrEvil says:

    @Brad2723: They still do, however, adverse posession prevents rich SOBs from buying land just for the sake of not letting anyone else have it. The Kirlins did not use their property and did not tell their neighbors to GTFO. McClean and Stevens used the property and made improvements on it whereas the Kirlins had it for the sake of growing weeds. It’s VERY easy to prevent adverse possession and all it takes is telling the squatter to GTFO via the County sheriff (so it’s a matter of record). Once you give them an order to leave the clock resets to zero. The squatters come back they’re back to the beginning. You can also reset the clock by giving explicit permission to use the property. (according to the Wikipedia article on the law)

  11. SoCalGNX says:

    This is a well known fact of real estate law. Its one of the things you will learn in the basics of real estate studies. Most would not think to use it but there are always a few who are parasites.

  12. backspinner says:

    “Boulder couple lost 25% of their property after a neighbor used an arcane legal clause to west control of it.”

    “West” is a verb now?

  13. Johnny Blackshoe says:

    I hope that the Stevens enjoy their land, because they just sacrificed all of their friends in Boulder for it.

  14. dirtleg says:

    I used to work in the surveying field and I had occasion to work on a couple of these cases over the years. This is not something new by any means, these laws have been on the books in most States for over a hundred years. It is a basic principle of land ownership that if you don’t maintain or use a piece of you property and your neighbor does, then he has staked a claim. If you do not legally acknowledge that you are knowingly allowing him to do this but are retaining ownership, then after so many years, seven to ten in most States, he has the rights to make a claim for ownership of the disputed land.

    I think it is really quite cool that this can occur. Kind of like the old west with the ranchers and farmers battling it out. Only hopefully with no firearms involved.

  15. SadSam says:

    I’m so going to show this to my husband when he gets home. There is a walk way on the side of our house that connected up to our neighbors back patio and our back patio. The walk was on our property but connected with a side door of the neighbors house and their back patio. Our neighbor regularly used the side walk, when he put his house on the market I told him we we were fencing in the front and side yard (where the walk was located) because we have a dog. My husband cut the concrete that connected to the neighbor’s side door and the neighbor’s back patio and we had a fence put it. Without knowing anything about adverse possession, I was worried about letting our new neighbor continue to use the walk way as if it was shared property or their property. We put up the fence which cost us about $7000 but I guess it was totally worth it. Oh, my husband thought I was crazy.

  16. dlynch says:

    the easiest way to prevent something like this is to give your neighbor permission to use the land – in writing. if it’s a permitted use, it’s not adverse, and can’t change hands in this way.

  17. David_B says:

    This case is absolutely ridiculous. Their argument is basically, “Hey I’ve been trespassing here for years and I like it. Therefore it’s mine now.” They’ve been breaking the law for so long that they can now take someone else’s land, makes me sick.

    Developing an emotionaly attachment to it is completely irrelevant, otherwise I would go develop an emotionaly attachment to my neighbor’s new BMW. I wonder if I take it for a few joy rides if I could make the adverse possession argument.

    @Mrevil If people with money want to buy land “just for the sake of not letting anyone else have it” that’s their business. I don’t think most people buy land with the intent of sharing it. If they bought it , have paid taxes, and own it, that should be the end of the argument.

  18. girly says:

    A while back a new neighbor asked if they could plant flowers in the area of our yard that was adjoining theirs.

    I refused. I did say at the time (not to the neighbors, though) I thought it was a way, whether they intended it or not, they could end up owning part of the yard.

    They had plenty of space to plant on their own land…and years and years later, what they wanted to do to our yard, they haven’t even done to their own (no flowers).

    And another neighbor called me petty for not wanting their kids to run through my yard. Practically threatened to sue me saying his kids felt ‘threatened’ (even though their friends would pretend to scream in fright and then laugh after that). Sounded more like he got sick of his kids complaining about me and didn’t even find out from them what happened.

    I don’t talk to him anymore because the stammering anger he expressed was scary.

    Now I feel sad. :(

  19. DeeJayQueue says:

    It doesn’t sound like the Kirlins protested at all, legally or otherwise, until the couple decided to go for the on-paper ownership of the land they’d been using for the past quarter century.

    It’s one thing if they were just using the paths to get from the front yard to the back yard, they would seem like assholes making a property grab, but if as the post here indicates, they had a rock garden and held gatherings on the land, with no protest or word from the Kirlins, then what exactly were they waiting for? Moreover, what were they using the land for? I know that if someone came into my front yard and build a rock garden I’d say something about it, but no these people said nothing until it was too late.

    Plus, by watching the video it sounds like something else entirely. Mr Kirlin sounded more pissed that he wouldn’t be able to build on the land than he was about anything else.

    What amazes me though is that hardly anyone in the comments at the original site sees things objectively. Everyone is spouting vitriol at McLean and Stevens and being all politically stabby instead of looking at what’s really going on.

  20. Jim says:

    America. Land of the lawyers.

  21. DrGirlfriend says:

    This definitely has a “pioneer days” feel to it. Staking a claim? Man.

  22. Cowboys_fan says:

    I seem to remember this kinda thing happening alot, I believe its also called squatters rights. From what I remember, if you maintain land for 10+ years, you can claim it. This counts for private property and crown land. I’ve even heard of this happening from neighbors who cut lawns and over time can claim ownership. This is not new.

  23. MeOhMy says:

    There are laws like this pretty much everywhere.

    I was wondering how this came about. You would have to be a total douche to intentionally squat someone’s land until you’ve been doing it long enough to acquire it (20+ years in some states!). I can’t imagine someone would actually wait 21 years and then proactively sue to obtain the land.

    In another article it turns out that The dispute began in October 2006, when McLean and Stevens filed a restraining order against the Kirlins to stop the couple from building a fence along the dividing line between their properties.

    When you own land, you gotta protect it sooner than later, or you could lose it. This isn’t a new thing, it’s really an old-timey common law thing that probably doesn’t make much sense applying it today. But it exists and every land owner should know about it.

  24. kimsama says:

    I’m pretty sure that the open and notorious use of land has to continue for a long time (like 10 years) for adverse possession to take place. MrEvil is right that you can reset the clock easily by not rolling over and allowing the possession/development of your land by someone else. Unfortunately for the Kirlins, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  25. kimsama says:

    @David_B: I’m sorry, but the law does not agree with you.

  26. Yep says:

    What a couple of scum bags. Law or not, this kind of behavior doesn’t pass the smell test, they know it, and they should be ashamed of themselves. The worst part is it’s contagious. People see this kind of behavior, and in order to protect themselves they become complete neighborphobes and crap on anyone abutting their land at the mere whiff of sharing space.

  27. girly says:

    Years ago I decided the next house I get will definitely have a fenced yard!

  28. Finder says:

    I’d like to know if the two parties talked about the land AT ALL before one of them took the other to court. Maybe they had a falling out?

  29. girly says:

    @Yep: I became a neighborphobe of sorts after the treatment I received. I’m not mean or anything, I just avoid them if possible.

    Even with neighborly treatment, etc, isn’t respecting each other’s property part of being neighborly?

  30. He says:

    @DeeJayQueue: A lot of people’s net worth is largely the value of their land. He probably wanted to pass it on to kids or whatever or use as a retirement nest egg if he or his wife needed that money.

  31. David_B says:

    I’ve been reading some more about this. Apparently when he found out that this family was going to build a house on their own land, it took this former judge only a couple of hours to get a restraining order on it. Does that sound ridiculous to anyone else? I wonder how long it would take a normal person to get a restraining order like that.

    This law needs to be updated. There should be no time limits. It’s my land, and I can kick you off whenever I want. If that means that I decide to mow over your garden that you’ve been planting on my property for 50 years, you can just deal with it. Don’t trespass in the first place then.

  32. UpsetPanda says:

    My parents fenced in their yard because after years of looking out the window to see the neighbor’s animal traipsing through it, leaving “gifts” and having the neighbor do absolutely nothing to keep their pet contained in their yard, they finally decided that it was just a better idea to keep other people OUT rather than depend on them to have some kind of politeness or common sense. Our last three houses have had fences.

  33. HalOfBorg says:

    When we fenced in our yard, we COULD have put the fence about 1 ft farther over, since the property line was there, but it would have looked bad. So we put it where it is, knowing full well that we were effectively giving a small part of the land to our neighbors.

    If it came to a court case, they would win.

  34. Uh oh... Cleveland says:

    The whole point of adverse possession is to ensure that land is put to productive use. To me, this means factories and farms. It shouldn’t apply to a person’s own residential property. If they want to let the land go to weeds, they should be able to, as long as it doesn’t violate local ordinances.

  35. David_B says:

    @Kimsama Yes I know. That was my point-that the law should be changed.

  36. dlynch says:

    @David_B: the law should be changed to allow people to horde land, rather than putting it to its highest and best use? i think not. if you’re not paying enough attention to keep your boundaries secure, then you don’t deserve protection under the law. adverse possession must be open, notorious, hostile, continuous, and exclusive for a large amount of time (generally 7-20 years) – if you can’t defeat a claim then you clearly aren’t using your land, or your head…

  37. David_B says:

    The application of the adverse domain argument to this case remains to be seen. Adverse possession doctrine here in Colorado includes some difficult legal tests to show that they have been using the land in an observable, open and notorious way, uninterrupted for many years. According to local reports here, they haven’t been able to produce so much as a single photograph of one of these alleged parties they’ve been throwing for years. I’m sure this case is going to take years to hash it all out though.

  38. othium says:

    My Father had a similar incident involving his land. His neighbor wanted to purchase a part of the property so that he could expand his home. This guy tried to sneakily use it and had to be warned in a legal way to knock it off a few times.

    I’m very glad my Dad knew about “Adverse possession” and the correct way to deal with it.

  39. humphrmi says:

    There is an interesting irony here. The same law that requires landowners to use their property or (in some very limited cases) lose it is the same type law that makes us all gnash our teeth when the xAA and others go after Intellectual Property violators. Basically you see this theme throughout our (admittedly) more arcane laws – it’s your property, protect it or lose it.

    The only reason why xAA and their cohorts go after downloaders is because if they don’t, they (and their constituent members) actually risk losing the ownership rights to their songs / movies / software. Which is why you, as a landowner, have a responsibility to go after (legally) anyone who tries to take your property, or you can – as we see here – lose it.

    Agreed, all these laws need to be changed.

  40. David_B says:

    @Dlynch Who decides your land’s best use? Maybe you don’t need your whole yard. Maybe it would be better used for something else. Should we all live in as small a place as possible, so that we don’t take up too much space? The answer is no. We live in a free society where we can do whatever we want (within the law obviously) with our earnings. People are allowed to own multiple residences in different locations, are you against that? How much qualifies as “hording?”

    The funny thing is that in Boulder they are constantly complaining about people developing too much. Now some of the same people are saying that this family wasn’t putting it to enough use by leaving it undeveloped for so long, therefore they can’t have it anymore.

  41. mysticone says:

    I do have to say that it bothers me to see how many people who’ve commented on this post agree with the action. I mean, really, at which point was it okay for people to take your property just because you didn’t feel like using it? It’s still yours, you bought it, you’ve paid taxes for it, and there should never be any obligation that you have to *do* something with it. I guess the next step is going to be when it’s determined that living on a piece of property isn’t productive enough, and as such, you have to turn it over to someone who will do something “worthwhile” with it. Oh wait…

  42. NightSteel says:

    @Troy F.:

    I wonder if the fact that those folks were going to build on their own property would count as ‘asserting ownership’? I mean, if the rules say that the property must go unused and uncontested by the current owner for a certain amount of time before someone else can claim adverse possession, wouldn’t trying to install your own fence reset the clock? If the point of adverse possession laws is to ensure the land is being used, and the original owners obviously planned to use it, tried to use it, and had to have an injunction filed against them to prevent them from using it, then I just don’t see how anyone can claim that the property was going unused.

  43. macinjosh says:

    @protest (and others)

    If anything, this law protects the original owner. The encroacher must have continuous use for 20 years. Additionally it has to be “open, notorious, and hostile”, which I take to mean “obvious”. That’s a long-ass time to not notice, and to give permission or evict. Shopping malls (and other public places) close off their property one day per year to reset their clock.

    If in all that time, you don’t make a stink (or give permission) to someone making gardens and throwing parties on your property, you are clearly not using it.

  44. Skiffer says:

    Could anyone explain how the “hostile” part fits into this case and/or what’s meant by that regarding adverse possession?

    I would assume that, if the Kirlins realized it was their property, there would have been some sort of “Sure, you can use it” verbal permission.

    Maybe the hostile part came into play when there was finally a conflict over it when the Kirlins wanted to fence/develop the land?

    Still seems that verbal agreement should be sufficient to prevent adverse possession in residential cases.

  45. macinjosh says:

    @backspinner: It is when the “R” in it goes AWOL. :)

  46. DeeJayQueue says:

    @He: Land is for living on, not for defining someone’s net worth. I hate the people who buy houses and land only to inflate their value as a money making scheme. It makes it so that people can’t afford to live anywhere decent because everywhere gets gentrified so fast. Plus, I wonder if he’s paying a mortgage on his house? If so then he doesn’t own it anyway, the bank does.

  47. girly says:

    @dlynch: Let’s say that adverse law should be okay…even then, the original owner should receive fair compensation for the land.

    Although you’d hope they’d just respect the boundaries in the first place.

  48. mysticone says:

    @macinjosh:

    But it’s still *your* property. If you don’t want to use it, why should you have to? If you simply allow people to use your property for things because you’re a nice person, or because you just don’t care, that still shouldn’t give anyone the ability to forcibly take your property from you.

  49. MeOhMy says:

    A lot of people are taking a weird interpretation of this.

    There is nothing that says you have to USE the land for any purpose. All you have to do is take steps to make sure that NO ONE ELSE is using your land.

  50. goller321 says:

    I bought a house about three years ago and recently had a surveyor confirm my neighbor’s fence (about 8 years old) is on my property. I recently told him he needs to move it, but now I am planning on sending a certified notarized letter to that effect to get it in writing. I don’t think he ever got a permit, and he admitting to putting it up himself (after telling me pro’s had done it in the past- leading me to believe he knew he was trespassing the entire time.) He told me he felt it should be “grandfathered in” and I was being a bad neighbor for requesting he move the fence. If it were my property, I’d move it because I would be in the wrong…

    These people are scumbags. I think it’s ridiculous that they call themselves democrats- makes me ashamed of my party (as did the eminent domain rulings of the USSC.)

  51. girly says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Is it really true the bank owns the land on a mortgage? I know they can claim it if you default, but I don’t think they own it (but I’m no legal expert).

  52. goller321 says:

    I also find it rather pathetic that copyright lasts for not only the lifetime of the creator, but 70 years after- no matter if it’s looked away in a vault never to be used again, while property can be stolen like this. Where’s the common sense?

  53. goller321 says:

    @girly: The bank is the lender and holds a lien on your house. They don’t own the land you do, but it is collateral should you default.

  54. mysticone says:

    @Troy F.:

    But, if you don’t stop someone else from using your land, it shouldn’t be grounds for simply giving them ownership of the land because it demonstrates that you don’t care about it as much as the courts would like. Apparently you care enough to buy it and pay taxes on it, and that should be all that’s required.

  55. dlynch says:

    @Skiffer: verbal agreement is sufficient to defeat an adverse possession claim – if you have permission to use land, it’s not a hostile use. it’s best to have documentation of this permission being given, but if you explicitly allow your neighbors to use your property, you’re not in danger of losing it to an adverse possession claim.

  56. JiminyChristmas says:

    @Skiffer: In this context, hostile can be taken to mean that the plaintiffs were using the land without permission.

  57. krom says:

    I do believe them’s is known as squatter’s rights. If I use your property for 25 years and you don’t bother to do anything about it during that whole time, then I get to use it in perpetuity.

    Strikes me as odd that people find this so upsetting.

    Possession is 9/10ths of the law as they say. Imagine someone “borrowing” your lawnmower and keeping it for 25 years. In that time you’ve probably forgotten about it and bought a new one.

    The Kirlins did nothing to improve the land. The Stevens did. Apparently the Kirlins either never set foot on it or never cared that the Stevens used it.

    If they’ve let their neighbors use their land for 25 years without complaint, why on earth would they be upset now? What was their plan — let the Stevens use the land unopposed for two and a half decades, then abruptly kick them off because they want to sell? That sounds like the sort of thing that we’d see the *Stevens* complaining about on Consumerist. Imagine the converse story:

    A Boulder couple, who had been allowed to use part of their neighbor’s land for 25 years, were suddenly told to rip out the rock garden they’d spent 20 years working on by the land owner. Richard and Edith Stevens asks, “Is there anything we can do to save the land we’ve spent two decades working on? Or are we at the mercy of an absentee landowner, who’s done nothing to the land in that time, and now just wants to flip it?”

    25 years. That means the Stevens started using the land in 1982. How old were C-ist readers in 1982? What do you still have that you owned in 1982? Which do you still use?

  58. mconfoy says:

    I guess this was an effective way to stop the railroads or ranchers from hoarding claims that they never put to use. Kind of sounds like an anachronism now in most cases, does it not? The idea that the owners of the land did nothing with it is a matter of opinion. Given the amount of land that is being bought up in Montana by the rich to allow it to remain natural and undeveloped seems like that is actually a use of the land (assuming that they were not violating any property care laws in Boulder).

  59. macinjosh says:

    @mysticone:

    It’s not a case of just not using it. It’s a case of allowing someone to proactively take control of that area of property for 20 years. I kinda feel bad for the Kirlins, but if I knew the neighbors were on my land and I did nothing for 20 years, what could I say?

    I keep repeating the time period because it’s a goddamn long time (2/3 of my life). When I heard about this little law in RE class, it sounded cool, but near impossible to pull off since I’d be 50 when I’d be able to claim it. Would I even still be at that property in 20 years?

  60. David_B says:

    @Krom You should do a little more research about what actually happened.

    The Kirlins bought it with the intent of building their dream house. However they ended up having kids, etc. and weren’t able to do it during that time. Now their kids are grown, and they wanted to build that dream house they wanted. What’s wrong with that?

    For the record, if that headline were on the C’ist, I would comment, “They should’ve thought about that before they decided to trespass on someone else’s land.” Don’t put anything on someone else’s land illegally unless you’re okay with someday losing it.

  61. girly says:

    @krom:

    there’d probably be a split between
    “you knew it wasn’t your land, even if they let you use it, so you should have been ready for them to claim it”

    and
    “well, you do have squatter’s rights”

  62. MikeB says:

    @girly: This neighbor sounds like one of those people who would sue if his kid got hurt crossing your yard.

  63. Yep says:

    @krom:
    “25 years. That means the Stevens started using the land in 1982. How old were C-ist readers in 1982? What do you still have that you owned in 1982? Which do you still use?”

    My sense of decency and ownership.

  64. lhutz34 says:

    I learned this on the first day of law school. Seriously, it was that afternoon, in my very first property class.

    The key is that they used the land openly for two and a half decades and that the owners never objected. It most commonly comes up when someone builds a fence a couple feet across the line, and neither side bothers to check the deed for the actual boundaries of the property. After a certain amount of time (depending on statute and/or common law of the state), the fence becomes the boundary. However, any time before the time limit, the owner can dispute the boundary, reset the clock, and get trespassing damages from the encroacher.

  65. girly says:

    @mbouchard: scary thought! but he is an ironic kind of guy…

  66. krom says:

    To reiterate: The Kirlins did *nothing* (legal) about the Stevens using their land, not once, since 1982. And they didn’t, for example, lose their house. They lost land that they themselves never used, for anything, during those 25 years.

    They didn’t charge rent during that period. They didn’t make any attempt to use the land themselves for those years. Nor did they learn about property laws that are literally hundreds of years old.

    If the Kirlins had done so much as ask the Stevens to stay off the land for an evening because they wanted to have their own party on it, or park a car on it for a weekend, that would have prevented the adverse posession (by resetting the 25 year clock).

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  67. Uh oh... Cleveland says:

    I don’t understand why the judge doesn’t think that paying taxes on the land would defeat the claim for adverse possession? That should be enough to show that you intend to possess it.

  68. JiminyChristmas says:

    The origins of the law of adverse possession date from the time when owning land, or having access to land, played the central role in one’s survival and/or prosperity. No land meant no farm or ranch, which meant no food, which meant…good luck hunting and foraging.

    So, this wasn’t some complex legalese cooked up by crafty lawyers. It was a basic component of economic justice for a long, long time. The issue of fairness was: why should one individual hold arable land and do nothing with it for years on end while other people struggled to feed themselves?

    Granted, the concerns in this particular case don’t seem quite as dire, but there’s a little background for you.

  69. kc2idf says:

    The new owners are now on the hook for taxes. As such, the old owners should sue for back taxes.

  70. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    I would feel a little more sorry for these people if adverse possession wasn’t a property doctrine that’s existed since oh……..the beginning of this country and probably a couple hundred of years before that. If you don’t want people taking your land – DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    How come they waited for more than 25 years to do anything about it? If someone was building a garden on my land, they’d see a lawsuit so fast it would make them dizzy.

  71. Uh oh... Cleveland says:

    @krom: So what? They shoulnd’t have to. It’s not like the Stevens paid a purchase price or any taxes on it. Just because the Kirins didn’t want to be jerk neighbors (unlike the Stevens, who didn’t feel they had to secure any permission to use the land), they lose their land? What noble purpose does that serve?

  72. mysticone says:

    @macinjosh:

    What could you say? “That’s my property. I’ve allowed you to use it for a number of years because I didn’t have an immediate use for it and I wanted to be nice, but it’s my property and will remain my property until I decide to sell it.”

  73. mysticone says:

    @krom:

    But, that shouldn’t invalidate their ownership of the land, simply because they let somebody else use it. It’s definitely a set of laws that needs to be reviewed.

  74. mysticone says:

    @Jeff from LA:

    I’m just speculating, but, I’d imagine it’s because they 1) didn’t know about adverse possession laws and 2) were just being nice people because they weren’t using the land for anything at that time.

  75. rosy501 says:

    @DeeJayQueue: @krom: @macinjosh: @krom: et al: If you do a quick Google search for the case, further detail explains that the Kirlins have kept up their land with HOA fees and regular weeding and, more importantly, *have never once seen their neighbors on their land*. They never “allowed” the neighbors to use it. They didn’t know it was being used by their neighbors for a walkway or parties, and McLean and Stevens have no proof of any of these parties or other usage.

    This article and video further explains that they have aerial photos that show no path that their neighbors claim they’ve worn into the land: [www.myfoxcolorado.com]

    I’m surprised so many responses have sided with the grabby neighbors. I’m glad to hear from the devil’s advocates, but even with the existence of the adverse possession law, this seems like a blatant manipulation of the law.

    Not to mention that McLean and Stevens have now filed papers asking the Kirlins to pay for their neighbors’ court fees (!!). “Let me take you to court for a third of your land and then make YOU pay for it!”?? That’s just plain rude.

  76. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    Here’s the thing, if they were just being nice people, they could have asked their neighbors to sign an agreement that said, we, the owners “permit you to use the land.”

    If they had done that, it would have been sufficient to defeat the adverse possession claim, since adverse possession requires “hostile” possession of the land. Written permission would defeat the claim.

    I hope other nice people do this instead from now on.

  77. Pylon83 says:

    @Skiffer: @JiminyChristmas:
    Hostile, in the sense of adverse possession, means that both sides think they own the land. The “Adverse possessor” must THINK he/she owns the land in order for it to be considered hostile. If he/she knows, or really admits to knowing, that they do not own the land, it is not hostile and their claim is defeated.

  78. sodium11 says:

    The right to own property is not a God-given right; it is constructed by society through laws, for specific reasons. The whole idea behind property rights is to maximize the collective benefits to society that result from land being put to productive use.

    Land is not a consumer good like a car or an iPod. The inherent value of a piece of land is rooted in the economic gain that can be generated by that land – through agriculture, commerce, etc. Private ownership of land creates an incentive for the individual owner to maximize the productive value of that land, and generate economic activity that would not take place in the absence of that incentive.

    Someone who buys land and simply abandons it to be encroached upon and used by others openly and continuously for decades, and who cannot be bothered to register a protest, evict the trespassers, or establish the terms of authorized use, can rightly be considered to have legally relinquished his claim to the land.

    It’s a good law, and it’s being applied exactly as intended, according to the reports.

  79. girly says:

    I think it is also suspicious that a Judge is using the law to his advantage, and didn’t inform the family of what the implications might be.

    Makes him look like a greedy opportunist neighbor.

  80. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    Obviously I don’t have the court pleadings before me, so I have no idea what evidence McLean and Stevens used to prove their adverse possession claim, but in general, adverse possession requires open/notorious, exclusive, hostile possession. If there was no way of telling that McLean and Stevens were using the property, then the adverse possession claim should not have been granted because that would have been neither open or notorious, and probably not exclusive possession.

    On the other hand, the reason we’re not siding with the owners is because the claim required 25 years. I can’t imagine not noticing my sneaky neighbors doing stuff on my property if it goes on for 25 years!

  81. girly says:

    @sodium11: what if they were maintaining it and didn’t know it was being encroached upon?

  82. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    @Pylon83:
    That’s not exactly true. They don’t have to believe they own the land. Hostile refers to hostile to the interest of the owner. As long as the adverse possessor’s possession is hostile to the interest of the possessor (i.e. they don’t have permission) that is enough. That’s why adverse possession protects squatter’s rights even though squatters know they don’t own the land.

  83. Red_Eye says:

    More info here;

    [www.landgrabber.org]

    Two interesting notes BLM GIS and even google may have aerial photos of the land, if its overgrown with scrubb in all past photos that could help an appeal.

    Secondly instead of posting no trespass signs post “you are allowed to use this land signs with no other rights” is an idea I floated by a friend in the legal field and they said potentially it could protect someone in a case like this (gotta check your local regs tho IANAL).

  84. mysticone says:

    @sodium11:

    So, what is the productive value of the land as a residence? If I have more land than I do house, and I have portions of my yard that I rarely go into, should that land be forcibly taken from me because I’m not “maximizing the productive value of that land?” If the owners had protested the alleged use of their land, but still didn’t do anything with it, that wouldn’t satisfy your requirement for land to be utilized for economic gain, would it?

  85. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    For people unfamiliar with adverse possession, Wikipedia has a great article: [en.wikipedia.org]

  86. David_B says:

    @sodium11: I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe that the land in question is probably zoned for residential use. In other words, they can’t build a hog farm or a store front there. Land doesn’t have to be productive in that sense.

    The inherent value of a piece of land is not always rooted in the economic gain that can be generated either. A residential piece of property usually doesn’t generate an economic gain, at least not agriculturally or commercially. The value of a piece of land is rooted solely in the demand for it. If it’s a nice area, and people would like to live there and are willing to pay a premium for it. That demand is what gives it value, because someone else would take it for a certain price.

    Again, they did not abandon it! They lived down the street and maintained the land.

  87. Raanne says:

    All the original owners had to do was give them permission to use the land, instead of just ignoring it. written permission stops adverse possession (as it is not “adverse” anymore).

    dont want a neighbor to do this to you? put something in writing, thats all it takes. or if you have a written record of you asking them to move, suddenly the time clock is back down to zero.

  88. mysticone says:

    @Raanne:

    But it’s ridiculous that something like that is required to begin with. I’d actually never heard of such laws, but now that I have (thanks Consumerist!) I’ll make sure I don’t ever end up in a similar situation.

  89. Crymson_77 says:

    For all you goofusses that keep saying they weren’t aware of the use and should lose it…the article goes on to explain that the claims made by the a$$hole land grabber are not actually factual and it is a complete misuse of the law by an ex-judge, probably in cahoots with the judge who oversaw the case. They should both be thrown in jail for conspiracy to defraud and theft.

  90. Veeber says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Just because you have a mortgage does not mean that they own the house. Your name is on the title and you are the owner. They have a lien on your house. If they owned the house it would be a lot easier to kick you out and take it from you if you default. This is a huge distinction.

  91. suburbancowboy says:

    Adverse Possession is taught in most basic business courses. It is not like they found some strange loophole to gain control of the property. That said, it is really a lousy thing to do to your so-called neighbors.

    This law is better used when someone plants a garden on unused land next to railroad tracks or an empty lot owned by the government.

  92. sodium11 says:

    @Mysticone, @David_B :

    I am not saying that failure to put land to productive use is automatic grounds for forfeiture – only that the totality of our property laws are based upon certain moral and economic principles, and the law of adverse possession is consistent with those principles.

    If I’m not using a corner of my yard, no big deal. But if my neighbor puts a garden there and asserts control over that corner, and I fail to contest that for decades, I have effectively said to him, “ok, you can have it”.

    Even if I am maintaining the remainder of my land, I have relinquished that corner.

  93. erratapage says:

    Adverse possession isn’t about land use policy. It’s more about evidence of ownership in a world that didn’t have precise instruments or documentary evidence. Even in the present day, it recently came to our attention that there was an error on our survey. We are good with our neighbors, but when one of us sells, we’ll have to figure out what our lot lines are supposed to be.

    I don’t relish that.

    I think there is a possibility that the judge in this case was mistaken, because it sounds as if the landowners may have given permission for the “squatters'” use. If so, adverse possession may not lie.

    In other words, you can give your neighbors permission to use your land, and then, they can’t take it by adverse possession. On the other hand, if you don’t give permission, and they use it anyway, you could lose it the land.

    I recommend granting permission in writing and renewing it periodically.

  94. mysticone says:

    @sodium11:

    Where we disagree is that I don’t think that allowing someone use of your property without explicit permission implicitly transfers ownership of said property to said squatter.

    If you’ve bought the land and are paying property tax on it, that should be the only thing that matters. That’s why I feel these laws need to either be revised or removed entirely, because I can’t think of any good case where these types of laws could be good in this day and age.

  95. Raanne says:

    @mysticone:

    A good case / example would be if you built your garage 1 ft over the property line, because you were mis-informed as to where tha tproperty line was. you and your neighbor lived happily for 20 years with it that way. The neighbor goes to sell their house, discovers the encrochment, etc… this way you dont have to demolish the garage, and then build a new one 1 ft over.

  96. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    This is just stupid. My folks used to let the next door neighbors use the back part of the lawn for a horseshit pit and a small garden, since the way the property was built there was no room in thier own yard that got direct sunlight. They happily agreed, since they got free strawberries, and they got along. Now, you are telling me that the neighbors could have just taken the land since they used it with permission?

  97. Pylon83 says:

    @Jeff from LA:
    If they know they don’t own the land, and know they don’t have permission, it is called trespassing. They have to intend to exercise ownership of the land and reject the idea that anyone else owns it. If the adverse possessor acknowledges that someone else owns the land, it is trespassing, and cannot ripen into adverse possession.
    “The requirement of possession that is hostile or adverse does not mean that the claimant must show ill will or malevolence. It simply means that the claimant show that by his actions he is asserting the exclusive right to the property in denial of the true owner’s title.” (39 AMJUR POF 2d 261
    Acquisition of Title to Property By Adverse Possession).

  98. Consumer-X says:

    @Freedomboy: No and the fact that the property losers paid those taxes means nothing.

  99. dlynch says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.: not at all. permission defeats an adverse possession claim – if you are allowed to use property, your use is not hostile.

  100. Consumer-X says:

    All they had to do was to send a letter to the land grabbers before the 10 or 20 year period and simply grant them a license or permission to use the land. That would have stopped the land grab.

  101. David_B says:

    @Raanne: Wouldn’t it be fair to at least have to compensate them for the land you have taken? If you were negligent enough to build a structure on someone else’s land, I think you should have to pay. You have reduced the size of their land. You shouldn’t be able to just say, “Oops, oh well, mine now.” If you were truly misinformed, by a city surveyor for example, there are avenues available by which you could pursue compensation for the mistake. The property owner should be the one with the rights, since they own the land.

  102. mysticone says:

    @Raanne:

    In a case like that, I’d say at minimum, I should have to pay the owner of the property fair market value for the 1 foot of property I’d be taking from him. He shouldn’t have to simply give it to me because he didn’t notice that it was 1 foot over the property line.

  103. Raanne says:

    @mysticone:

    if you didn’t have the money, should he be allowed to tear down the 1′ of garage on his property?

    and taxes shouldn’t lay claim to anything – who ever owns the land pays teh taxes. when you gain possession of the land, you start paying the taxes on the land.

  104. SeraSera says:

    If there were 25 years of land improvement involved, it sounds pretty Boulder-ish. But I’m willing to put up with the occasional flash of Boulder weirdness if it means Boulder will stop RMCC from expanding to the size of Wal-Marts in a rural zones and keep up its open-space policies.

  105. David_B says:

    @Raanne: Yep.

    Would you think it was fair if I built an extension of my house onto your front yard, and then said it was mine?

  106. chrisdag says:

    I’ve seen this situation personally with the addition of personal multi-family feuds that date back decades …

    My GF’s parents have a lake house on a large and popular lake in Maine. The area is a former hunting lodge and resort dating back to the 1800s which was split into a series of on-water and away-from-water lots sometime in the 1900’s.

    All of the off-water lots have deeds that clearly state that they have water access and the old paperwork shows where these routes are.

    The problem is that the “on paper” routes differ from the paths people have been using for the past 40+ years. Technically many of these access paths go through other homeowner’s property.

    One neighbor with a lawyer daughter decided to try to get cute and filed quit-claim paperwork and made other aggressive attempts to enlarge their lot.

    Neighbors had to shell out expensive money to hire surveyers and lawyers themselves and it generated a lot of ill-will in a small and gossipy community.

    The rub? Not only did the land-grabbing neighbors get proven wrong by deed lookups and surveyors but one of the neighbors who was most ill-treated was suprised to learn that the land-grabbing folk had a septic system and leach field that extended more than 15 feet into his property.

    This poor old guy who had to shell out hard earned dollars to survey and protect his home had the pleasant duty of delivering a certified letter to the neighbors asking them to kindly relocate their expensive septic and leach field before year end :)

  107. mysticone says:

    @Raanne:

    That’s a separate issue. Either way, the owner of said infringed property would be owed money, and the owner of said infringing property would be required to pay it, have a lien placed against their property, etc. This isn’t particularly different from any other issue where the court orders one person to pay a sum to another.

    As far as paying taxes goes, the fact that the owner of the property has purchased their property and continues to pay taxes on the property should be more than enough proof that they’re the rightful owners of that property. They’re paying what’s legally required of them to maintain their ownership, so, it should be maintained.

  108. deserthiker says:

    Don’t the Kirlins understand how land disputes are supposed to be settled in the West? Mr. Kirlin should have come out with his shotgun and shot his neighbors. As he did so he should have yelled, get offa my land, you dirty polecat!!

  109. Pylon83 says:

    If anyone wants a fairly good explanation of Adverse Possession as applied in Colorado, see if you can find Schuler v. Oldervik, 143 P.3d 1197 using Google, or whatever you might have access to. It breaks it down element by element in a case regarding a driveway.

  110. Squeezer99 says:

    did you guys know that subsurface mineral rights take priority over surface property rights?

  111. FromThisSoil says:

    These people and the presiding judge make me sick.

  112. HeHateMe says:

    It’s sad how this “neighbor” turned on their friend who allowed them to use their land. One good deed deserves a lawsuit? I agree with whoever said that they should be responsible for all of the past taxes on the property during the past 25 years. What a couple of assholes. I hope it was worth it to them. I hope someone sues them and takes something of theirs they worked hard for to purchase and pay for. They are a prime example of what is wrong with the entitled jerks of this country who think that the world owes them a favor. They should at least have to pay them for the value of the property, otherwise this is a basic form of “legal” theft.

  113. WV.Hillbilly says:

    @Pylon83:
    It’s not trespassing if you don’t notify the offending party.

  114. Sam Glover says:

    As a lawyer, these are fascinating reactions. Adverse possession is old and very well-established property law. This isn’t really legal trickery. Anyone who works with real estate would know about it, at the very least, and the risk of adverse possession is one reason why people usually get a survey before buying or selling property.

    As some have pointed out, of course, that doesn’t mean a person is wise to adversely possess another’s land.

    To those planning a hostile takeover of Yosemite, you cannot adversely possess public land.

  115. Skiffer says:

    Can I adversely possess part of my employer’s land – namely the small “plot” where my ass has been sitting in front of a computer, after 25 years?

  116. mysticone says:

    @Sam Glover:

    While it would make sense to have this explored when buying or selling land, is the average person expected to know about adverse possession (and their risk for having their property taken from them under these laws) when they’re not in the process of buying or selling property?

  117. Pylon83 says:

    @WV.Hillbilly:
    That is wholly incorrect. Going onto the land of another without permission is trespassing regardless of notice. The landowner may not chose to prosecute, but the simple act of going onto the land of another without permission is trespassing. “No Trespassing” signs are simply a way to let people know that have come upon the land of another who will not tolerate even a small trespass. Basically, a “No Trespassing” sign is saying “Don’t break the law”. A “No Murdering” sign would accomplish the same thing. It’s illegal whether there is a sign or not.

  118. jld says:

    Here’s the google map of the property in question… [tinyurl.com]

    You can see that this isn’t about a rock garden and a place to stack wood. It’s about preventing them from building a house and blocking their view. While I think the owner should be able to notice and permit the neighbors for using their land, I think it is bad grapes and bad neighbors to prevent them from building a home on their land at this point. This story is a good education for all of us in property rights!

  119. huginn says:

    Use it or lose it.

    Cheap? assholish? Yes yes. But if you are going to let someone come into your yard and take your stuff and not say anything. Tough cookies.

  120. PaulMorel says:

    wow. just wow.

    If I lived in Boulder, I would egg these people’s house for a year…

    … ok, not really, but I would make sure that Ms. Levy didn’t get reelected.

  121. dirtymoney says:

    Wait a minute! So… if i park my car in my neighbors driveway for years & they dont complain about it…. then I can legally take that part of their property away from them if they never actively used it? This is absurd & outrageous!

    Now if the owners of this land owed tons of backtaxes, a blight to the neighborhood and was just a nusiance….. then MAYYYYYYYYBE I could see some almost valid reasons for forfeiture of the property to someone who could afford to improve upon it.

    Christ! I think maybe I should squat on a bunch of prime, but disused land & then claim rightfull ownership!

    After reading the article…. I have to suspect that because he was the former mayor & a district judge for the city…. the decision was influenced by His cronies in the city’s judicial & government system.

    These kinds of stories truely disturb me.

    I guess good deeds really DO never go unpunished!

    Lesson…. be an asshole to your neighbor & never allow them to use your property for anything! I guess good fences often do make good neighbors! Too bad they didnt have it fenced off.

    you know…. My parents own 60 acres of land for their horsefarm & have used a 10 acre fenced off area of the neighbors for 20+years as grazing land (its fenced off so that only my parents have access). Either it was a surveying error or a verbal agreement or not a verbal agreement. Its been so long that I am sure noone knows the truth. But it seems that under the law my parents can legally claim ownership? Note: a while back I noticed orange surveyer’s tape all over the trees on this part of the land, but the neighbors havnt said anything to anyone. Also… i noticed the property lines descrepancy years ago while I was checking out plattmaps of the area, brought it to my parents’ attention & they brushed it off & didnt want to talk about it…. maybe they are preparing for a takeover? lol!

  122. Promethean says:

    @dlynch:

    Who are you, DLYNCH, the plaintif? I’m glad I don’t live next to you. And who’s to say what the highest and best use is? That’s a pretty slipery slope. It’s not a huge leap to say that people and their talents, like land is partially a public resource, and should be put to their highest and best use as well, even if it’t not what the person wants. It seems you’re aquainted with what the law says on this matter, but I’d encourage you to think about deeper implications of what’s going on here, and whether, independantly of the law, it is a good or bad thing.

  123. Pylon83 says:

    @Promethean:
    Nothing in the law says you have to actually “put it to use”, but you simply have to protect it by excluding others. If you don’t notice that someone else is using your land for over 18yrs, it’s likely that you are not only failing to use it, but also failing to protect it and exclude all others (a right of a property owner). You can let the land sit vacant and not touch it for 100 years as long as you don’t ignore the fact that other people are using it without your permission.

  124. HOP says:

    this one really ticks me off…..if it’s my land for 100 yrs,and i’m paying taxes on it, what half assed law give some clown the right to take it over????
    i would be involved in a little “land rage”……..

  125. Promethean says:

    @Pylon83:

    I think we should distinguish between “don’t notice” and “didn’t mind”. Prior to reading this, I certainly would never have thought to formally and in writing grant permission for something like this. We don’t know the exact context of this continued use, but it sounds like these people were in a similar situation. What bothers me about this case most is that the land-grab didn’t happen until after the owners were about to build a house there.

  126. Torabo says:

    If more of you read more on the informations provided about this case, it would become apparent that the people who ‘claimed’ to have used the land for so long can’t actually provide an photo evidence of the so called parties they have held on the land for what? 18 years? There was also a claim that the supposed walking path did not seems like it was there for too long. ‘Sides, any decent person, who knows they’d have a use for a piece of land should always approach another to purchase it, not squat until it becomes theirs. And for those that say people who own land should know about this law and have ended it long ago with a permission to use the land or what not, first of all you don’t know if the couple who claimed to have used the land has actually used it in a very open manner, and second of all, I am sure you don’t know all the laws relating to all the items you own either. Judging from a lot of the responses to this article, I guess my cynical belief that more people are morally unjust than not isn’t so cynical after all.

  127. Charles Duffy says:

    @humphrmi: Untrue. The principal applies to trademarks, but not to copyrights.

  128. maztec says:

    Nothing new here. Adverse possession has been around for al ong time and in terms of quieting title makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, things just get messy.

    Should they charge back-rent for the property instead? This is the property owners own-fault for not taking care of this earlier.

    That and for not hiring a good lawyer. They could have argued, perhaps successfully, that they had given consent to this use early on and that it was at no point violating their right – they just felt no need to boot them off.

  129. Valhawk says:

    Adverse possesion is not exactly a new idea, it is quite old and has a valid and useful purpose, that being to prevent unused property from falling into decay by both rewarding someone else who takes care of sans assistance and/or approval of the real owner and by forcing people to actually utelize their property.

    That being said the Steven’s were a bit heavy handed. While their action may or may not have been justified, it’s not going to earn them much goodwill. Quite the opposite actually their neighbors will hate them and the Stevens will probably have to move because they picked one hell of a town to persue this action in. They should expect protesters and other things aimed at making their lives a living hell and driving them out of town.

    People here who are moaning about how people don’t have property rights and such anymore have no ground to stand on with the idea of Adverse Possesion. It just makes sure that property is actually utelized and not just left to decay.

  130. swalve says:

    @Brad2723: It’s been around forever. Get educated before you start whining.

  131. vongarr says:

    They still own the damned land. Stuff like this would cause gun fire 200 years ago. Now it causes lawyers to get happy.

  132. mistaketv says:

    @DeeJayQueue: I totally agree about the commenters on the originating site. It’s obvious that like so many people, they take limited evidence (one newspaper account), react emotionally to it, and allow their minds to snap shut, never to be swayed from their initial conclusion. They don’t try to ascertain facts or understand the legal issues and their implications. It’s much easier to come up with conspiracy theories and condemn their opponents as evil.

  133. girly says:

    We can know the legality and still balk at the ethics.

  134. Woofer00 says:

    @medic78: If the original owners permitted the use of the land by the neighbors, meaning they noted it and made it clear to adverse possessors that they knew of the use and permitted it, then adverse possession almost immediately dies. Adverse possession has a requirement built into the term – “adverse.” The adverse possessor needs to possess the land against the will of the former owner.

  135. cde says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.: One, your parents gave permission. Two, they have a valid contract (They get free strawberries for free use of the land)

  136. Rusted says:

    @mysticone: May not be nice, but Adverse Possession is a well recognized legal way of getting land. If the original owners couldn’t be responsible for at least putting up a token fence or even a piece of string in all that time, they earned their loss.

  137. RvLeshrac says:

    @Consumer-X:

    You’re being a twit. The land-owners allowed the use of the land because they weren’t using it. That’s not excuse for land theft.

    My family owns land that we never set foot on, because it is surrounded by and covered with trees. Someone could build a house there and we’d never know it. The point is that we *like* having untouched wooded land.

    This law was designed implicitly to handle cases where lot lines were indistinct, and where one party had built an immovable structure over the line. Where the land-line is clear and the use is temporary (use that would not cause adversity were the landowner to assert their rights and call for a survey), these laws do not apply.

  138. saralegal21 says:

    All property laws require a person to do is exert the barest minimum of vigilance in protecting their property rights. And the person is given a huge amount of time in which to do so–20 years in most states. All that person has to do is exert some basic control over their property and it stops the adverse possession clock.

    We may have certain rights in this country but a lot of them require you to assert them or waive them. For example, if you don’t assert your right to an attorney in a criminal trial in a timely manner, you are deemed to waive it. In property law, if you don’t assert your right to your property at some point, it might be waived through adverse possession as well.

  139. bgeek says:

    “Keep your hedges trimmed, but don’t cut them down.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

  140. Mr. Moto says:

    From the Daily Camera site :

    “In Colorado, the law requires a person to essentially trespass unchallenged on another person’s land for 18 years and says it must be done in a “hostile” and “uninterrupted” manner – among other things – before adverse possession can be claimed.

    State Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Evergreen, said he plans to draft a bill to be introduced at the start of the 2008 legislative session in January that would change the “hostile” requirement to a “good-faith” provision that would require people claiming adverse possession to generally believe that the land was theirs all along.

    Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, plans to co-sponsor the bill in the state Senate.

    Witwer said he became interested in the law after Boulder residents Don and Susie Kirlin lost a third of their vacant lot to their neighbors in an adverse-possession lawsuit. Richard McLean, a former judge and former Boulder mayor, and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, won the land last month.”

  141. hapless says:

    @Chris Vee:

    That depends on the state. In some states, the lender literally holds title on your mortgaged property until the mortgage is done with. In other states, you hold title, but the lender becomes a lienholder on it.

  142. Firstborn Dragon says:

    From what I read on the whole situation:

    a) The people walked though that lot daily and NEVER saw anyone on it.
    b) None of these so called proof existed even a year ago. The paths are not on aerial photos, there are no photos of any of these so called events. Even the gardens show little on these photos
    c) The judge in this case is a friend of the ex-judge who grabbed the land.

    Overall, the whole situation stinks.

  143. LiC says:

    Our neighbor put up a fence a few years back to keep our kids from running into their yard. Didn’t ask us to help with the cost just did it. Well, we had someone come by a few months later and they asked us about OUR nice new fence. Turns out that ownership of the fence is given to whoever has the ugly side facing their property. When our neighbors built it they left the pretty side facing their property.

  144. d070 says:

    Since when does “doing something” with land IMPROVE it? I have never seen anything made by man that has been an improvement over God’s work.

    Those people STOLE that property – PERIOD!

  145. d070 says:

    Would posting “NO TRESPASSING” signs assert one’s possession rights?