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Permission Will Prevent Future Adverse Possession Claim

Question: We have an excellent relationship with our next-door neighbors. All of us even went to Glendale High School together years ago. Last week the husband came over to our house and said that, because they are widening their driveway, they would like to purchase a three-foot strip of our land. If we did not want to sell this three-foot strip of land, they would even be willing to rent this three-foot strip of land. Although we do not want to sell this three-foot strip of land or even take any rent money, we have no objection to our neighbors using this three-foot strip of land now. If our neighbors sell their home, however, we want this three-foot strip of land back. How do we avoid losing this three-foot strip of land to adverse possession and still be good neighbors?

Answer: Adverse possession requires that the possession of a neighbor’s land be without the permission of the owner of the property for ten years. If permission is given to your neighbor, there can be no adverse possession. Therefore, you and your neighbors should sign a written license (i.e., permission) agreement drafted by an attorney, and with a legal description from a surveyor for this three-foot strip of land. Alternatively, in order to save costs, your email giving permission to your neighbors, and with a diagram marking off the three feet, should be sufficient.

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