Minnesota Boundary Dispute Law Firm
Boundary disputes can arise between any two adjacent property owners. You should not assume that a survey will be the final word on the proper location of boundaries. Minnesota courts have frequently held that long-recognized lines of occupation may not be disturbed even if a survey reveals that the recognized property line is something other than what the survey provides. Anyone involved in an actual or potential boundary dispute should be familiar with the doctrines of adverse possession and acquiescence.
Adverse possession involves the nonconsensual or "hostile" use of another's land for a continuous period of more than 15 years. One who satisfies the requirements of adverse possession can file a court action to obtain title to the land that was adversely possessed. A person claiming adverse possession must show by clear and convincing evidence, an actual, open, hostile, continuous, and exclusive possession for 15 years. Adverse use by one's seller or other predecessor in title, called "tacking," may be considered to satisfy the 15-year requirement. Tacking is permitted by making a showing that the predecessors in title had open, actual, hostile, continuous, and exclusive possession of the land in dispute. Adverse possession disputes can be very contentious and fact-specific.
Acquiescence, like adverse possession, can also undermine legal property boundaries. The acquiescence required is not merely passive consent to the existence of a fence. Rather, it is conduct (or lack thereof) from the property owners relating to the fence as the actual boundary line, and how that conduct may be reasonably inferred. When a fence is claimed to represent a boundary line under an acquiescence theory, one of the most important factors is whether the parties attempted and intended to place the fence as near the dividing line as possible. For acquiescence, the property line must be relied upon by one of the landowners. This reliance is an important factor. Reliance can proved by showing that a landowner decided to build a shed or structure adjacent to, or over the property line in reliance on what he or she thought was the actual property line. Unlike adverse possession, acquiescence does not require "hostility." Parties often succeed on a claim for acquiescence when they are unable to meet the more exacting requirements for adverse possession. However, acquiescence does require the same 15-year period of continuous usage as also required in adverse possession claims.
Determination of Boundaries
Determination of boundaries can be determined by filing a petition in court to have all or some of the common boundary lines judicially determined.
Contact an Attorney
If you have an question regarding your property line and are thinking about needing pursuing a claim against your neighbor regarding the actual or legal property line, contact Blahnik, Prchal & Stoll for legal guidance. If you have been served with a Complaint from your neighbor making a claim against your property, or if you have just received a letter in the mail from an attorney stating that there may be an issue with your property line, you will also want to contact our firm to obtain legal advice or representation.