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Posted: 4/16/2006 8:16:08 PM EST
Alright I hope this is the right place to get some answers. Need some information on adverse possession in Washington State, Current ones.

Here is the story, we have a farm that borders two other farms. Over the years they have been pushing the line and because of the crops we raise we dont plow as often as them. We knew that they have been farming some of our land, but there is no boundry line between us. No fence. This year they plowed 10 more yards on to us. But push came to shove and one of the farmers is going to sell his land and make ranchettes. We wanted to get our land back, so we hired a survey crew out and see where the line is.

Now this "boundry" is two miles long between us and the two other farmers. Come to find out the line is a slight v shape. twenty yards at the top and bottom and 140 yards in the middle. We put fence posts up and now get a call from both farmers wanting to claim adverse possession. They basically made the v shape line straight and added some more. Looking at 30 acres total.

Any help you guys can provide would be great. I know some of you can find gun laws in WA and I need that for adverse possession.

Thanks for you time.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 8:46:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2006 9:00:10 PM EST by Da_Bunny]
Basically, you need to get a lawyer and wait them out in court. Since you didn't stop it in the beginning, they are laying claim to it because they were allowed to work it. The question boils down to who paid taxes on it.


"Every person in actual, open and notorious possession of lands or tenements under claim and color of title, made in good faith, and who shall for seven successive years continue in possession, and shall also during said time pay all taxes legally assessed on such lands or tenements, shall be held and adjudged to be the legal owner of said lands or tenements, to the extent and according to the purport of his or her paper title. All persons holding under such possession, by purchase, devise or descent, before said seven years shall have expired, and who shall continue such possession and continue to pay the taxes as aforesaid, so as to complete the possession and payment of taxes for the term aforesaid, shall be entitled to the benefit of this section."


atg.wa.gov/opinions/AGLOs/1973/opinion_1973_035.html

apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=7.28
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 8:49:33 PM EST
www.lectlaw.com/files/lat06.htm


ADVERSE POSSESSION

Many landowners are surprised to learn that under certain circumstances,
a trespasser can come onto land, occupy it and gain legal ownership of
it. The trespasser may acquire a few feet of property or whole acres in
this way. If someone is using your property, even a small strip on the
edge, you should be alert to the risk.

A trespasser may also gain a legal right to use part of someone else's
property; this is called a prescriptive easement. (See "Easements,"
below.)

The legal doctrine that allows trespassers to become owners is called
"adverse possession." Although the name sounds nasty (and the results
can be), the trespasser is not necessarily an intentional evildoer

Link Posted: 4/16/2006 8:52:20 PM EST
We have been paying the taxes on the land.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 8:53:23 PM EST
I dealing with a similar situation, but in my case the corners has been established for 60 years at least and run along a section line, well exceeding the seven year law.

It should not matter that no fence exists on the arable land the corners are still established and there should be no messing with boundry markers.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 8:56:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By WaMag:
We have been paying the taxes on the land.



You should be safe being that the section and township corners are still established, the thing to watch out for is if someone reregistared the property in meets and bounds instead of section and township, thats what the county is trying to do to me if I do not rebutt the claim.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 9:00:42 PM EST
But the problem is there is no boundry markers. That is why we had the survey crew come in. The two other farmers knew they were over on us, if the say in court is another thing. But nodody knew it was that much. Over time open land that is plowed lines can move.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 9:04:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2006 9:05:36 PM EST by STRATIOTES]

Originally Posted By WaMag:
But the problem is there is no boundry markers. That is why we had the survey crew come in. The two other farmers knew they were over on us, if the say in court is another thing. But nodody knew it was that much. Over time open land that is plowed lines can move.



The property is still described on your tax assesment and registered at the county, if you have been paying taxes and there is no new boundry marker establishing a boundry then according to RCW you still own whats registered at the county.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 9:15:29 PM EST
It really depends on how long the property has been encroached upon, the steps that were taken to stop it, and how good your lawyers are.
My inlaws are fighting the city-owned golf course about a fence in their backyard..
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 9:22:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By sixgunsblazing:
It really depends on how long the property has been encroached upon, the steps that were taken to stop it, and how good your lawyers are.
My inlaws are fighting the city-owned golf course about a fence in their backyard..



Yup, border wars can be really really unpleasent, I have been forced to spend hundreds of dollars fighting off false claims.

I got accused of having fill dirt in a critical area (swamp) that was not my property. it was quite a ways from my property but it was still a fight that took two years to get the county off my back.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 11:24:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By STRATIOTES:

Originally Posted By WaMag:
But the problem is there is no boundry markers. That is why we had the survey crew come in. The two other farmers knew they were over on us, if the say in court is another thing. But nodody knew it was that much. Over time open land that is plowed lines can move.



The property is still described on your tax assesment and registered at the county, if you have been paying taxes and there is no new boundry marker establishing a boundry then according to RCW you still own whats registered at the county.




From what I can recall, Strat is putting you in the right direction. If no new boundry was erected, and the taxes paid, it's yours, and should shake out in court, in your favor.


Let's hope the other two parties are represented by attorneys that'll advise them that this is a no-win case.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 2:19:47 AM EST
Key thing here is "over the years". I'm not sure if its the same or not, but there is a time period (7 years I think) in which is needed for them to lay claim to your land. ie a neighbor builds a fence betwenn your two properties that is say one foot into your property. If you don't do anything about it, after 7 years that part of your property now belongs to him.

I might be wrong here. If so, I'm sure someone will speak up. Good luck on the issue.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 5:49:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By Gibby:
...a neighbor builds a fence betwenn your two properties that is say one foot into your property. If you don't do anything about it, after 7 years that part of your property now belongs to him.




But like Wa-Mag stated, there was no new boundry erected. It's just them straying over onto his land with their machinery....
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 5:51:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By Matt45:

Originally Posted By Gibby:
...a neighbor builds a fence betwenn your two properties that is say one foot into your property. If you don't do anything about it, after 7 years that part of your property now belongs to him.




But like Wa-Mag stated, there was no new boundry erected. It's just them straying over onto his land with their machinery....



But they did plant crops, right? Planted and worked. It could be the same as boundaries.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 6:21:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By WaMag:
We put fence posts up and now get a call from both farmers wanting to claim adverse possession.



You are headed in the right direction by starting with the fence posts. If it were me, I would continue to fence the boundaries based on the survey you had completed and wait... it's up to them to bring suit in Court for adverse possession. I would NOT get into a debate with the neighbors about whether they have a valid claim or not, just fence it and let them make their arguements in Court. As I am not an attorney (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night) you should retain a good land use attorney now and get their advice on how to proceed. Again, your neighbors are the ones who have to initiate the lawsuit and it is then up to the Court, so I would get legal input now rather than later.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 5:08:11 AM EST
Thanks for all your help guys.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 10:35:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2006 10:45:12 AM EST by YOPD]
Here is another tactic that a real estate attorney told me to use in a similar situation I am dealing with myself (this is not legal advice, you really need an attorney, run this idea by your attorney and see what they think):

Send them a certified letter that says: "Happy new year! This is a license to use my property for your crops and directly related work for another year! This license can be revoked by the property owner at any time for any reason, but I'll likely wait until after the harvest before I would do anything like that. I wish you luck with this years harvest!" Sign it your legal name as shown with the county, and "Property Owner". See what happens. If the crops aren't planted or the land worked, then leave out the part about waiting.

If they don't challenge the "license to use your land" in any legal way, than you might have a great defense in court if/when you send them a revocation of license, piss them off, and they take you to court trying for a judgement of adverse possession.

ETA: Maybe this won't work in your situation. Tell them that adverse possession must be decided in court, by those claiming it, put up your fences, give your neighbors your attorney's phone number, and stop talking to them. They just want to steal from you. If they damage your fences, then they have damaged your personal property, whether they think it's on their land now or not.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 10:43:09 AM EST
You could implement the scorched earth policy.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 2:36:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2006 2:36:49 PM EST by Matt45]

Originally Posted By 2whiskeyP:
You could implement the scorched earth policy.




I know some Militia and Nat'l Guardsman collective anarchists that can help with that strategy!!!!!!!
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