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Adverse Possession/Help please

Discussion in 'Urgent - Help Needed' started by Ray Miller, Mar 1, 2006.

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  1. Ray Miller

    Ray Miller Elite Member

    0
    Feb 20, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Wisconsin
    Doing two vacant lots for a township so they can figure a price to place them on the market for sale.


    One of the lots of course is Wisconsin River frontage no big deal.

    After taking the job, then talking with the townchair I find out the following.

    Also the home owners on each side filled me as I was looking at the lot.

    The second lot is starting to pose a problem. I have land owners on each side who are in the process of claiming adverse possession. They have mowed and taken care of the subject lot for over 10 years. The township has done nothing with it. One of the owners has part of his paved driveway across the property also for over ten years. They don't want the town to sell the lots. They were given to the township for parks. But the township needs money.

    How would you approach this as an appraisal problem as the value? Would you do a Hypo as if there is no fight in on the horizon?
     
  2. Marcia Langley

    Marcia Langley Senior Member

    0
    Aug 26, 2005
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Missouri
    Ray,

    I think as you are explaining the encroachment and its effect on value, you should at least mention the information regarding the neighbors professed intentions.

    Since your client is the owner, it is information they should have. I think your hypo should include the assumption that the issues can be resolved.
     
  3. Jerry Lieb

    Jerry Lieb Junior Member

    0
    Aug 14, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Ray,

    Just did an appraisal of some commercial vacant land a couple of months ago involving a neighboring house whose circular driveway encroached significantly on my client's land - and has done so for over 10 years. There is about 50' of encroachment...!

    The home owner approached me while I was measuring and photographing and told me that it has always been unclear where the property boundaries were.

    Here in California, there are various laws regarding adverse possession. I am not an attorney, but it is my understanding that the encroacher must not only encroach openly and "notoriously", but must also make the tax payments in order to acquire the land by adverse possession. This neighbor did not make the tax payments on my client's land. However, an attorney told me that if it went to court, the judge would most likely grant a "prescriptive easement" which would mean that the encroacher would have a more or less permanent easement to use the land he occupies for his driveway.

    I advised my client of my findings and was asked to value the property as though the encroachment did not exist. That is what I did. I sufficiently described the situation, and made this a hypothetical valuation. There was enough verbage in my report to protect me, you can be sure. That was the only way I felt comfortable handling that assignment.

    Last I heard, my client was going to try to purchase the encroacher's home.
     
  4. Ray Miller

    Ray Miller Elite Member

    0
    Feb 20, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Wisconsin
    In Wisconsin you just need to use the land openly. If the owner dose not approach you and tell you move on. In seven years you can claim adverse possession. I belive that is what I learn in my Real Estate Sales and Broker Classes as well as in all the courses for Appraisal.

    There was a case here in Wisconsin a few year ago where a man took care of 80 acres of trees along the Wisconsin River. The land belong to one of the paper outfits. It was a tree farm. They failed for some reason to care for this 80 acres. The man after seven years went to court and won. He has a small acreage next to it he lived on mowed the 80 trimed the weeds and used it to fish from. No one ever run him off, so I understand the judge said it yours, trees and all.

    The township knows that these people are planning on going to court.
     
  5. David Wimpelberg

    David Wimpelberg Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    42
    Mar 30, 2005
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    New York
    Hi Ray,

    Laws regarding adverse possession vary by state. It would be good to speak to an attorney or an expert appraiser on matters such as this. The land in this case is owned by a municipality. There may be laws that prohibit adverse possession against land owned by a municipality. I know for a fact that this is this case here in NY.

    If you're interested

    "Once the court determined that the State owned the land, it held that, as a matter of law, plaintiff’s claim of adverse possession was without merit under the rule that land held in a public or governmental capacity may not be lost by adverse possession"

    http://www.dos.state.ny.us/cnsl/comments/yachtclub.htm
     
  6. Stone

    Stone Elite Member

    12
    Feb 1, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Wisconsin
    Hi Ray,

    There is a little more to it than what you have posted. Here is a fairly common sense explanation from a county web-site:

    Also, I believe what David referenced regarding NY is likely to be about the same here. I'm not that familiar with adverse posession issues, but that sounds like something I've read or heard before.

    If you google/yahoo "adverse posession wi" you get a lot of information.
     
  7. Stone

    Stone Elite Member

    12
    Feb 1, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Wisconsin
    You could call the Realtor's legal hotline. I have done that once in the past for a different issue. They gave ok advice and can certainly help you with where to get more info.
     
  8. Don Clark

    Don Clark Elite Member

    7
    Jan 17, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Virginia
    Government owned land ?

    Ray,

    I believe that in most states you cannot claim land by adverse possession. That is true here in Virginia. I would check with the local ADA or whomever represents the city, county but I do not believe they can claim government land by adverse possession.:shrug:
     
  9. Stone

    Stone Elite Member

    12
    Feb 1, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Wisconsin
    Hi Ray,

    I got a verbal confirmation from a good source, though it isn't a legal opinion.

    As I understand it right now, government lands cannot be claimed by adverse posession. That has not always been the case, but it has been for some time.

    Also, adverse posession typically doesn't mean that the claimant receives full fee title rights, but instead receives the right to continue to use the property in the same way as before. Basically, they receive a prescriptive easement.

    Again, this is not from a lawyer, so you will definitely need to look farther. Hopefully, though, this helps some.
     
  10. xm72mhd

    xm72mhd Elite Member

    0
    Aug 13, 2005
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    State:
    Florida
    Never did a darned legaql thing in Wisconsin and I don't think I've ever read a case from there, but I was taught adverse possession can't run against the soveriegn (taht's the government for us). So while the mowing is a good thing the neighbors will have to be satisfied with that for a reward. If this were a Colorado case the facts you quote would be a so-what legally. Check Wisconsin law though.
     
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