Many people in Florida and elsewhere bequest property to their children when they die. A woman in another state inherited property that belonged to her parents, where they had built a home when they were in their 50s. The woman has been in possession of the property for decades, although she has never lived there and, in fact, lives hundreds of miles away.
A real estate battle has arisen between the woman and another man who reportedly claims that he should be able to take possession of the land under an old “adverse takeover” law that is still on the books.
Man’s house crosses a boundary line
The complex case involves the plaintiff, a man who purchased property that split the woman’s inherited plot of land in two. He has been living in a home that he remodeled, which was built on the original foundation of the home that the woman’s parents had built. The plaintiff said he only recently learned that the house he has been living in is partially located on the woman’s property.
Old law says a decade of uncontested possession grants ownership
The woman has repeatedly refused to sell the land. The plaintiff has since filed his claim to request that the judge overseeing the case name him the rightful owner of the land under an old law that would grant him ownership because he has had 10 years of uncontested possession of the land. He said the lawsuit is a mere formality that is needed to get the woman to agree to move the property line or to sell the land.
The woman said she feels like a small fish in a big pond in trying to protect her property rights and that she believes this is a racial issue because her family happens to be black. The law being cited was often used in the Civil War era as a way for wealthy white people to take land away from poor black property owners.
Support is available for those who encounter complex boundary issues
It is not uncommon for litigation to occur when issues regarding boundary lines arise between Florida property owners. It is important to clearly understand the wording of a property agreement before signing to avoid confusion or disputes down the line. An experienced real estate law attorney can recommend a best course of action if a person is struggling to resolve a specific property issue.