Explaining Adverse Possession Rights In Fence Disagreement

A homeowner’s backyard fence is 8 feet over into his neighbor’s property and the neighbor wants him to move the fence.

The homeowner has only owned my home for six years, and the neighbor is claiming that he has no adverse possession rights to the 8 feet, although his home is more than 20 years old. And while the fence looks more than 20 years old, the homeowner is not exactly sure when it was built.

According to Arizona real estate law, does the homeowner have to tear down the fence?

The answer is probably not. By “tacking on” the adverse possession years of the prior owners of the home, the requirement of 10 years for adverse possession can be met.

Therefore, the homeowner should initially try to contact the individual who sold the home, look at any old photographs or aerial maps of the property, and talk to neighbors in the area to determine when the fence was built. Another place to contact is the city for the date of any building permit for the fence.

If the fence was built more than 10 years ago, the homeowner does own the 8 feet by adverse possession and are not required to tear down the fence.

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