Property in New York City comes at a premium price. Property owners will pay substantially more per square foot to live in the Bronx than they would to live in a rural community in upstate New York. Both acreage outdoors and square footage within the house will command a price premium on the New York real estate market, which means that as a property owner, you want to carefully protect the property that is part of your home.
Unfortunately, other people can infringe on your property. Some people even do so intentionally in the hope of gaining some of that property or space for themselves. A misplaced fence, or an encroaching porch or addition to an existing structure, are examples of ways someone could try to alter the boundary for your property. If you don’t take action, they may be able to claim that land as their own under the legal concept of adverse possession.
How does adverse possession work in New York?
Adverse possession means taking ownership of a property without the permission of the owner on record. Adverse possession laws allow those who use and maintain a property to eventually claim ownership of it, especially if it has gone ignored by the current owner.
Under New York law, someone who is openly and obviously possessing someone else’s piece of property may eventually be able to ask the courts to adjust the title so that it belongs to them. A fence placed six inches over the property line could end up costing you many square feet of backyard space and negatively impact the value of your property.
Fighting back against adverse possession
If your neighbor has already built something that encroaches on your property or has announced their intention to, the first step you likely want to take will involve having a surveyor come out and review the boundaries.
Once you affirm that their fence or deck is on your property, you can then take legal action as necessary to enforce your right to that land and either force them to adjust their design or go back and move the fence or other improvements so that it does not cross over onto your property.