A reader sent us the following question:
Dear Mr Ferrara:
We read with agreement your opinion in the article on Adverse Possession in the NYTimes, Sunday Nov.11 .
We are currently defendants in an adverse possession case in New York State that has been lengthy and costly. The only benefit of this law is to allow dishonest neighbors to acquire free land.
For the benefit of other honest homeowners who may be victims of this unfair law, can you suggest alternate ways to get justice other than hire expensive lawyers and endure the cumbersome legal system?
Is it possible for defendants to appeal to an arbitration court, land court or town council that can hear the case and judicate?
It saddens us to hear about these stories and rest assured we are most empathic to your plight.
Regrettably, until such time as the law is changed, property owners MUST remain vigilant about safeguarding their property lines.
Regular surveys and inspections are the best way to keep track of what's occurring. And, if a "trespass" is found, one must be proactive about addressing and correcting the situation.
While arbitration can be used to address disputes, all sides must consent in order for that process to be a viable option. And, should a neighbor draw a "line in the sand," the only "iron clad" way we can recommend to protect one's rights in these kind of cases is to file a lawsuit and secure an appropriate court order.*
We wish you well.
*Please keep in mind that his forum is intended to provide readers with generalized information and commentary. Thus, the foregoing response neither constitutes legal advice nor a definitive response to the question presented.
Readers are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney to secure a formal opinion which will more adequately and directly pertain to their particular circumstances.