CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. Action to settle a claim of title by adverse possession when the possessor was under a mistaken belief the encroached upon land belong to her.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Entry and possession of land for the required time which is exclusive, continuous, uninterrupted, visible and notorious, even though under a mistaken claim of title, is sufficient to support a claim of title by adverse possession. In order to be open and notorious, a minor encroachment along a boundary line must be known by the true possessor of the land.
There is every presumption that the occupancy is in subordination to the true title, and if the possession is claimed to be adverse the acts of the wrong-doer must be strictly construed and the character of the possession clearly shown.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether an entry and continued possession under the mistaken belief that the possessor has title to the lands involved, exhibits the requisite hostile possession to sustain the obtaining of title by adverse possession?
Whether the Defendant’s acts meet the standard of open and notorious?
Yes, a mistaken belief that the possessor has title to lands involved, exhibits the requisite hostile possession to sustain the obtaining of title by adverse possession.
No presumption of knowledge arises from a minor encroachment along a common boundary, unless the true owner has actual knowledge there of the possession.
Discussion. Acquisition of title by adverse possession requires possession that is open and notorious, actual and exclusive, continuous and hostile for the statutory period of time. A mistaken belief that the land in possession is the possessors land will satisfy the hostility requirement. If the encroachment is upon a common boundary and is only minor, the factors of open and notorious will not be satisfied unless the true owner of the property knew about the encroachment.