What is adverse possession?

Adverse possession is a common law that allows a person to acquire title to real property without mutual agreement by the parties.  Adverse possession is confusing, complicated, and can often be very emotional.  While it is relatively rare, our regional stewardship managers frequently get asked questions about it.

We have prepared a handout regarding adverse possession, which includes steps you can take to protect yourself from it.  

It is not unusual for the easement stewardship team to find encroachments along easement boundaries.  In some cases, an encroachment by an abutter is also a third party violation of the easement.  More often, the abutter’s encroachment is an activity permitted by the easement, such as a garden or foot path.  For encroachments that are not easement violations, correcting the encroachment is a matter for the landowner and abutter to resolve.  However, if the encroachment is not addressed, it may ripen into adverse possession. 

If you have questions about adverse possession and how it relates to your conservation easement, contact Naomi Brattlof, Easement Stewardship Manager.