Use my land but please don’t steal it

How homeowners can protect property from adverse possession

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

DEAR BENNY: What are the rules for adverse possession? What can new homeowners do to protect themselves when buying property? What should homeowners do to protect their property from their neighbors? Should a small encroachment such as an A/C unit or a driveway with flower borders be addressed as soon as the encroachment is discovered? What is the current trend regarding adverse possession? Legal issues aside, when is claiming your neighbor's land ever really the right thing to do? --Melina DEAR MELINA: Adverse possession is a legal concept whereby if your neighbor uses a portion of your land for a period of time (which is established by state law) and the use is "open, notorious and hostile," your neighbor can go to court and ask a judge to order that the land now belongs to him or her. One judge defined adverse possession like this: "The person claiming the property by adverse possession must unfurl his flag on the land and keep it flying so that the ow...