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Private Involuntary Limits On Real Estate

There are private involuntary limits that can be placed on the private ownership rights of real estate. This refers to restrictions that are involuntarily placed on the full rights of the real estate by someone other than the owner. The involuntary limits are:

  • Liens - This refers to a legal claim against a property to secure the payment of a debt. A lien is a record listed with the deed at town hall. A lien says that someone has an interest in the property so that it cannot be sold without the lien being paid off or resolved. It's similar to a mortgage, only it usually involves: money owed from a court judgment, a repairman that was not paid for work done at the property, unpaid tax bills, etc.

  • Encroachments - This refers to something that is permanently located on someone else's property but it does not belong to the property owner of the real estate it is on. For example, let's say your neighbor has a driveway, fence, wall, or shed installed and the contractor accidentally places part of it on your property. Part of the driveway or fence is then said to be encroaching on your property.

  • Adverse Possession - This refers to a person obtaining ownership of some real estate that was originally owned by you. However, that person did not pay you for this property. For example, let's say your neighbor has a fence or a garage built and the contractor accidentally places part of it on your property. The part of the fence or garage that crosses over your property line is an encroachment. If this encroachment goes unnoticed and unchallenged for many years, then that part of your property becomes the ownership of your neighbor. This change in ownership happens without any compensation or payment to you.

    If this encroachment goes unnoticed and unchallenged for many years, then that part of your property becomes the ownership of your neighbor.

  • Prescriptive Easement - This refers to the fact that you must allow someone to have access to their property. For example, let's say someone purchased a lot behind your house. We'll assume that there was not an easement in your deed that granted them the right to walk through your yard, or build a driveway on your property, to get to their yard. You would have to allow them access to get to their property. You couldn't stop them by saying they're trespassing on your yard. They have the right to gain access to their property, with or without your consent.

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