Question: Two weeks after we purchased our home in Chandler, we were told by our neighbor that our neighbor’s swimming pool and fence extend five feet into our backyard. Our neighbor’s building permit shows that the swimming pool and fence were built 12 years ago. Does our neighbor now own this five feet of our backyard?
Answer: Probably. Under the law of adverse possession, after ten years a landowner generally loses ownership of land that has been enclosed by a neighbor’s fence, unless the landowner gave the neighbor permission to use the enclosed land. The reasoning behind the law of adverse possession is simple – “use it or lose it.”
Note: If you have any evidence that your seller knew of your neighbor’s claim for the enclosed area, you may have a claim against your seller for fraudulent non-disclosure.