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Property Line Dispute

Discussion in 'Adverse Possession' started by JessicaL, May 17, 2021.

  1. JessicaL

    JessicaL Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My back yard neighbor recently got his land surveyed and realized the property lines were actually 4 feet into our property. He wants us to remove the grass, sprinklers and all landscaping we've done so he can put up a new fence. He has already had a fence and two small building up on the old assumed property line for over 20 years. I am 99.9% sure we meet the adverse possession requirements for Montana.

    My questions are 1.How do we go about getting the property line changed? 2. What type of lawyer would we need? 3. What is the general process of getting new plot lines recognized by the city?

    Thank you so much for any advice!
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Not so fast, dear poster.

    I suggest you speak with an attorney that practices in the area of real estate law.

    Before you do ANYTHING I suggest you read the information I've provided below.

    Once you've familiarized yourselves with Montana law, you might discuss your issues/concerns with a Montana attorney in your county.

    Initially a general practitioner should suffice.

    Most attorneys will offer a free initial consultation of at least 30 minutes to allow you to discuss your issues.

    If you're attentive, you'll learn a great deal during that conversation.


    When someone moves into possession of an otherwise neglected property, improves it, and possesses it in a transparent and public way, they may be able to claim title to the property under the doctrine of "adverse possession." The idea behind these laws is to make sure property doesn't sit idle or otherwise be wasted to the community.

    Montana adverse possession laws require a five (5) year period of occupation before he or she may claim title to the property. A continuous trespasser must meet the following criteria in order to have a legitimate claim on a piece of property:

    1 = 'Exclusive and Continuous' for a Specified Period of Time - The occupation must be continuous and not split up among different individuals.

    2 = 'Hostile' Possession - This does not mean the property is taken by force, only that it is done without permission from the property owner.

    3 = 'Actual' Possession' - In other words, one must live at the property (be physically present) in order to claim title.

    4 = 'Open and Notorious' - The possession of the property is not covert or hidden, but obvious to onlookers.


    Montana law recognizes that a neighborly accommodation is not evidence of adverse use, passively allowing one to use land is not evidence of permissive use. Permission means affirmatively granting consent. Wanting to get along with neighbors and not contesting their use does not create neighborly accommodation.

    The main provisions of Montana's adverse possession law are detailed in the following table. See FindLaw's Adverse Possession: Continuous Trespassers' Rights section to find related articles and resources.

    In summation:

    In Montana, it takes 5 years of continuous possession for a squatter to make an adverse possession claim.

    The occupation must be:

    * Hostile.
    * Actual.
    * Open & Notorious.
    * Exclusive possession (to the detriment of the original owner).
    * Continuous.

    Squatter's Rights Montana [2021]: Adverse Possession Laws

    Montana Code > Title 70 > Chapter 19 – Real Property Actions Generally Limitations and Adverse Possession » LawServer
    JessicaL likes this.
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You need to retain the services of a local real estate lawyer. No one on any message board is going to be sufficiently familiar with the process so as to be able to walk you through it.
    JessicaL likes this.

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