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A law dating back hundreds of years to English common law, has been invoked in Colorado to steal a lot a couple were planning to use to build their dream home on.
Boulder couple Don and Susie Kirlin bought a piece of land in the early 1980s some 200 yards from their home. Raising a family delayed their construction plans until 2006 which is when they discovered the land had been stolen by neighbors - although what you and I might call theft, was in fact perfectly legal.
Their neighbors - a former judge and his lawyer wife used something called "adverse possession" to claim the land as their own, even though the Kirlins had paid property taxes and homeowners association dues on the lot for more than 20 years.
And that time period is important.
The judge and his wife pointed out that they owned the land under adverse possession which requires a person to use their property in a way that indicates obvious and exclusive ownership for a required length of time that varies by State. In Colorado it is 18 years - in Florida it is SEVEN.
The Kirlins also lost out because the judge and his wife had used the land. They had walked their dogs on it, created trails, held political fund-raisers - all without the knowledge or permission of the Kirlins. Under the law, the Kirlins did not explicitly prevent the other couple from using the land.
The best ways to avoid this are to walk the land regularly and if you suspect someone is using it without your permission, put up a fence and post "NO TRESPASSING" signs. And most important of all, consult with an attorney.
Last October a district judge awarded one third of the land to the judge and his wife - an estimated $1m value and now the Kirlins are going back to court to see if they can have that decision overturned.
For the best information on Orlando and Central Florida real estate - especially Windermere, Dr Phillips and the rest of south west Orlando, this is the place to be. Here you will find information on Orlando and Windermere homes for sale and general real estate information.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.