Property Properly Awarded to Plaintiffs Through Adverse Possession.

The plaintiffs bought their property in 1951. Access to the original dwelling was by a dirt driveway. A fence separated the plaintiffs’ property from their neighbors’ property. The neighbors bought their property in 1999. They purchased it knowing that the plaintiffs’ driveway encroached upon their property. When the neighbors attempted to sell their property in 2005, the deal fell through because the potential buyer learned of the driveway encroachment. The broker advised the plaintiffs of the problem, but the plaintiffs continued to use the driveway. In 2011, the plaintiffs filed an action seeking to quiet title to the parcel of land at issue, alleging that they had obtained title to the property through adverse possession. The trial court entered judgment for the plaintiffs, and the neighbors appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed, finding that the plaintiffs had established that for more than 20 years they had openly, notoriously, hostilely, and continuously used and controlled the land the driveway occupies. The court agreed that the plaintiffs acquired title to the property in 1987. The ordinary use of land, such as the owner would use it in the normal course of events, provides sufficient notice of exclusive possession. The plaintiffs had pastured livestock in the field, cultivated the land, and kept up the fence that both they and the neighbors respected as the property line. Schaefer v. Ristic, No. 2013AP2174, 2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 503 (Wis. Ct. App. Jun. 25, 2014).

 

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