After a land survey revealed new information regarding the boundary line between two lots, two Massachusetts neighbors disagreed over how to handle ownership of that area. In an April 3, 2018 Massachusetts real estate case, the plaintiff filed an action in the Massachusetts Land Court asserting that she had acquired adverse possession of the area in dispute. A two-day trial was conducted, in which the parties presented evidence to support their positions.
The plaintiff in the case purchased her lot in 1985. A dirt driveway was located on her lot at the time she moved in, and in 1987 she had it paved. However, a section of the driveway, a sloped area at the bottom of the driveway, and a wooded area, all of which the plaintiff believed were on her property, in fact were encroaching on two other lots owed by another individual. Eventually, that individual sold one of the lots to the defendants in 2007. As soon as they moved in, the defendants began clearing and maintaining the wooded and sloped areas, apparently without knowledge of the exact boundary of their own lot and without knowledge of the existence of the second lot retained by the individual from whom they purchased their lot.
The relationship between the plaintiff and the defendants began to deteriorate after the plaintiff began the teardown and construction of her house in 2011. Concerned about disruption from the construction, the defendants conducted some research and discovered the existence of the seller’s second lot. The defendants reached out to the seller and acquired the second lot in 2011. The defendants then hired a surveyor and marked the boundary of their property. After a heated argument, the plaintiff continued construction on the property and additionally filed a claim for adverse possession of the area in dispute.