A person phrase that will come up frequently when people chat about the predicament involving “River Dave” in Canterbury is this: “squatter’s rights.”

Lots of of us have heard that immediately after dwelling somewhere continuously for 20 many years you acquire some type of legal proper to continue to be because of to the mere passage of time. But is that true?

The remedy: Certainly, kind of, but probably not in the way you feel. And surely not with that phrase we’ve all heard just before.

“There’s no this kind of thing as ‘squatter’s legal rights,’ by the way. The authorized expression is ‘adverse possession,’ ” reported attorney Brian Shaughnessy of Shaughnessy Raiche in Bedford, chairman of 603 Authorized Aid, which provides cost-free authorized assistance to minimal-money people.

In New Hampshire, like most states, steady profession or use of land for 20 many years can transfer possession. But it’s not simple.

“Once you get to the requisite 20 decades, and fulfill all the components, the land does not immediately become yours,” claimed Andrew Piela of Hamblett and Kerrigan in Nashua, who has taken care of quite a few adverse possession conditions. “All that will allow you to do is to go to courtroom and file an motion to have the courtroom make a ruling that you personal this land. If thriving … then you have to file the court docket get and other needed files at the registry of deeds in advance of the land is legally yours.”

A crucial element of his description is “satisfy all the factors.”

As Piela described it, the possession has to be ongoing – “you can’t arrive and go” – and open – “you are unable to hide what you’re doing” – and, most counter-intuitively, “you do it with no the lawful owner’s permission.”

As soon as a landowner has offered authorization to use or occupy land there is an settlement comparable to that of a landlord and tenant. The squatter cannot change the legal standing even immediately after two many years have passed any a lot more than a tenant owns their developing right after two many years.

In other terms, to get adverse possession you cannot disguise from the proprietor but you can’t get their express Ok, both.

A single other point: Adverse possession does not call for dwelling on a property.

“You do not have to make a household on the land. You can mow grass, reduce trees – it all relies upon on the property,” said Piela.

In simple fact, it is exceptionally rare for such conditions to include people’s houses. 

“I’ve been practicing law for 30 decades in New Hampshire and have not heard it,” explained Shaughnessey.

These situations generally entail disputes about boundaries among qualities. Normally, everyone thinks a stone wall separates two houses until a detailed study discovers that the boundary is actually someplace else. In that case, the person who has been making use of the disputed land can question the court to give lawful possession.

“When I was in legislation school 27 years ago I believed, with contemporary surveying equipment and engineering, most people is aware of what they personal. That’s not the situation at all,” claimed Piela. “I’ve noticed quite a few of these.”

A related situation includes “prescriptive easement,” in which continual use of home, ordinarily as a highway, offers the ideal to keep on making use of it by way of an easement.

“Somebody employing a Class 6 roadway to get to a cabin on a lake, for case in point. It is the exact same form of challenges,” explained Shaughnessy. “You see far more and more of that. Receiving an easement by adverse possession is extra widespread than a hermit in the woods.”

(David Brooks can be attained at 369-3313 or [email protected] or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)