A significant portion of our practice involves property line disputes. The steep terrain in Western North Carolina combined with a large number of deed descriptions referring to boulders and trees can make it difficult to determine the exact location of a boundary line between two adjoining parcels of property. In addition, modern survey technology has improved the accuracy of surveys and frequently the distance and bearing calls will vary from those shown in an old plat of survey.
If you have a question about the proper location of your boundary line, action should be taken immediately to determine the proper location. Under North Carolina law, possession of property for a period of more than 20 years, combined with acts that put other persons on notice that the possessor is claiming the property, can result in title vesting in the possessor after 20 years if legal action is not taken. If the possessor claims the property based upon a recorded deed, that claim can ripen into title after 7 years. However, possession that begins with permission can only ripen into title if the possessor engages in actions that clearly indicate he/she is no longer possessing or using the property with permission of the record title owner but is instead claiming title as a matter of right.
As Western North Carolina continues to develop and there is an increase in property owners who are not familiar with their boundary lines, we anticipate the number of property disputes will continue to rise. Feel free to contact Bill Cannon and Martha Bradley for any questions you may have regarding your property rights.