Is There Recourse Against Neighboring Builder-owned Lot Not Being Maintained?

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“Our Ohio home is next to a undeveloped builder-owned lot.  The builder does a terrible job of maintaining the property.  We cut our lawn frequently and have our lawn treated. The undeveloped lot is not cut regularly or treated.  In order to protect our yard from issues associated with this untreated property (weeds, etc.), my husband has maintained about 20 feet of that property adjacent to our yard for the last nine years.  We have been unsuccessful in dealing with the neighborhood association, the city, and the builder on this issue.  Can we claim the portion of the property we maintain as eminent domain?”

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No, only a government entity has the power of eminent domain, and you are not the government.

You’re probably thinking of the doctrine of adverse possession, under which a person who holds themselves out as the owner of a property for long enough without the true owner objecting becomes, in essence, the true owner of the property.  Unfortunately, that probably isn’t applicable to your situation either, since one of the key elements of an adverse possession claim is that you have paid the property taxes on the land in question, and I assume you haven’t been paying property taxes on the neighboring land.

Normally, I would suggest trying to work with the town or HOA, but you’ve already tried that without success.  If the situation is bad enough, you might be able to make out a claim for nuisance, but I suggest you have a good long talk with a local attorney before you take that step, as it can be a fairly long and expensive process.

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Author: House Attorney

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