Real Estate Development Team Advisory
Some of you may be familiar with the concept of "adverse possession" in Massachusetts and the similar concept of easements by prescription. In order to establish an easement by prescription in Massachusetts, a plaintiff must present evidence that the use of the property has been (1) open and notorious, (2) adverse, (3) continuous and uninterrupted and (4) for the period of at least twenty (20) years. Ryan v. Stavros, 348 Mass. 251, 261 (1964); Tucker v. Poch, 321 Mass. 323 (1947); Brown v. Sneider, 9 Mass. App.Ct. 329 (1980). In the usual case, a plaintiff will argue that he or she has established the right to use a portion of the property of another by making use of a strip of land for driving, bicycle riding or walking across property owner by another person.
In one of our recent cases, the facts were slightly more unique. Our client owns vacant land north of Boston. An adjoining landowner and his family ("the claimant") sought and obtained permission from our client to use our client's land for certain purposes, including the taking of hay from our client's property and then selling that hay for profit. In exchange, the claimant maintained our client's property and helped out with odds and ends from time to time. This relationship began in the 1950s and continued into the 21st Century.
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