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Posts tagged "adverse possession"

Can I adversely possess property with a fence?

In a recent case, a plaintiff attempted to rely on her maintenance of a fence that was in place when the parties took ownership of the property as evidence of her open and hostile adverse possession of the property. Texas courts have repeatedly found that maintenance of a casual fence does not create a designed enclosure, nor does it begin the running of the statute of limitations for adverse possession against cotenants. "Under the applicable case law, there are two kinds of fences: "casual fences" and fences that "designedly enclose" an area. If the fence existed before the claimant took possession of the land and the claimant fails to demonstrate the purpose for which it was erected, then the fence is a "casual fence." Repairing or maintaining a casual fence, even for the express purpose of keeping the claimant's animals within the enclosed area, generally does not change a casual fence into a designed enclosure. A claimant may so change the character of a casual fence that it becomes a designed enclosure, and evidence of such a substantial modification is sufficient to support a jury finding of adverse possession. However, we have neither been cited to nor found a case that establishes whether or when modification requires a finding of adverse possession as a matter of law." Rhodes v. Cahill, 802 S.W.2d 643, 646 (Tex.1990) (quoting Orsborn v. Deep Rock Oil Corp., 153 Tex. 281, 288-89, 267 S.W.2d 781, 786 (1954)).

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