GeoCarta Has Moved

Aug 12, 2005

Losing Your Land - Part II

The California case below illustrates how you can lose the exclusive use of your land through a prescriptive easement. In a similar manner you can actually lose ownership of some or all of your land through adverse possesion. Adverse possession is where a person can acquire title to land through occupying it for a time period proscribed by state law. Generally this means fencing it off and using it as your own.

However, a recent situation in Kentucky is a good reminder that there is one land owner adverse possession does not run against; the government.

The Army has informed several landowners abutting Fort Knox that 83 acres of government land was mistakenly included in their subdivision back in the 1970s. Now the Army wants its land back.

A Pentagon spokeswoman says the Army might decide to compensate occupants of the land, but so far no decision has been made. It's also not even clear that the Army can use tax dollars to pay for land it already owns.