Question on a large boundary dispute.

I’m not talking about his fence is over the line by 3 inches. I noticed on a parcel map a significant area (over a quarter acre) that is “in dispute”. Apparently it is a COGO dispute which I don’t fully understand but I guess it arises when the legal descriptions create areas where there are gaps or overlaps.

So what happens to this parcel? Do adjoining property owners get to fight over it or does it go back to the county?

When were the surveys done?
Where did the surveys start from?
Plat maps are not necessarily correct to the current surveys.

If you can get a first order survey from that sections ‘God’ rock or the oldest start point in that county and it proves your claim, then you are usually golden.

State law determines a lot, so again, where is this?

Who was the original or previous owner? How long have the boundaries been as currently described?

Adverse possession complications?

yep, the owners fight over it.
There’s no such thing as land “going back” to the county. The land will be given to whichever owner has the best legal evidence proving it belongs to him.
And that depends on a lot of things, such as what Gusnspot said. (and also how much each one pays his lawyers :slight_smile: )

In a case where neighbors agree both that the boundary is legally unclear and where they’d like it to be, they can settle the matter via “quitclaim”.

The new, agreed-on boundary is defined, and each neighbor gives the other a quitclaim deed to the portion on the other’s side. Such a deed says, in effect, “I hereby convey to you whatever title I may hold in the land on your side.”

No land ever goes back to a government in the U.S., unless the government is party to the dispute.

People are taught as a shorthand that the government owns all the land, probably with some talk about the Northwest Territories or Louisiana Purchase. Some government did at some time in the past claim the land, usually in vast parcels that hadn’t been surveyed. They immediately sold it off or awarded it. From that moment on, the ownership is private. It transfers from that owner to a successor owner. The successor owner may be some form of government, or the government may take it over as part of a legal action, e.g. eminent domain or foreclosure. But the government isn’t hovering there waiting to gets its land back nor can disputed land simply revert to the government.

But if thats loose talk for finding it remains county land, and the developer/improvements must get off it , then it does remain county land.
But presumably the idea is that private land was developed at two sides and they find in the middle that they have extra…

Well won’t the subdivider (the entity which owned the larger parcel and split it up ?) want to sell it as a one acre block ?
This causes problems …eg the people who just bought an acre of land may be expecting road frontage, or the lack of it, and then find they’ve got the opposite.
They want to be moved, or they want compensation.
Its all possible, the gov (lets not worry about county and state seperations) may even step in and solve the problem… eg BY TAKING IT BACK. “well if they want their road, they can have their road…” and stick a new road in, perhaps a park in the area. This may be suitable if the gov lost land at the other place the error occurred. Or they may feel responsible for placing the road at the wrong spot elsewhere.

Main point: it can come down to who made the error… its all possible… If the two neighbours are just confused about their land boundaries, they may call for each others land titles to be vefified by the gov… “hey you already got 2 acres more than was bought in 1920, I want the acre as I am short a half !”.

Another claim can be “I’ve been using it, its mine”. Or … “I’ve been using that land over there, and I am losing that land, as I see it must be gov’s land, but it would be fair if I got this land”.

No, this is not possible if there are two private owners arguing over a boundary. More like highly illegal.

See this post from 11 years ago:

Paid very nicely they did. :smiley:

Unfortunately the legal descriptions are not online. Best I can find is one parcel “lost” a quarter of an acre and I haven’t check yet to see if any adjoining parcels lost the same amount.

Had that happen to the ranch where I was born. WE ended up with a strange description of the land for several years.

The property next to the ranch was sold in the 60’s. The descriptions of the fence line between the properties was different on the two deeds. The bank required a clear and unquestionable title.

Using the sole property’s deed description of the line a survey team was sent out to get a “True” survey of the lines of the property being sold. The new owners then recorded the survey as the “true” measurements of the property. We received notice that the property line between the properties would now be recorded as what was on the deed of the property next to us. We were given a number of days to file a complaint against the change. But the changes moved the back corner of the ranch 11 feet in our favor we did not file a complaint.

Two funny things about the new survey.

  1. There is an 11 foot gap between the end of the south fence and the west fence recorded with the county. This was cleared up when my brother sold his section of the ranch and the ranch had to get a “true” survey.

  2. On the original deed of the ranch the sight lines are measured in degrees and tenths of degrees. On the new survey they are measured in degrees, minutes, seconds, and tenths of a second.

So no other parcel lost acreage and that loss occurred when the current deed was written for the owned parcel. I know that MMMV depending on county/state but let assume a good argument can be made that that property belongs to the parcel I’m looking at. On the theory that the land belongs to somebody, could I buy the parcel as is then make a claim (assessor? court?) for the other 1/4 acre?

Anybody can buy anything. You can buy a closed box if you want to, and pray that when you open it there will be gold treasure inside. (see the TV show: Storage Wars)

But it’s usually better to know exactly what you’re buying before you pay for it.
You are looking at “a parcel”, but you don’t know what it contains (i.e how many square feet).

Get professional advice. Now.
You need a lawyer, and probably a land surveyor and a land appraisor. And maybe a tax advisor…

Make sure the professionals you hire are local. (ie. they actually live and work nearby, -not in the county 20 miles away… and make sure they have a lot of experience with the specific laws, previous court rulings from the specific courtroom which will hear your case, zoning regulations, and tax system that apply to your piece of land.

And you also need a lot of luck. See the post upthread by LSLGuy.

Buying something and then *hoping *to prove something about it in court is borderline crazy. Hope is not a plan.

If you think there’s some defects in surveys on plots you don’t own, about the only way to safely profit from this is to pay professionals to secretly evaluate the various plats & deeds, and also pay surveyors to secretly survey the actual land.

Once you know for certain there’s an exploitable opportunity there you can buy from the clueless sellers.

Absent all that prep work the situation sounds to me a lot like this one:

Words to live by.

COGO is probably Co-ordinate geometry, although I’ve only heard of it in the context of software, never as a legal term.

It’s down to you and the other owner. The government has no claim to private land just because it’s disputed.

Have you seen this area on the ground? Who occupies it at the moment? How’s your relationship with your neighbour? You have to be careful before you poke a sleeping dog like this because you risk a protracted legal battle. There is usually the option to let it lie.

Just to clarify. I’m looking to buy a parcel of which there is no question on ownership. IF the undetermined parcel can later be claimed, it would add about half an acre to the existing parcel.

Not sure where this property is. But in your OP, a ‘parcel map’ is ambiguous. It could just be an improvement location survey or ILC. Those are usually done to get a loan to satisfy the bank and title company that this is the property and there are no encroachments across property lines or into easements.

Is the parcel part of a subdivision? Do you know the legal description? I.E - Lot 30 Smith Subdivision Filing #1. You have to dig here a little. There may be amendments to the subdivision or individual property.

If you have such a description, the subdivision should be a recorded plat with the County Clerk and recorder. That’s where you should start. This will give you the angles and bearings of all the property lines. Or COGO. The plat should also tell you the sq. ft. / acres of the property. The county Assessor should also have the size of the property for tax purposes.

Also, if the land in question has been used openly for many years with no dispute, it may become part of the other encroaching property.

Where is this? State and county and legal description if you have it. I wonder why it is called undetermined? I’ve been in GIS for 27 years and have never seen that. Was this something the relator told you? A neighbor? Does it say undetermined on the recorded plat?

It could be open space in the subdivision.

Lawyer, Abstract, Surveyor. If necessary, a Judge.

Works in any State of the Union. Quit farting around.

There is no secret to the plats & deeds, it is a matter of public record available to anyone (an Abstractor) in the county Courthouse. Also, a surveyor cannot “secretly” survey a plot without the landowner’s knowledge & permission… Legally, they call that “trespassing”.