Failure to Act Now Could Cost Your Claim to Real Property

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Christopher Trevett and Cynthia Trevett vs. Joyce Walker-3rd District Court of Appeals

Recently, a Florida couple lost a portion of their land claim in Key West due to failure to act when a neighbor infringed upon their property boundary.

The Trevetts' appealed a trial court’s judgement to deny their claim of ejectment based on the finding that the defendant’s affirmative defense of laches bars their claim.

The disputed property consisted of approximately four feet of linear land along the boundary line of the Trevetts’ lot in Key West. The strip of land had been occupied by their neighbors because a fence was erected to divide the property about four feet to the Trevetts’ side of the property boundary. The infringing neighbors deeded the property to their daughter, the defendant in this case, after their death. The fence was originally constructed in the 1930s before the Trevetts occupied their current residence, and they had shown a long history of not contesting its location since they recorded their deed in 1986, including their efforts to repair the fence recently after a hurricane damaged it. The Trevetts' did not contest the location of the fence until very recently when they filed their claim in court against Ms. Walker.

The defendant in the claim argued that because the Trevetts had shown no interest in claiming the strip of land between the fence and their property line for the majority of their ownership period, she had the right to it based on the defense of laches as determined in the 1954 case of Van Meter v. Kelsey in Florida’s Supreme Court.

The appeals court agreed with the finding of the trial court, and the Trevetts’ claim to the land was again denied.

Upon the discovery of any land dispute, it is important to speak with an attorney immediately to determine the proper course of action. Failure to correctly act in a timely manner could result in your loss of valuable real property. The attorneys at Canan Law can help you resolve a land dispute in accordance with Florida law.

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