View Full Version : arena location and property lines

Apr. 8, 2011, 01:18 PM
What happens if someone builds an arena on property that's not theirs?
Property owner doesn't care now but can/will it cause a problem in a future sale?

FWIW this does not refer to the arena we just built. We have "retirement" property in a nearby county and I suspect we will never be able to sell out home here and move

Apr. 8, 2011, 01:58 PM
Of course it could cause a problem! If nothing is in writing the new owners could just not let the person ride on the part of the arena that's on their land or fence it off or do whatever they want to it. It's their land. If you don't mind the possiblity that this could happen, go ahead and build it. Also, if you were selling the property, you could not say that it had an arena, because it only has part of an arena.

I would see if the land owner would sell you the portion of the land that contains the arena and not have to worry about future problems.

Apr. 8, 2011, 02:11 PM
I know of one case where a fellow built his vacation cabin on his best guess of where his lot was. Several years later a developer sent out a survey team to begin subdividing and lo and behold the cabin was smack in the top corner of the developer's property.
I don't know whether the developer tried to get ahold of the cabin owner and work things out, but about two years later the case went to court and the cabin builder was permitted to purchase the lot, this time for real, with his cabin on it.
I don't recall whether the improvements were considered to belong to the developer by default or whether they just had to pay for another lot and weren't made to remove anything.

I think there is quite a bit of case law regarding this kind of stuff, adverse possession is what they call one kind, which would be like building your fence *a little inside* your property line and eventually the property line is considered to be *at* the fence line.

Anyway an arena could be a big court battle or no big deal, just depends.

Apr. 8, 2011, 02:18 PM
Around here, property owner could grant arena owner an easement in perpetuity which would then be attached to the deeds. It might put off potential purchasers, but if it's a legal easement, then it can't be rescinded by a future purchaser.

Just make sure to include access to the arena in the easement.

Apr. 8, 2011, 02:44 PM
There is a legal concept called adverse possession. Suppose
your neighbor were to build his barn on land he thought
was his (but was actually yours). He used the barn
as though he owned the land. You never gave him
permission to use your land. He continued to do this for
several years (usually 7 years). He could then go to a
court and get title to the land without any compensation
to you.

Apr. 8, 2011, 04:23 PM
Are you the propery owner then? I think you should take the steps now to make it clear to the arena owner where the property line is and adjust their arena location accordingly. You may not care now, but it seems really likely you will care at some point in the future and by then it may be too late and a lot more hassle than it's worth then to just correct the issue now while it's in it's infancy.

I was actually both the arena owner and (kind of) the property owner in a similar situation (sounds weird, I know). My husband and I purchased 6 acres of land (with a house and barn), and an agreement from the owner of the adjacent 5 acre plot that 3 of his 5 acres would be subdivided and appended to our 6-acre property. Wel, as you can imagine, that was a long and painful process and I was ready to build an outdoor long before the subdivision was complete. To hedge my future bets, I decided to make absolutely sure that the arena was built entirely on the 6acres we owned free and clear, but immediately adjacent to the future 3 acres so that I could expand the arena in the future if I wished. It was LIKELY that we would get the three acres, but if we did not, I didn't want my arena on someone else's property.

Just based on where the barn, driveway, and another building were situated on the 6 acre parcel, the arena ended up smaller than i would have liked, but happily the 3 acres did eventually come through (took 3 years!!), and the arena can easily be expanded if I so choose.

Apr. 8, 2011, 05:52 PM
The land owner has 14 years and 364 days to clear the problem or the land then belongs to the arena owners the next day or so.:eek:

See here for Virginia:


Different states have different rules and time lines... NC is 20 years

Apr. 8, 2011, 10:34 PM
I wouldn't buy a property with an existing property line problem, or one that could have a lien placed on it by a neighboring property owner. I'm not sure that a mortgage or title company would allow a purchase with a clouded title such as this. And don't forget some places have setbacks or other restrictions where the location of the arena wouldn't be the only problem, but would require additional land purchases or agreements to cover the set aside also.

Even though the current property owners involved are OK with this arrangement (I assume they are) doesn't mean that an ownership change from a sale or purchase, or an inheritance situation wouldn't dramatically change the status quo. It could be also that if a legal challenge occurs that the person who built the arena could have to tear it down, and remove the part of the arena that is on the neighboring property, and might have to accommodate a set back from the line also.

What a mess! It's good to see everyone is being sensible about a solution. I admire people who act like grownups these days, since it really doesn't seem to happen any more.

Apr. 9, 2011, 08:43 AM
Thanks for the replies, FWIW someone has built an arena on my property. They were unaware of the property line and we are working out a solution

Apr. 9, 2011, 09:20 AM
hmm...if it were of any quality, I'd be tempted to say: "just put a nice gate entry on my side, too" and have something written up to deed access to you or whomever you sell to! :o)

Let us know how this goes...and best of luck!

Zu Zu
Apr. 9, 2011, 09:28 AM
Thanks for the replies, FWIW someone has built an arena on my property. They were unaware of the property line and we are working out a solution

Wow :eek: ~ but you are in the driver's seat make this work for YOU ! :yes:



Apr. 10, 2011, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the replies, FWIW someone has built an arena on my property. They were unaware of the property line and we are working out a solution

Well, you do need to come to some formal agreement now or it can turn into a real headache later.
Under the law they just gave you an arena, IIRC.
1) You could grant them written permission to use said arena,
2) you could have a lawyer and a surveyor out and grant them an easement for the use of said arena to some finite date (I know somebody that has a life interest in her hay field, she sold it with an easement to have the use of it for the remainder of her life)
3) You could have the lawyer and land surveyor out and cut that part of your property off to deed to them or
4) you could make them take the whole thing down and restore your property to its original condition.

You probably need the services of a good RE lawyer, one who is intimately familiar with that state/county/town to deal with this. Good Luck!

Apr. 10, 2011, 10:20 AM
As a property owner I can not imagine going through the expense of putting in an arena without finding out where my property lines are.:no: I know it sounds mean but if someone did that to me I would make them move it.

CDE Driver
Apr. 10, 2011, 10:34 AM

A friend of mine put in a really nice outdoor arena. They went on what they thought was the property line. When they adjacent property was for sale those folks did a lot line survey and lo and behold her arena encroached about three feet on to their property. There was no discussion, she had to tear out her arena and move it.

I was pretty surprised that seemingly smart, educated, not first time property owners would build something and not know for a fact where the property lines were.

Apr. 10, 2011, 03:48 PM
I actually would not be surprised to find out that the previous owners misled them about the lot line but then I did not like the previous owners and do like these people.

However it looks like the easiest, cheapest and safest solution is to tell them to move the arena

Apr. 10, 2011, 05:19 PM
Make sure you check with the codes enforcement people in the local jurisdiction to see if there is a requirement for setbacks from the property line also. You don't want them to move the arena, and then you have problems with resale or title because the arena is too close to your line still. I think your solution of moving the arena is the easiest, instead of some kind of property line adjustment on your title that might be a deal breaker for a future owner.

Even if you currently don't plan to resell you never know when your future plans may change, and a property issue might kill the entire deal. I do remember my favorite realtor of all time being extremely put out with some clients who didn't bother to mention the property line/lien problem on their house that put the kibosh on several good offers from buyers. If I were in the market for a property in today's market, and one property had a title or boundary problem then I would just pass it by in favor of a property without issues.

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:40 AM
See, I think a lot line adjustment is no big deal, but my dad used to do those all the time in fancy subdivisions where a prospective purchaser wanted the lot to be a *certain* way.

If the arena owners put it up too close when they replace it the burden should fall on them and it shouldn't be an issue for you, as long as the whole thing is off your property.

Question though, if they didn't survey when they bought, did you? How are you certain they are over the boundary?

Apr. 11, 2011, 07:24 PM
As a property owner I can not imagine going through the expense of putting in an arena without finding out where my property lines are.:no: I know it sounds mean but if someone did that to me I would make them move it.

I know someone here in Pa who had the same situation happen and they made them move the indoor.Too much legal garbage to leave it there.I'd have them move it as well.