Key point 7-18.Churches can lose a portion of their property to a neighboring landowner as a result of “adverse possession,” if the neighbor openly and adversely occupies church property for the length of time prescribed by state law.
An Indiana court ruled that a church lost title by adverse possession to a portion of its property that was openly and continuously used by a neighboring landowner for several years without objection. A church subdivided part of its property as part of a plan to sell a portion of it. A survey was conducted prior to the subdivision of the property. This survey revealed a discrepancy in the property line between the church’s property and the property of a neighboring landowner (the “plaintiffs”). The area in question (the “disputed area”) was a triangular shaped area along the parties’ property lines. The disputed area was confirmed in a subsequent survey.