Sample Rental Agreement for Neighbor's Use of Portion of Your Land

Need to sign a document clarifying that a neighbor is renting a piece of your property, not attempting an adverse possession claim? Here's what it should look like.

By , Attorney (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law)

If you're a homeowner, you don't risk much by letting another person use part of your land temporarily. For example, maybe a neighbor would like to extend their vegetable garden onto a bit of your land that's currently mostly weeds. However, if this arrangement might go on for a while, it will become important to create and sign a rental agreement between you two, so as to prevent the neighbor from eventually claiming ownership by a legal doctrine known as "adverse possession."

Here, we'll discuss how to avoid that, including:

  • the legal impact of signing a rental agreement, and
  • what language to include in that agreement.

How Will This Rental Agreement Defeat an Adverse Possession Claim?

Even if the neighbor didn't talk to you in advance—for example planted the vegetable garden over your property line then built a fence to encloses it—signing such an agreement can be legally useful, particularly if you'd rather live with the missing piece of land than fight over having the fence removed). Also, you can earn a bit of cash this way, though keeping the rental amount minimal will make it easier to get the neighbor to sign.

It's all a matter of legal definition: For someone to acquire title to land through adverse possession, their use of the land must be "hostile," which essentially means "without permission." A lease or rental agreement, of course, constitutes documented permission by the owner to the possessor, and would thus defeat any future claim that the individual "owns" your land. Read more about this strategy in, Avoiding Adverse Possession Claims by Renting Portion of Your Property to Neighbor.

While you should certainly work with an attorney to draft the lease appropriate for your situation, a sample lease with some of the key terms to consider including is below.

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