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Adverse Possession: An Advanced Course for Professional Land SurveyorsNY PLS

Patrick C. Garner, PLS

This is a three-hour course for professional land surveyors and civil engineers. Failure to recognize, or properly describe, adverse possession may create enormous liability for a professional. Boundary surveyors must be familiar with this doctrine, as retracement surveys are frequently complicated by claims of adverse possession. The appearance of surveyors in court is often triggered by issues of adverse possession, with attorneys relying heavily on surveyors as experts in what is a frequently difficult legal doctrine.

A student learns why a survey of original property lines cannot, by itself, revive the rights to land lost in adverse possession. A student also learns why understanding the elements of adverse rights is critical. The course takes an in-depth look at this legally recognized way of taking title to property by physical occupation. The course examines why adverse possession is always a hostile act. In all states, possession must run for a statutory period, and the course examines these extremes, as well as noting that individual states can have varying statutory periods. The student learns that the adverse claimant, not the original owner, is charged with the burden of proof.

This course also examines the effect of surveys on such claims. For instance, can an accurate survey by itself cure claims of adverse possession? Through examples and court citations, the course also discusses the doctrine of prescription and its relationship to adverse possession. Using an extensive hypothetical case, the course examines statutes of limitations, color of title, open and notorious possession, hostile possession, and a surveyor’s explicit duties to clients and courts.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.