How to proceed? Bought parcel w/parking - now what...?

3 Replies

I bought a small parcel of land out of county tax foreclosure sale in WA.  The parcel of land I purchased is sandwiched between two ~8 unit apartment buildings.  I was attracted to the parcel because upon my initial research, it appeared that roughly a third of one of the neighboring apartments parking lot was actually on this parcel. Upon visiting, it looks like 4 of the 10 parking spaces are in fact on my parcel.  Parcel had been owned prior by a survey/construction company, who had likely been involved during the initial platting of the area.  

Took a flier and bought the parcel for ~$2000. 

Unknowns at the time of auction :  

1) EXACT location of lot lines, was going off google maps + county map records.  But those could have been off.  I'd swung by the property that morning to see if it all looked similar, and tried to figure out the legal description, but was slightly guessing at that point.  

2) impact of any adverse possession claims, I assumed the parking lot had been that way forever.  Did the apartment owner have a claim on the space now?

3) There were no easements recorded on the parcel I was purchasing.  Was there an unrecorded easement, or an easement that only got recorded on the adjoining property?  

After the auction I've taken these steps:

1) did further research on the lot lines, traced out based on the legal where I was pretty sure the corner of the lot was.  Called up a surveyor, he was so intrigued he went out himself for free and just verified where he thought the corner in question was located.  To actually locate it would need be done with monuments etc.  

2) Reached out to the management company of the apartments, made them aware of the situation, asked them to make it known to the owner.  Sent owner of record a letter explaining the situation, that I wanted to either sell or rent the parcel to him.  No response or interaction from the owner.  

3) contacted local RE lawyer.  He confirmed that in WA, tax foreclosure wipes out all claims of adverse possession.  He said an option would be to file a claim of quiet title, that would cost me approximately $5-7k..  Attorney also sent letter to owner and management company with his opinion.


What I'm considering:

1) Still should get a title report on the offending apartment property, just to double check there is no recorded easement there.  

2) Actually just take possession of the space, place a storage bin or something along those lines on my part of the parking lot.  Would likely swing by the county office to confirm what uses I'm allowed for the space (would likely need to claim it as personal storage and not renting the storage space), also swing by the county sheriffs office to alert them of the situation, and inform them that I am the rightful owner of that space, as I imagine they might be getting a call.  Also alert the management company of my action.  Objective being to force them to engage with me. 

Thoughts/advice on any of this would be much appreciated!  

Any other avenues you can think of, or issues I'm just totally missing?  

Thanks!

@Julian Illingworth -Congratulations on your purchase!   Congratulations also on eliminating the possibility of an Adverse Possession claim by purchasing through the county's property tax foreclosure auction.  Your plans #1) and 2) are both right on the money.  Go for it. 

As for your step number 2) - taking actual possession, I'd recommend posting private property signs near the property line, and I'd hire a local tow company and ask them to post their signs "Unauthorized Vehicles Towed by XXX company 24/7".   Then I'd put my own flyer on each vehicle parked on my property offering to rent the parking space they are in, and more spaces as well at the going rate to anyone interested.  As the new owner you might be able to advertise improvements as well - upgraded maintenance? -improved security?  At the same time, place a legal notice on each vehicle that it must be moved within 48 hours (or such period as you believe to be neighborly), or that a space rental fee must be paid to you, or the vehicle will be towed.   Meanwhile, move a vehicle of your own into each parking space on your property as soon as it is empty, and start roping off your new property so that it can be clearly seen where the property line is and which parking spaces are yours.  

The neighboring apartment owner will start feeling the loss, and that should put him in a frame of mind to negotiate.  Note, however, that most jurisdictions require an application/permit to be issued to you before you can lawfully provide paid parking spaces to the public.

@Julian Illingworth You could also talk to the offending property owner and see what his thoughts are prior to taking all of these steps.  Get him to respond with to offer by letting him know your intentions.  Put together a plan of what you  think is reasonable considering all the money you would earn on renting the spaces and present it to the property owner.  It seems like it would be a slam dunk for you.  

Yeah I've tried making contact and haven't been able to.  Sent letters, lawyer letter, it's a larger out of town owner.  


Originally posted by @Josh Carr :

@Julian Illingworth You could also talk to the offending property owner and see what his thoughts are prior to taking all of these steps.  Get him to respond with to offer by letting him know your intentions.  Put together a plan of what you  think is reasonable considering all the money you would earn on renting the spaces and present it to the property owner.  It seems like it would be a slam dunk for you.