The Minnesota Supreme Court has adopted a slightly stricter standard for bringing adverse possession claims.
In St. Paul Park Refining Co. LLC v. Brian Domeir, a decision handed down on November 4, 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that a claim for adverse possession of any portion of a separately assessed parcel requires that the person claiming adverse possession have paid property taxes for at least five consecutive years. This requirement does not apply to boundary line disputes.
In the Domeir decision, Brian Domeir claimed adverse possession over 52% of a property, where he had cleared trails for hiking, removed invasive plans, extracted sand for construction, planted trees and erected a fence. The property at issue was near property that Mr. Domeir owned. Eventually, Mr. Dormeir bought the adjoining property, but he had not owned it for 15 years. Mr. Domeir never paid property taxes on the property over which he claimed adverse possession.
The prior standard, set down by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Grubb v. State, held that the property tax requirement applied only for adverse possession claims to “all or substantially all” of the property. Now the property tax requirement applies to any claim for adverse possession on a separately taxed parcel, regardless of how much of the property is claimed.
The Minnesota Supreme Court noted, however, that this rule would rarely apply because most adverse possession claims are actually boundary line disputes, which are exempt from this rule.