An owner can obtain property by acquiescence even if the neighboring land is unoccupied

The Utah Supreme Court has held that an owner can obtain property "by acquiescence" if the owner occupies a strip of the neighbor's land in a visible manner without objection.  Anderson v. Fautin, 2016 UT 22, 379 P.3d 1186 (Utah 2016). Although "acquiescence" suggests that a neighbor is aware of the placement of the border and either agrees or does not object to it, the Court found that the same doctrine should apply even if the neighboring land was not occupied. Holding otherwise would reduce the security that comes from not having the neighbor object to placement of a fence.

The doctrine in Utah requires a claimant to satisfy four elements:  (i) occupation up to a visible line marked by monuments, fences, or buildings; (ii) mutual acquiescence in the line as a boundary; (iii) for a period of at least 20 years; (iv) by adjoining landowners.

The doctrine is distinguished from adverse possession, as Utah requires payment of taxes to get property by adverse possession but does not impose that requirement for boundary by acquiescence. The doctrine operates when no express oral agreement exists between neighbors; boundaries change can happen despite the statute of frauds in such cases under the doctrine of express agreement.