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Land Ownership and Liability

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This section concerns matters of title to real property, as well as liability for injuries that are property-related, status of easements, avoiding trespass, and property taxes. (Liabilities of an operational nature – such as nuisance – appear in the Agribusiness Law section)  Keywords include: land title, co-tenancy, joint tenancy, heirs property, partition, water rights, drainage, hunting leases, tree fall, farm gates, recreational liability.


Livestock: Liability for Injury from Livestock. This N.C. Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet reviews the law in North Carolina on liability for escaped animals, including basic fence law, impoundment and standards of negligence.

Present Use Value: The Basics of Agricultural and Forest Use Property Tax. This narrative, co-authored with Rajan Parajuli, PhD., provides an overview of use-based property taxation in North Carolina.

Tree Fall Liability: Who is Responsible for Property Damage? This short narrative addresses the challenge of assigning financial responsibility for property damage caused by a falling tree located on a neighboring property.

Present Use Value: Special Ag Use Cases of Land Trusts, Solar Facilities and Silvopasture Management. This draft paper – funded by NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program – explores different real and personal property treatment of assets employed in various land use scenarios, including solar, land trust as landlord, and treatment of silvopasture.

Present Use Value: Maintaining the Individual Ownership Requirement in Farm and Forestland Succession Planning. This narrative discusses in detail the concept of “individual ownership” as required by statute for enrollment of a parcel of land in NC’s present use value differential property tax scheme.

Neighbor Complaints and Response: the Basics of North Carolina’s Right to Farm and Bona Fide Zoning. This narrative provides a distinction between the farm protection statutes of right to farm and bona fide farm zoning exemption, from the perspective of when authorities should respond to neighbor complaints about farming and land use.

Land Title:  Understanding Rights in Property. This short narrative reviews the basics of real property ownership.

Trespass: A Comment on Tree Fall Liability. This short narrative, written in response to questions that arise after hurricanes and other epic storms, provides an overview of the law concerning liability for trees that fall and cause damage to another’s property.

Trespass: Prevent Timber Trespass and Theft. This N.C. Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet discusses trespass and timber theft law in North Carolina, and steps for securing property boundaries to prevent theft and warn against trespassing.

Gate Disputes: Landowners Right to Lock a Gate to an Easement. This post reviews when an owner of the servient estate may estate lock a gate to an easement through his land

Partition: A Look at Fair Accounting of Property Tax PaymentsThis case review looks at a recent NC Court of Appeals decision regarding the “equitable adjustment” of crediting past property taxes paid to a partition sale amount

Trespass: Finding and Maintaining Property Boundaries. This fact sheet – focused primarily on forestland – offers tips on marking boundaries to discourage trespass.

Recreation Liability: North Carolina’s Landowner Protection Law. This fact sheet summarizes statutes related to liability for trespassers as well as North Carolina’s landowner liability exemption for injuries to non-paying recreational users of land.

Timber Trespass: Valuation of Ornamentals in Easement Maintenance TrespassThis short case summary reviews North Carolina law on whether value of ornamental trees (with little timber value) factor into damages when an easement owners clears outside their right of way.


Land Ownership, Liability, and the Law. This online webinar was produced for the NC Tree Farm Association, featuring Andrew Branan discussing matters of trespasser liability. Presented by NC State University College of Natural Resources Department of Forestry.

Land Use and Co-Ownership Agreements. This presentation assembled for the 17th annual Keep the Farm summit in Wake County reviews principles of land ownership and rights, along with agreements concerning their transfer and management among co-owners.

Select Landowner Legal Issues. This presentation was to the 24th Annual Orange County Agricultural Summit, a survey of various laws including zoning, fence, trespass.

Riparian Rights and Drainage. This presentation – prepared for the NE Ag Expo in February 2022 in Pasquotank and Chowan Counties – provides an overview of basic riparian rights theory and drainage law in North Carolina.

Fence Law and Liability. This presentation  – prepared for NC Extension Fence School – covers the basics of NC fence law, including removal, gates, impoundment of and liability for injury caused by escaped livestock.

Liability and Insurance Overview. This online presentation takes a cursory look at the concept of liability, its relationship to safety regulations, and the general types of insurance coverage including basic farm, farm commercial, and workers’ compensation.

Common Law Nuisance and the Right to Farm. This presentation was delivered to the Wilson Area Swine Producers Association in November 2019, covering the basics of nuisance litigation legal theory and particulars on the recent nuisance litigation against Murphy Brown.)

 Timberlands Transfer and Liability Protection. This presentation covers property transfer and premises liability.

Hunting Leases. This presentation covers the basics of executing and managing a hunting lease with individuals or clubs.


North Carolina Present Use Value Statute


Content loaded to Agricultural and Natural Resource Law portal, including narratives, workbooks and presentations, is supported by The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (TTFC) (Grant award 2019-001-16), titled “An Heirs Guide to Farmland”).