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Background:

Adjacent to our house is an empty lot that has been neglected: its owner lives in another country, and it has collected litter.

My parents said that they discussed purchasing the lot from the owner but couldn't agree on a price.

Months have passed since I planted lots of plants there, most of them are fruit bearing plants and vegetables.

Question:

I am thinking now what if the owner of the lot checks it someday and discovers that I've been using the lot to grow crops without her permission? Have I violated any laws? Or do I have rights to use a neglected lot in that fashion?

Edit: Added more information

The vacant lot has been abandoned since I was born, it's been more than decades!

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  • What jurisdiction? Does the word "compound" mean your and the adjacent lot are part of a planned community, homeowner's association or other relationship where there may be mutual easements or obligations?
    – user662852
    Oct 23 '15 at 11:23
  • feetwet, thank you so much for your edit. The question is much clearer now. :) Oct 23 '15 at 23:58
  • @user662852 Oh, sorry. I think I am wrong to say that it is a compound. It is a very small street and all of the lots in that small street is ours except for that small space of a lot. We bought those lots from another person, but this vacant lot that we didn't bought is from another person again. It is not a part of a planned community or homeowner's association and I think they are not interested in mutual easements or obligations. The owner which is in another country seems not interested in her lot. Oct 24 '15 at 0:09
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Have I violated any laws? Or do I have rights to use a neglected lot in that fashion?

Probably. No.

I am unfamiliar with Philippine law; I do not even know if it is common law or civil law based, so I will just set out general principles that should be applicable.

If it is not your land you do not have the right to do anything to it. Unless you have been prohibited from entering; either explicitly or because there is a sign or fence then you may enter and cross the property, otherwise entering is trespass.

By planting crops on the land without permission you have definitely trespassed and would be liable for the cost of removing them if the owner wanted you to. Notwithstanding, as fixtures to the land, the plants legally belong to the owner as does any fruit/seeds they produce; if you take these you are stealing.

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    It's possible that they've gained the right to use the lot by adverse possession, which I believe is found in Philippine law.
    – jimsug
    Oct 26 '15 at 3:35
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    Who downvoted this and why? This is a pretty good answer if the law in the Philipines is anything like it is in California. In landlord-tenant law, any fixtures you affix onto the property likewise belong to the landlord; e.g., when the telecom company installs an ONT and a battery onto the wall, the ONT/battery henceforth belong to the landlord, not to the tenant nor to the telecom.
    – cnst
    Oct 26 '15 at 3:37
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    @cnst - I haven't downvoted, but I was assuming, like jimsug, that something like adverse possession (if not literally that principle) provides for this sort of use.
    – feetwet
    Oct 26 '15 at 4:45
  • Adverse possession takes years to go into effect.
    – Viktor
    Oct 26 '15 at 14:45
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    @Viktor The question doesn't specify how long the lot has been abandoned, could be days or decades, so I would expect a complete answer to address this possibility, especially as the question asks whether they have rights to use a neglected lot in that fashion.
    – jimsug
    Oct 27 '15 at 0:48

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