Understanding Adverse Possession

Real Estate News Article

< Back

Understanding Adverse Possession

Written By: Benny L Kass
Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The theory behind adverse possession is that a person who holds or uses property adversely against the rightful owner should ultimately be entitled to clear title. But not every possession of land will turn into fee simple ownership. As the name of the doctrine implies, the possession must be adverse, hostile, actual, notorious, exclusive, continuous and under claim of right.

Needless to say, these sound like highly complex legal concepts, and to some extent they are. However, in the words of one judge, "the person claiming the property by adverse possession must unfurl his flag on the land and keep it flying so that the owner may see, if he wishes, that an enemy has invaded his domain and planted the flag of conquest."

Thus, the person claiming by adverse possession must do something to alert the true owner that a stranger has taken occupancy.

The first thing any property owner concerned about losing or gaining property because of adverse possession is to talk to a lawyer. Although the legal concepts for adverse possession are fairly universal throughout the country, different states have different time requirements before adverse possession will kick in. For example, in the District of Columbia, the elements of adverse possession i.e. open, notorious and hostile use of real property must have been in existence for a period of 15 years. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the period of adversity is also 15 years, while in Maryland the law requires 20 years for a successful claim.

It should be noted that these time limitations do not require the same owner to hold the property for the entire length of time. If, for example, owner A has owned the property for 8 years and then sold to owner B, the courts will allow the times to be added together. So long as the current owner of the property can claim that for the statutory period, he or she has met the elements of adverse possession, the Courts will grant title to that portion of property to the adverse claimant. This is called ldquo;tackingrdquo;. It must be pointed out, however, that a couple of years ago, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals significantly limited the ability to claim ldquo;tackingrdquo; when involved in an adverse possession case. Itrsquo;s complicated; seek legal advice for an explanation.

Keep in mind that the burden of proof is on the claimant to meet the tests for adverse possession. In order to actually get title to the land in question, the claimant will have to file "an action for quiet title" in the local court where the property is located. Needless to say, this is both time-consuming and expensive, and many homeowners -- especially neighbors -- will be >

The Courts are generally >

Thus, if you are a property owner and are concerned that your neighbor may be in the process of claiming a portion of your property, there is one easy way to stop this.

You can avoid your neighbors successful claim of adverse possession by removing ndash; before that statutory period has run ndash; one of the legal elements required for this claim -- namely adversity. Send your neighbor a letter, certified, return receipt requested, telling them you recognize they are on your land and for a limited period of time you are going to permit them to keep the shed on your property or whatever it is they are doing on your land..

According to one judge, "If the use by me of my neighbors land is, on its face, permitted by my neighbor as a matter of neighborly accommodation, the use is not adverse or hostile."

Put a copy of the letter and the return receipt among your valuable papers, and periodically -- perhaps every five years -- you may want to renew the permission to your neighbor.

And dont forget to inform your buyers of this arrangement if you ever sell your house.





Copyright© 2019 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

Updated: Friday, March 22, 2019

FHA High Balance Home Loans...
FHA loans are easier to save up for because the minimum down payment is only 3.5 of the sale...

Septic or Sewer: Whats the Dif...
All of these functions >1. Sewer system2. Septic system...

How to DIY Abstract Art...
Yes, you can scour the internet for abstract art in every color, shape, and size, and yoursq...

Copyright ©2019Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

Housing Rebound: Factors to Consider
In Miami we have had an incredible year of growth with an ever shrinking supply of condos...

Hoteliers Buy Versace Mansion at Auction
Gindi Family and Nakash Family of New York were the winners of the auction for Casa Casuarina...

Stunning Estate for Sale on Allison Island
Allison Island is one of the man made islands comprising Miami Beach. One half of the island...

Avant Garde and Luxurious Penthouse on Fisher Island
Fisher Island is home to some of the highest net worth individuals in Miami. It is a private...

6000 Indian Creek, Condominium Spotlight
6000 Indian Creek is a Sieger Suarez project that was completed in 2007 and consists of...

$35 Million Buys you THIS on Star Island
$35 Million for a home on Star Island is par for the course in Miami Beach real estate....

Development Update
It is looking like a dusty winter season in Miami, with all the construction rapidly underway,...

North Bay Road Charm, 4330 North Bay Road
4330 North Bay Road is a stunning example of Mediterranean architecture in Miami Beach....

Best Home Improvements for Resale Value
It could not be a better time for a homeowner to list their home for sale in Miami. The...

Biscayne Gets a New Development
The Melo Group of developers acquired 601 NE 23rd St last year and have conceived of 23...

520 West Ave Residence 2301
520 West Avenue is home of the Bentley Bay. Bentley Bay is comprised of two modern towers...

Spice 2013, Guide 101
Miami Spice is a program whereby most of the restaurants in the city encourage people to...

Hollywood has a New Hotel
Margaritaville Hollywood is coming to Hollywood Beach and is likely to completely alter...

Sustainable Waterfront Home on Normandy Isle, 1.85 Million
Rarely on the market do we find completely sustainable, off the grid, homes in Miami Beach....

Housing Inventory on the Rise at the Close of Summer
The Wallstreet Journal released numbers via Realtor.com regarding the inventory of available...

Warm Spanish Style Home Listed on the Sunset Islands
1844 W. 23rd Street is listed on the Miami Beach luxury real estate marketplace for $11...

Former Gansevoort Getting Complete Eco-Renovation
Last year the Perry Hotel, formerly the Gansevoort, was purchased for $230 million. The...

Affordable Luxury Waterfront on Hibiscus Island
A home that is considered affordable in Miami terms for waterfront is generally between...

Bart Reines New Masterpiece Released on the Market
Bart Reines is one of the worlds most impressive modern architects living, and he has just...

New Listing on La Gorce Island
98 La Gorce Court has just been listed for sale. This over 7800 square foot home with 8...