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Adverse Possession laws - Information on the law about Adverse Possession - Requirements

yrs disability title lifted

The doctrine of "adverse possession" is one of the most interesting in the field of real property law. The character of the law reflects the pioneer spirit of a growing world in both North America and Europe over the last few centuries.

If a person moves into possession of property, improves it and possesses it in a public manner, then after a certain amount of time he will acquire title to the property even though it is actually owned by someone else. The idea for adverse possession has at its root that land should not lie idle. If it does, it is wasted to the community. Therefore, if someone moves onto the land and makes it productive, that person may earn the right to claim it as his or her own. It is also reflective of the imprecise nature of ancient land sales: a person who believes he owns land, establishes himself on it in public, and is not hindered after a period of time, should be entitled to own the land.

The basic requirement for adverse possession is that the claiming party must take exclusive possession of the property. This type of possession is called "open and notorious" or proactive and absolutely not secretive possession. Some states require that the possession be "under color of title," or that the person must believe that he has the right to possess it and has some form of document or is relying on some fact that while not actually conveying title, appears to do so. In addition, many states require concurrent the payment of property taxes for a specified period of time, and a few states also require that improvements be made upon the land. Eventually, the possessor is required to file for title with the county recorder. The actual owner then has a limited amount of time in which to challenge the newcomer's title. Essentially, the owner's only argument is to claim some sort of disability; such as age, mental instability, or imprisonment. The owner is not required to do much in order to stop the possessor from acquiring title; merely sending the possessor a note granting permission to be there will usually suffice. Various rules exist regarding the continuousness of the possession and the ability to "tack" various periods of possession together in order to satisfy the time of possession requirement; see your state codes or the code of the state in which you are interested for more detailed information.

Table 41: Adverse Possession

State Code Section Prescriptive Period Occupation Time to Challenge Improvements Payment of Taxes Title from Tax Assessor
ALABAMA 6-5-200 20 yrs. Bradley v. Demos 599 So.2d 1148 and Color of Title: 10 yrs. and Payment of Taxes: 10 yrs.     10 yrs. required  
ALASKA 09.45.052   and Color of Title: 7 yrs.     Not required but is considered proof Alaska Nat. Bank v. Linck 559 P.2d 1049  
ARIZONA 12-522 et seq. 2 yrs. (if occupied with no claim to title) and Color of Title: 3 yrs. or 5 yrs. if city lot 3 yrs. after cause of action arrives Taxes plus cultivation: 5 yrs.; Cultivation only: 10 yrs. 5 consecutive yrs. before suit to recover  
ARKANSAS 18-61-101, 18-11-101 et seq. 7 yrs. Can't eject after 5 yrs. After disability lifted: 3 yrs.   7 successive years; 15 yrs. consecutively for wild and unimproved land creates presumption of color of title  
CALIFORNIA Civ. Proc. §§318, 325, 328   and Payment of Taxes: 5 yrs. With disability: 20 yrs.; After disability lifted: 5 yrs.   5 years required  
COLORADO 38-41-101, et seq. 18 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 7 yrs. After disability lifted: 2 yrs.   7 years  
CONNECTICUT 52-575 15 yrs.   After disability lifted: 5 yrs.      
DELAWARE Tit. 10 §§7901, et seq. 20 yrs.   After disability lifted: 10 yrs.      
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 16-1113, 16-3301 15 yrs.   With disability: max. 22 yrs.; After disability lifted: 2 yrs.      
FLORIDA 95.16, 18, 191, 192   and Color of Title: 7 yrs. and Payment of Taxes: 7 yrs.   One way to possess land 7 yrs. 4 yrs.

Table 41: Adverse Possession—Continued

State Code Section Prescriptive Period Occupation Time to Challenge Improvements Payment of Taxes Title from Tax Assessor
GEORGIA 44-5-161, et seq. 20 yrs. and Color of Title: 7 yrs. Prescriptive period does not run until disability removed.      
HAWAII 657-31.5, et seq.; 669-1 20 yrs.   After disability lifted: 5 yrs.      
IDAHO 5-203, et seq.   and Color of Title: 5 yrs. and Payment of Taxes: 5 yrs. After disability lifted: 5 yrs. Taxes plus cultivation 5 years Required  
ILLINOIS 735 ILCS 5/13-101, et seq. 20 yrs. and Color of Title: 7 yrs. and Payment of Taxes: 7 yrs. After disability lifted: 2 yrs.     7 yrs.
INDIANA 32-21-7-1 et seq.; 34-11-1-2 10 yrs. (15 yrs. if cause of action arose before Sept. 1, 1982)   After disability lifted: 2 yrs.   Required  
IOWA 614.8, 17, 560.2 Within 1 year (after 7/1/80) and Color of Title/Payment of taxes; 5 yrs. After disability lifted: 1 yr. With occupancy, one way to possess land    
KANSAS 60-503, et seq. 15 yrs.   With disability: max. 23 yrs.; After disability lifted: 2 yrs.      
KENTUCKY 413.010, .060, .020 15 yrs. and Color of Title: 7 yrs. After disability lifted: 3 yrs.      
LOUISIANA C.C. Art. 3473, et seq. 10 yrs. and Color of Title: 10 yrs.        
MAINE Tit. 14 §§801, et seq. 20 yrs. and Color of Title/payment of taxes: 20 years After disability lifted: 10 yrs. notwithstanding 20 yrs. have expired   Required on uncultivated lands in unincorporated areas  
MARYLAND Cts. & Jud. Proc. §5-103, 201 20 yrs.   After disability lifted: 3 yrs.      
MASSACHUSETTS 260§21 20 yrs.          
MICHIGAN §600.5801, 5851 15 yrs.   After disability lifted: 1 yr.     10 years
MINNESOTA 541.02, 15 15 yrs. and payment of taxes for 5 consecutive years With disability: 5 yrs. (except for infancy); After disability lifted: 1 yr.      

Table 41: Adverse Possession—Continued

State Code Section Prescriptive Period Occupation Time to Challenge Improvements Payment of Taxes Title from Tax Assessor
MISSISSIPPI 15-1-7, 13, 15 10 yrs. and Color of Title: 10 years and Payment of Taxes: 2 years With disability: 31 yrs.; After disability lifted: 10 yrs.   2 yrs. 3 yrs. after 2 yrs. from day of sale by tax collector
MISSOURI 516.010, .030 10 yrs.   After disability lifted: 3 yrs., max. 21 yrs.      
MONTANA 70-19-401, 411, 413 5 yrs. and Color of Title: 5 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 5 yrs. After disability lifted: 5 yrs.   Required  
NEBRASKA 25-202, 213 10 yrs.   With disability: 20 yrs.; After disability lifted: 10 yrs.      
NEVADA 11.070, 110, 150, 180 5 yrs. and Color of Title: 5 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 5 yrs. After disability lifted: 2 yrs.   Required  
NEW HAMPSHIRE 508:2, 3 20 yrs.   After disability lifted: 5 yrs.      
NEW JERSEY 2A:14-30 to 32; 2A:62-2 30 yrs. or 60 yrs. if woodland and Color of Title: 30 yrs. and Payment of Taxes: 5 yrs. After disability lifted: 5 yrs.      
NEW MEXICO 37-1-22 10 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 10 yrs. After disability lifted: 1 yr.   Required  
NEW YORK Real Prop. Acts & Procedures 501, et seq. 10 yrs. and Color of Title: 10 yrs.   One way to possess land    
NORTH CAROLINA 1-38, et seq.; 1-17 20 yrs. and Color of Title: 7 yrs. After disability lifted: 3 yrs.      
NORTH DAKOTA 28-01-04, et seq.; 47-06-03 20 yrs. and Color of Title: 20 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 10 yrs. After disability lifted: 10 yrs. One way to possess land 10 yrs.  
OHIO 2305.04 21 yrs.   With disability: 21 yrs.; After disability lifted: 10 yrs.      
OKLAHOMA 12§93, 94 15 yrs.   After disability lifted: 2 yrs.     5 yrs.

Table 41: Adverse Possession—Continued

State Code Section Prescriptive Period Occupation Time to Challenge Improvements Payment of Taxes Title from Tax Assessor
OREGON 12.050, 160 10 yrs.   With disability: 5 yrs.; After disability lifted: 1 yr.      
PENNSYLVANIA Tit. 42§5530 21 yrs.          
RHODE ISLAND 34-7-1, et seq. 10 yrs.   After disability lifted: 10 yrs.      
SOUTH CAROLINA 15-67-210, et seq. 10 yrs. and Color of Title: 10 yrs.   One way to possess land    
SOUTH DAKOTA 15-3-1, et seq. 20 yrs. and Color of Title: 20 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 10 yrs. With disability: 20 yrs.; After disability lifted: 10 yrs. One way to possess land    
TENNESSEE 28-2-101, et seq. 7 yrs.   After disability lifted: 3 yrs.   20 yrs.  
TEXAS Civ. Prac. & Rem. §16.024, et seq. 10 yrs. and Color of Title: 3 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of taxes: 5 yrs With disability: 25 yrs. Taxes plus cultivation: 5 yrs.; Cultivation only: 10 yrs. Required  
UTAH 78-12-7, 12 7 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 7 yrs.   Cultivation only: 7 yrs. Required  
VERMONT Tit. 12 §501 15 yrs.          
VIRGINIA 8.01-236, 237 15 yrs. and Color of Title: 15 yrs With disability: 25 yrs. max.      
WASHINGTON 7.28.050, et seq. 7 yrs. and Color of Title: 7 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 7 yrs. After disability lifted: 3 yrs.   Required  
WEST VIRGINIA 55-2-1, 3 10 yrs.   After disability lifted: 5 yrs.      
WISCONSIN 893.16, 25 to 27 20 yrs. and Color of Title: 10 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of Taxes: 7 yrs. With disability: 5 yrs., except when due to insanity or imprisonment. After disability lifted: 2 yrs. One way to prove possession.    
WYOMING 1-3-103, 104 10 yrs.   After disability lifted: 10 yrs.      
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over 3 years ago

I moved into a rundown house with property 2 years ago. At first, i was supposed to pay rent, but upon moving in, there was no air, heat, bathroom sink, toilet, and the water heater was not working. The yard and property was overrun with brush 6 feet tall! It was agreed that I could stay here as long as I improve the property. In 2 years, I have cleared all brush from the house, instsalled a new toilet and bathroom sink, added heat, and a new water heater. I also have paid the property taxes to the owner. Now that all is cleaned up, they are wanting to throw me out because im not paying rent! can they do this? there was nothing legal drawn up concerning renting or improving this property it was all word of mouth. Can I stake claim to this house and property?

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about 3 years ago

So this seems interesting even found a hoise to squat in i live in mn what is the disability lifted do i do this after the 15 yrs or is this a speedier way to own the property

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over 4 years ago

Family Affairs. Mother inherited the house. Her sister wanted to move in. Mother said yes, as long as you pay the taxes. Sister paid the taxes, but given Mother the check, Mother made payment with check. Later, sister tried to get the house by saying she should have the house and that one of the parent wanted her to have it (but the house was willed to Mother). Sister took Mother to court, Mother won. Sister appealed, Mother won the appeal. Mother was in the process of removing sister out the house. Sister, realize what was going on, brother in law of sister, who work in the tax office, advised sister to file adverse poss. Mother kept the insurance on the house, filed eviction notices. Mother is now decease, sister filed adverse possession, Mother's children went to court and we lost. We are in the possess of appealing. How did she win?

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almost 3 years ago

Installing a chain link fence between properties. Not sure where our property lines are but have an idea. Did not have a survey done. Cost factor, up to $1000.00. Laid out a string line on both sides and both property owners agreed on the placement of the fence between the properties. With this agreement between property owners, will this be enough if a survey is done in the future to avoid removing parts or all of the fence installed?

Thanks for your help.

James Huber

JJHub0414@Yaoo.com

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about 3 years ago

We live in Indiana. My husband and 2 siblings inherited 80 acres. we moved onto the land and made many improvments on house and utilities. paid all the taxes for last 15 yrs, we have lived on this property for 11 yrs. we have taken care of the fields and mowing. his brother comes and hunts deer couple times a year. but other then that we don't see either of his siblings. can we and how would we go about adverse posesion for this property?

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over 3 years ago


I have noticed numerous buildings which appear abonded for more than a decade; some in DC and MD.

Would like to know how to go about starting the process.

I downloaded a document that I believe will help, though I have not printed it as of yet.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

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over 3 years ago

I have owned a piece of property (slightly under 3 acres) in New Mexico for 23 years. At the time of purchase, I was shown the land and it was completely fenced and most likely fenced for at least 25 years before I purchased it. I have never altered the fence line in any way. I purchased the property from one of the sons of the deceased property owner. 2 of the 6 surviving children are adamant about this 7/100th of an acre. I feel I bought to the existing fence property line, and for the past 23 years no one has even mentioned it not being my property

Now, 23 years later the property owner has died and the estate is claiming 7/100th of an acre on my side of the fence. It is pie shaped and 9 feet long at one end and terminates at 0. I do not want to engaged in a lawsuit, but I feel I have owned the land and used it for the past 23 years. All members of the family, dead or alive have witnessed my use of the land over the 23 years. Do I have a strong case? My attorney says yes. What do you think?

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about 3 years ago

live in home over 25 years my
mother died and now family is trying to take .

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about 4 years ago

TVA bought 5 acres fron a farm in 1997 for a possible railway line, which they never built. The owner of the far has a tenant who grazes cattle, and mows and gathers hay from his farm, and the adjacent 5 acres. Doesn't appear any TVA perseonnel has come by to check on property, perhaps since it was purchased 13 years ago.



Does farm owner have adverse possession because his "tenant" has ket up and worked that 5 cres, and present owner does nothing on it?

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over 4 years ago

I PURCHASE A HOUSE, LIVED THERE FOR SEVERAL YEARS WITH ONE SIDE OF THE YARD PARTLY FENCED IN . . . IN AN L SHAPE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOUSE

LATER I HAD THE YARD SERVAYED TO FIND THAT THE L SHAPE WAS TOO FAR OVER IN MY BCKYARD, AN THE SERVAYE

STAKES ARE STRAIGHT. I HAD TO GO TO COURT AND IT TOOK ABOUT 3 YEARS FOR ME TO GET MY LAND BECAUSE MY NEIGHBORS HAD LIVED THERE SINCE ABOUT 1958 AND I MOVED THERE IN 2000, CLAIMED ADVERSE POSESSION BUT HAD NEVER PAID ANY TAXES SO I WON AND THEY HAD TO TEAR DOWN THEIR SHED AND FENCE . . . I PUT A FENCE UP AFTER I WON. THEY ONLY LOST BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT PAID TAXES FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS ADVERSE POSSESSION

SAYS YOU MUST PAY TAXES.

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over 3 years ago

My wife teresa got this lane 15 years ago,We was going to put up a fen,we had a surveyor come out and show us the pins are,I see that we owne the rood,but the nabor said we did not owne the rood,so thay had a

3 surveyor to come out and put rods in are yard,thay took 20 feet.

But are map said we owne the rood.So now thay cut some of my trees down.

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4 months ago

Can a neighbor claim adverse possession just by mowing the lawn?
she just recently put up a fence. I got a survey done and she is 10 feet over onto my land.
Also, she owes back taxes on her own property, is that an issue.

This is in MIchigan.

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over 3 years ago

Chek this out.

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over 3 years ago

Chek this out.

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about 6 years ago

REF ADVERSE POSSESSION NEW YORK STATE

GOVERNOR PATERSON SIGNED INTO STATE LAW EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY S07915

THE EXISTENCE OF DE MINIMUS NON-STRUCTURAL ENCROACHMENTS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, FENCES, HEDGES, SHRUBBERY, PLANTINGS, LAWN MOWING OR SIMILAR MAINTENANCE ACROSS THE BOUNDARY LINE OF AN ADJOING LANDOWNERS PROPERTY SHALL BE DEEMED PERMISSIVE AND NON-ADVERSE. IN PLAIN ENGLISH IT MEANS YOUR NEIGHBOR WILL LOSE IN A COURT OF LAW IF HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY PUTS A FENCE OVER YOU PROPERTY LINE ETC. (CIVIL COURT).



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almost 7 years ago

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:



I, in fact, found this information to be much more helpful than other pages I visited in my action to pursue a claim of adverse posssesion of property abutting my commercial land in Michigan.



Regards,

Patricia Willis

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over 3 years ago


I have noticed numerous buildings which appear abonded for more than a decade; some in DC and MD.

Would like to know how to go about starting the process.

I downloaded a document that I believe will help, though I have not printed it as of yet.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

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almost 4 years ago

This helps explain things for me. I have property in Alabama where a fence was nailed to trees over my line. I've paid taxes on it for over 10 years. I have two surveys from today and 1995 that show the boundaries and a well established Qtr Section Line.