Many individuals have heard of the real estate concept of adverse possession, yet they don’t have a clear understanding of what it entails. This terminology is often used interchangeably with “squatters’ rights.” The concept refers to someone other than the original property owner staking a legal claim of ownership to the piece of real estate.
While adverse possession laws may legitimately allow for someone’s acquisition of property without pay, a certain amount of time must elapse for someone to assume those rights. The interested party must meet certain conditions to stake a claim to the deed as well.
What steps must an adverse possessor take to procure a clear title?
Someone looking to take adverse possession of a property has to be able to show that they’ve retained their domain over it and continual access to it for a set period. Texas law gives the true owner 10 years to end the adverse possessor’s possession of the property. It also gives landowners up to 25 years to challenge a claim of adverse possession before the title ultimately passes on to the trespasser.
Some of the conditions that someone looking to take adverse possession over a property must meet aside from proving their continuous domain or access to it include:
- Showing that they’ve undertaken successive attempts to adversely possess the property
- Demonstration that a legal relationship exists between the parties staking the claim to the property
As a side note, renters are generally prohibited from taking adverse possession of their rental unit.
Generally, an adverse possession begins with someone having initially overtaken a property by taking some type of hostile action. Likewise, a possessor’s claim must be an infringement of the true owner’s rights instead of a non-hostile turnover.
It must also be clear that the adverse possessor has take the property under its domain for them to stake a claim to it via adverse possession laws.
The true owner must show that they’ve undertaken efforts to fend off others wanting to possess their property, such as by filing trespassing notices, if they want to maintain it for their exclusive use.
You may want to take time to read up on adverse possession laws then act quickly to ensure no one else can take ownership of your property that you’ve had for a long time.