How Adverse Possession Might Result In Real Property Loss
If you own property that you are not using, such as a beach house or historic family farm, it may be time to take a trip to check on your land. According to law, if a home or property is occupied for more than X number of years (based on state law) by a non-owner, there’s a chance the deed may be transferred to the occupying party. This, according to Brentwood attorney Brian T. Boyd,
What Is Adverse Possession?
According to law firm representatives, adverse possession is a little-known legal doctrine that makes provisions for an illegal squatter to take ownership of the property. There are many conditions that must be met, however.
Continuous And Hostile
To bring an adverse possession claim, an illegal resident must physically possess a property continuously for a period outlined in the property’s home state. The Brentwood attorney clarifies that this occupation must be actual; the squatter cannot merely intend to occupy the property. Further, occupation must meet the terms of hostility. This does not mean that they are violent or hostile in a traditional sense, but hostile against the owner by possessing the property without permission.
Open And Notorious
A squatter has to be a notorious criminal, and in Brentwood, the attorney explains this means they must openly occupy a property. To bring an adverse possession claim, the claimant must, in effect, manage the property as their own. They must pay taxes, maintain the land, and generally treat the land or dwelling as though it were their own investment.
Adverse Possession – Is It Fair?
The question of whether or not adverse possession is fair is a complicated one, and the answer depends on which side of the case you are on. On one hand, granting an illegal possessor ownership of land they otherwise would not have a legal claim to punishes a rightful landowner. On the other, adverse possession laws are meant to encourage responsible ownership and prevent land waste. The attorney explains that Brentwood property owners that are aware of the adverse possession law are likely more diligent in keeping track of their property.
Adverse possession works because it falls under the body of law known as the statute of limitations. This is essentially a stipulation that puts a time clock on crimes. The statute of limitations prevents people from being prosecuted from certain acts of wrongdoing and keeps the court system from dealing with “stale” claims.
Brian T. Boyd is a business attorney in Brentwood. His law firm provides services to business owners in Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas.