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A Brief Overview of Adverse Possession

Adverse Possession Overview


Adverse possession is a law that is undercover to a majority of the population due to its rare nature. There is a correlation between its occurrence and its awareness being generated. With the given economy at hand, the likeliness of its occurrence is said to increase.

This law has been enforceable for hundreds of years, and its process has been implemented several times since not only the early settlement of the United States, but in the settlement of European nations since the 1400's. The taking of Native Americans land is a prime example of how adverse possession took place in the early ages, back then it could be looked at as more overt though.

Recently, since the awareness of an "invasion" on someone's property has inclined, property owners tend to be more suspicious of others on their property. The "invasion" is attempted to be done in a more covert way to avoid the eye of the property owners. This leads to the reason why a lot of states have required evidence that the property owner must have had knowledge of the intent over time. There is a lot of room for tweaking within this process since the occurrence of it has increased with time. In the initial days of early America, it was at a peak, then it went at a steady pace, and after quite sometime, in our current day, it has began to increase once again.


Adverse possession takes place without the willingness of the property owner. If the owner was to be aware, he could attempt to prevent, during the years required, in order for the possessor to receive title to the property. There are a few requirements in order to acquire property through adverse possession law. The possession needs to be actual, as if the possessor is the owner of that land.

Your possession needs to be open and notorious, meaning there is a visibility requirement, not of the possessor on the property, but of his continuous work on the property. Exclusive possession is also a prerequisite for adverse possession, the interest the possessor maintains of the property cannot be shared, nor can it be of public use. Your possession must be hostile, without the consent of he actual owner.


As the cases of adverse possession increase in current times, the laws have changed with some additions and a few subtractions. One of the earlier additions to an adverse possession claim that benefit the possessors is the process of tacking. Tacking deals with, either selling your interest on another individual's property to a second possessor, or adding an additional possessor in order to make time go faster.

As they say with real property, "time is of the essence." In this case, if the primary possessor sold all his interest in his or her possessed land to another, that person receives the years the property was possessed by the primary possessor. This may occur as long as there was no gap in the time possessed. On the other hand, if an additional possessor is acquired through family or contractual relations, the time goes twice as fast. The process of tacking is more than likely to have additional changes in the near future since the occurrence is on a rapid basis.

NEXT: A Full Explanation of Adverse Possession

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