search Nothing found
Main Dictionary A

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession means a legal concept that concedes a right of possession from a property owner to a third party. Notably, a property’s title is given to the individual as long as all terms are complied, despite the fact that they violate the rights of the real owner. Adverse possession has an alternate name, i.e. squatter’s rights. 

Essence of the concept

As stated above, adverse possession implies a legal state that happens if one side is entitled to another individual’s property by assuming possession of it. This can be a premeditated situation, or an inadverted one, as well as with the knowledge and consent of the owner, or not.

In the event that there is a premeditated adverse possession, an infringer or squatter, i.e. a person who misappropriated the estate, consciously trespasses someone’s land. In certain cases, there is a possibility of unintended adverse possession. For instance, a householder makes a hedge distinguishing the yard without being aware of crossing the neighbor’s boundaries and encroaching on the other territory. But the disseisor is able to aspire to the property.

Criteria to render Adverse Possession

A jurisdiction of a particular country defines the requirements for adverse possession. In a majority of states, a discharge of property taxes and a deed are required for a claimer to obtain gains. There exists a time interval during which the claim can be invalidated. Anyway, landlords are recommended to eliminate the possibility of adverse possession with all possible dispatch by making a settlement for any type of ownership. 

In order to claim adverse possession, the party has to prove that their tenancy of land complies with the following requirements:

  1. Constant use. It is necessary to demonstrate a possession over a land on a permanent basis.
  2. Property invasion. It doesn’t indicate that there were violent actions in regards to the property. A disseisor should show the absence of agreement with a landlord, for instance, an existing easement, or leasing fees.
  3. Common possession. The individual looking for adverse possession has to keep the property in a way that is obvious, common and well known. Nevertheless, the legal holder isn’t obliged to have cognizance of this occupation.
  4. Possession in deed. The disseisor should be actively engaged in the possession process over a legally established period, which varies from 3 up to 30 years. It includes land maintenance and tax remissions. 
  5. Sole usage. Third parties except a disseisor aren’t allowed to use the property. 

Note: the concept of adverse possession has been suggested as a potential solution to prevent infringements of intellectual property rights, such as patent trolling, cybersquatting, or excessive use of copyright. 

Methods of securing from Adverse Possession

Being a landlord, it is essential to insure against advert possession.

Here are some of the key methods for preventing the disseisor from taking ownership:

  • Determine and specify the property lines. Monitor the territory on a frequent basis to detect the trespassers. Usage of specific signs is recommended. Of course, particular states won’t consider these signs as grounds for withdrawing a claim, but it’s a good practice to scare away the disseisors. 
  • Suggest a property lease to the trespasser. Having a rent contract, the disseisor isn’t able to lay claim to land.
  • Enter into a rent agreement with a third party. Make a written permission to other individuals to use the land, and be ready to get a confirmation.
  • Be prompt in action. In case of trespassing, there is a necessity to act as soon as possible before a legal residence time has come into play.

Note: employ a legal adviser in the event of having trespassing signs. 

Homesteading process

In fact, adverse possession resembles the process of homesteading. It implies publicly held lands or a property without a landlord, which are rendered to new owners on the condition that this estate should be used and improved. In case of non-compliance with conditions, the property would pass into ownership of the state. Adverse possession may operate in a likely manner by releasing land with a vague status for productive use. 

Anyway, the main difference between the concepts of adverse possession and homesteading is a misappropriation of estate assumed in the first notion. So that there is a possibility to claim adverse possession for a land of the neighbor, especially if no written agreements are made. 

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with all the news!