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What is adverse possession?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2021 | Property Law

Adverse possession relates to conditions that one party must meet in order to claim another person’s property as their own through continuous possession or use. An individual only has such a claim if specific legal requirements are met.

The law relating to adverse possession is carefully outlined under Texas Code. For example, individuals must have made continuous and uninterrupted use of the property for a specified statutory period.

Legal specifications for adverse possession

The legal requirements for adverse possession vary from state to state. In Texas, there are specific elements that must be satisfied for claims to be valid. First of all, use of the property must be open and notorious. Also, the use of the property must make it obvious that the individual truly believes they have a claim to ownership.

Additionally, occupiers of the property must be utilizing it without prior consent from the owner. Furthermore, possession of the property must occur continuously throughout the state’s allocated statutory time period.

It is important to note that encroaching parties can only confer title if the owner has taken no measures to remove them from the property.

How to protect your property

Familiarizing yourself with statutory time periods can go a long way in protecting your property. In Texas, the statutory period for adverse possession is 10 years. Consequently, property owners only have 10 years to try and terminate the possession of trespassers.

However, if the trespasser has written documentation that gives them a claim to title, then true property owners must act within three years.

A 5-year period applies where the trespasser is paying taxes on the property and claiming it under a registered deed. Crucially, if any of the written correspondence is fraudulent, then it will be nullified.

Informing the police, displaying “No trespassing” signs and obtaining written acknowledgements that property is yours are just some methods of preventing adverse possession. It is beneficial to familiarize yourself with the law relating to adverse possession to protect your interests and keep your property safe.