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What is Adverse Possession and How Does it Work

What is Adverse Possession and how does it work: Today’s real-estate term that we’re gonna demystify is adverse possession.

What is Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is the term referencing if a person were to trespass on a given property and occupy it or live there or do their thing for a lengthy period of time. Well, then that property becomes theirs.

This seems really strange and I think what’s probably in everybody’s head is somebody moving into an empty house living there for twenty years and then they get to claim that it’s their own.

What is Adverse Possession
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How it Really Kind of Plays Out

In fact, I think that’s ultimately what somebody could do with adverse possession. But here’s how it really kind of plays out.

Most cases of adverse possession that I’ve been involved with or have observed and it’s only been twice in 12 years. In those cases, the adverse possession discussion revolved around lot lines, encroachments or Eastman’s.

Things that we were never exactly sure, how they were originally but they’ve always been that way.

Adverse Possession to claim

So the owner was potentially going to seek adverse possession to claim that the existing way the property was at that moment in time was how it should be going forward.

Example

You’re probably extremely confused because I’ve been to general here’s a recent example I encountered

A seller came to me looking to sell their parent’s property and the property had been in its current state for about 50 years.

The property had a rectangular lot with a fence surrounding all sides, but when he looked at the county records the lot looked more like a square.

So like the property on the county records might have been half of what it looked like when you were there looking at it with your own eyes.

But the seller said that their parents had always had that fence there had been like that for 50 years neighbors on all sides had come and gone in the past.

The fence lined up exactly with how the neighbor’s fence looked and their lot looked rectangular both in person with their own eyes and on the county records.

Why would our subject property have a square lot or a smaller lot

So the sellers were contemplating seeking adverse possession through a real estate attorney who would help them file on the title. That this lot should be rectangular or bigger.

It obviously makes a big difference when you’re selling a property that you want to have a large property as possible.

Seek Adverse Possession

So if they had to seek adverse possession they would have likely won. Because the fence had been in that state for 40 years or more no neighbors had any records to say it shouldn’t be like that.

So possibly, in this case, the seller would have won an adverse possession claim because the fence had been in the state for decades.

Now thankfully they didn’t have to go that route they found on all the record that actually proved the county map was incorrect and the original lot was rectangular and was large.

So they didn’t have to go through that adverse possession route.

However, if you ever run into the term adverse possession it simply means taking over something that originally wasn’t yours. But it’s been in this current state for long enough that you can now claim it is kind of crazy but that’s how it works.

I hope you understand What is Adverse Possession and how it works.

What is Adverse Possession

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