Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Guide To Understanding Adverse Possession In Real Estate

Adverse Possession is the method of acquiring valid ownership over a piece of land, which is originally owned by someone else. There are a specific set of conditions that need to fall in place for the transfer of ownership to take place. Most of the people are not familiar with the legalities that govern such a transfer of ownership, and that leads many disputes between the original owner and the adverse possessor. Here is what you, as a landowner, need to know about this real estate term:

Legal Requirements For Adverse Possession

Some people are of the opinion that mere possession of the land over a fixed period of time is enough to qualify for this type of possession. This is absolutely untrue. There are other conditions that must be fulfilled, such as uninterrupted and exclusive possession, and open and notorious actual occupancy. The party applying for adverse possession, needs to clearly prove that it has fulfilled all such requirements in the court. Only then will they get a valid title for the land.

Span Of Possession

While the period of possession is not the only criteria for acquiring adverse possession, it is an extremely essential one. In most countries, the minimum number of years of possession is 20 years. If this tenure isn’t met, you cannot claim a stake over the ownership.

Intent Of Hostile Possession

Another essential requirement for this type of possession is the intent behind the possession. The court deems that it will consider the transfer of ownership valid, only when the adverse possessor has a hostile intention to take over the land. However, hostile intent does not require deliberate, willful, unfriendly animosity. In fact, hostile intent does not depend on the mindset of the possessor at all. Rather, an act is considered hostile when it is inconsistent with the rights of the record owner and not subordinate to those rights.

Original Owner’s Acquiescence

The law states that this kind of possession is valid before 20 years of possession, provided that the original owner of the land willingly gives the title to the current owner. This can save both the parties a lot of hassle, but is usually extremely rare as no one wants to give away their property for free.

Adverse possession occurs frequently, and can occur in any real estate related context. There are a lot of technicalities involved in its process. A comprehensive knowledge on the available legal remedies can make the process reasonably easy.