What is adverse possession?

Did you know that, under certain circumstances, a person may acquire ownership of property that does not actually belong to them? The legal doctrine of adverse possession and a related concept called acquiescence, provides a legal basis for someone to claim actual ownership of property that does not otherwise belong to them. This doctrine will apply, if over a period of 15 years or more, a person openly uses another person’s property exclusively as if his own.   This may happen even if a survey shows the actual legal boundary lines differ from its use or occupation.

Not every incidence, however, of the inappropriate use of another’s property becomes ownership through the doctrine of adverse possession. Whether your particular facts fit the legal doctrine of ownership by adverse possession is a question that requires careful review. If you have questions about whether you may either benefit from, or be harmed by, the doctrine of adverse possession, you may contact our experienced real estate attorneys.