Have you heard of adverse possession?

Adverse possession is a term commonly used to determine who owns a property; It is generally used when someone wants to make a claim on someone else’s property. Through this process, the occupant acquires the right to the property by continuous possession instead of a commercial process.

In the state of California, adverse possession requires someone to live on the property for a minimum of five years and have paid taxes for the same amount of time. Also, a list of additional requirements must be met to proceed successfully in this type of case.

It is important to note that adverse property cases generally involve an owner who has failed to maintain the property in habitable condition. Additionally, taking control of the property must be done publicly and legally. By following the correct process, the occupant can obtain title to the property and become the official owner.

This topic can become complex so we will explain it in more detail below.

What requirements must be met for adverse possession?

Hostile claim:

A hostile claim occurs when the occupant occupies the property against the owner’s will. For adverse possession to be applied to the property, the interested person must prove that they used it for housing without the owner’s permission or without informing the owner.

Current possession:

The person must be living in the property and treat it as if it were their own. This implies actions such as putting up fences, making improvements, paying taxes, among others.

Open and notorious possession:

Other people must be aware that the occupant is living on the property. In an ideal case, the neighbors must witness that the occupant has inhabited the property for the required time.

Exclusive and continuous possession:

The occupant of the property must live in it for a continuous and uninterrupted period of time.

Once the occupant has attempted to take adverse possession of the property, the original owner has five years to make a counterclaim. If the owner suffers from some type of disability, then they will have 20 years to make a claim and try to recover the property.

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