An Overview on the Law of “Adverse Possession” | Buy and Sell Properties Online New York

An Overview on the Law of “Adverse Possession”

By Elite Properties January 3, 2022

Adverse possession is a legal guideline when someone obtains the title of another person’s property or land. Rules differ by jurisdiction but usually, somebody can claim adverse possession after they’ve taken up residence on or have uninterrupted ownership of a piece of property for a definite amount of time.

In this blog, we help you learn more about what adverse possession is, the legal norms for that classification, and how it could affect you as a property owner.

Definition and Examples of Adverse possession

Adverse possession endows possession of land to someone apart from the owner if that person inhabits it for longer than the order of limits for that jurisdiction. Explained in other words, it’s an odd law in which somebody occupies property without consent (purposely or not), then gets a legal right to that property after a specified timeframe and in the case, other criteria are met.

 In what way does Adverse possession Works?

 Adverse possession is when a non-owner/trespasser/squatter inhabits real property deprived of consent. The owner must attempt to do away with them during the ruling of limitations period; otherwise, the person obligating the possession could possibly take legal ownership.

However, for there to be adverse possession, each of the following criteria must be met

  • Exclusive and continuous: The possessor has to have persisted on the property uninterruptedly, without others inhabiting it as well.
  • Actual possession: The person must tangibly inhabit the property, not just mention that they want to control.
  • Hostile possession: The possessor, by inhabiting the property, is trespassing on the original owner’s rights without consent.
  • Open and notorious possession: The possessor is not nagging onto the property. They are amenably living there in a way an owner would, and their occupation should be evident to any outside observer.

Adverse possession Types

 Adverse possession can take place in a couple of ways.

First, adverse possession could be granted to someone who purposely occupies property that doesn’t belong to them, such as a trespasser or a squatter, who lives there for a long period of time. This may take place in the case of an absentee owner not checking on the property that somebody has made their home. If enough time passes per the state’s law, the title may be approved to the trespasser.


The sum of time necessary to inhabit a property before initiating the adverse possession process differs by state and local law, usually taking more than a few years.


Somebody could meet the requirements for adverse possession in as little as two years in Maricopa County, Arizona, even though it’s more likely to see longer periods, for instance, 10 years in New York.

In another mundane example of adverse possession, somebody such as a neighbor intrudes on a rightful owner’s property. For example, a neighbor may construct a garage or build a fence that crosses a property line. This at times is done unintentionally, but it could result in adverse possession if the infringement occurred for long enough.

 Bottom Line

 Adverse possession can result in a legal headache for a property owner, but there are means to escape it. The best constraining for illegal inhabitants is to keep consistent tabs on a property and ensure that everything is locked and fenced-off appropriately.

In the event of a neighbor infringing on your land, if the owner offers written permission for the neighbor to use the property, then they cannot be presented the title to that land since it would not meet the “hostile” prerequisite of adverse possession. Still, be careful that permitting a neighbor to build on and/or encroach on your land could cause problems if and when you try to sell.

Should you find yourself in a situation in which someone is on the verge of qualifying for adverse possession, hire an attorney to assist you in filing a lawsuit to remove the party and/or reclaim the property. Additionally, refer experts from Elite Properties who can assist you in making the right decision. We are a cash buying company that suggests we provide fast closings. Call us at 718-977-5462 today.

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