Adverse Possession

Definition - What does Adverse Possession mean?

Adverse possession is when a party gains the legal ownership of land belonging to another party. In order for this to happen, there are certain criteria that must be met. The party seeking the title to the land must have continual possession (as opposed to official ownership) of the land for a certain amount of time, they must have hostile interests to those of the owner, they must be open about their possession of the land, and the party must have actual and exclusive possession of the land

Justipedia explains Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is basically a method for settling property ownership disputes. It is used when one party has taken possession of a piece of land for an extended amount of time and the true owner has not done anything to stop it. Typical time periods for adverse possession can range from seven to twenty years. Adverse possession is similar to shipping companies gaining ownership of the contents of containers that are not picked up after a certain amount of time. The owner must tend to the property or else it can be lost.

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