What is adverse possession and does it affect your property?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2019 | Commercial Real Estate, Residential Real Estate

As a New York property owner, you want to know everything there is to know about your land or property. After all, if you aren’t sure what’s yours, how can you protect it? There are certain legal issues that could impact your property use, including something called adverse possession.

If someone trespasses on your property, that is illegal. However, if the act of trespassing takes place over an extended period of time, the trespasser may actually have legal grounds to stay on your land or access your land. This may sound crazy to you as the property owner, but this is a real issue that impacts landowners. If you are facing a complex dispute over your land or property, you may want to consult with an experienced legal advocate about what you are up against.

What are the grounds for an adverse possession claim? 

There are specific circumstances that may give rise to an adverse possession claim. If a person is successful in the claim, he or she may have the right to remain on the land or access the land to get somewhere else. This is most frequently an issue in situations involving inherited land from family member who did not have proper documentation, land that was vacant for a long time or the land backs up to another piece of property with no direct access. 

Adverse possession does not mean that a person can simply decide to move onto your land and stay there with the intent of claiming it as his or her own. This legal principle typically applies in situations where: 

  • Someone has been openly occupying the land for an extended, unbroken period of time.
  • The occupying party did not hide his or her presence on the land from others.
  • The trespasser is treating the land as his or her own, continually occupying it.

If granted adverse possession of land, the person will then have to pay property taxes on it. As the property owner, you have the right to dispute a claim to your land and fight to keep your land intact. 

Working through complex land issues

If you are dealing with a dispute that pertains to land use, property rights, adverse possession and trespassing, you do not have to deal with it alone. You will find great benefit in working with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and explain how you can pursue a beneficial outcome to your situation.