Adverse Possession Texas

Adverse Possession in Texas

Real Estate Attorneys – The Woodlands, Tx

Generally, you need a deed to prove that you are the rightful owner of a piece of land in Texas. The only exception to this rule is the option of laying claim to a piece of land through the adverse possession code. Adverse possession is “visible appropriation of real property, commenced and continued under a claim that is inconsistent with and is hostile to the claim of another person.”

In other words, adverse possession is a legal concept that trespassers or strangers can use to gain legal title over a piece of land that originally belongs to someone else. Most of the time neighbors bordering each other take advantage of this law to expand the borders of their land.

What Are Adverse Possession Laws?

How To File For Adverse Possession

Adverse possession laws are used by courts to issue fair orders in situations where a land owner neglects or forgets about a piece of property and someone else takes care of the piece of property and lives in it. This only applies if the trespasser has lived and cared for that piece of land for a significant number of years to a point where the possessor may experience hardship if they are forcefully removed from that land.

But the trespasser must provide evidence in order to claim ownership of a piece of property through adverse possession. This is because the person holding the legal title is presumed by Texas law to be the legal owner of that particular property. This is why in most cases successful adverse possession claims are not that common.

Requirements For Adverse Possession

Adverse Possession In TexasJust because you have been paying property taxes or caring for someone else’s property for years does not mean that you have met all the requirements for adverse possession.  That means that all the care and money you spent on the land will be considered as a gift to the legal property owner if you don’t follow all the rules. Some of the requirements you need to fulfill include:

Element of Intention or hostile intent

You must have a clear intention to appropriate the property from the legal property owner. You occupying the property must infringe on the rights of the true owner of that land. That means that if you are a renter, you cannot claim ownership of the land through adverse possession.

Legal description of the property

Before you make an adverse possession claim, you must provide a document that has a proper legal description of the location and the boundaries of the property.  You can do this by having the land surveyed so that you can successfully file an affidavit of adverse possession.

Texas Adverse possession rules

There are several rules and conditions that the possessor of the property must obey for their claim to be legitimate. Failing to meet the most trivial requirement can lead to the case being thrown out by the court in favor of the legal owner.

Adverse Possession Statute of limitations

The legal owner of the property must file a lawsuit to recover real property held by someone else in adverse possession no later than 3 years after the possessor claims the land. This applies if the possessor actually has a title paperwork to support the claim. The statute of limitations increases to 5 years if the possessor cultivates the property, pays taxes, and has a duly registered deed for the property. In some instances, the statute of limitations is 10 years.

Talk to an experienced residential and commercial real estate lawyer for a more detailed explanation of adverse possession in Texas.

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