Adverse Possession Claims
Who Owns This Land?
Adverse possession is an old legal concept that most people don’t understand. It’s hard for some people to believe adverse possession is still a legal possibility. It seems like something out of a bad spaghetti western: Someone squats on someone else’s property and then, if they hold the land long enough, the property is theirs legally.
Of course, there is more to adverse possession law than this, but it is still something that happens on occasion. It is important to work with an experienced legal team if you are dealing with adverse possession. The laws are slightly different from state to state, and there are many nuanced details that need to be taken into consideration.
At Chenoweth Law Group in Portland, our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the real estate disputes and the procedures involved with adverse possession claims. We can help you understand your rights and options. CLG lawyers represent clients throughout Oregon, Washington, and California.
Adverse Possession, Generally
The basic requirements for adverse possession involve:
- Possessing the land openly, notoriously, and exclusively
- Against the actual landowner’s interests or by claim of right
- Continuous and uninterrupted for the statutory period
While these are the general requirements throughout the country, each state handles the details differently. For instance, Washington has a seven-year statutory period (RCW § 7.28.050), while Oregon has a 10-year statutory period. Oregon also has a requirement that “the person entering into possession had the honest belief that the person was the actual owner of the property,” and adds further the belief that there was an objective basis for this belief, that the belief was reasonable under the circumstances, and other requirements. (ORS 105.620)
Every state has a number of nuanced details that should be handled by an experienced legal team that can properly protect your interests.
Adverse possession claims commonly arise on the borders of large properties. Usually there is some discrepancy or misunderstanding as to the exact property lines, and one party takes possession of an area of land that he or she does not own.
We Can Defend Your Rights
If you have someone trying to take your land through adverse possession, you have rights. Also, if you have possessed land for the appropriate period of time to assume ownership of land according to your state’s statutes, you have a legal right to that land. Our attorneys know adverse possession law, and we can help you protect your rights.