Did you know that a trespasser, neighbor, or a stranger can legally own property that was not previously theirs after using it for a specified number of years? This might seem unreal and extreme, but Texas, and even other states, allow it under the law of adverse possession.
However, such claims are rare, and the most common ones occur between neighbors, involving a small tract of land often found at the borders. Most importantly, they are nearly impossible to navigate without the help of a real estate lawyer, which implies that you must be sufficiently prepared as the potential possessor.
Adverse possession is a statute that gives legal title ownership of land to a trespasser over the original property owner. Typically, a trespasser who has lived on a piece of property for the required period files a title action and notifies the owner. If the owner fails to respond, then the land ownership rights can be transferred to the trespasser.
Anyone of legal age can claim adverse possession as long they can prove, among other things, that their possession is:
To level the playing ground, the court has outlined a minimum period by which the trespasser must have possessed the land, as well as other requirements, to qualify for an adverse possession claim in Texas.
A trespasser can file this action after three years of using and occupying the property, as long as they have a color of title. This refers to a title or conveyance that might have been mistakenly but legally issued.
You can also claim adverse possession after five years of property possession if you have a color of title, have proof of land cultivation, and you’ve been paying taxes for the property.
There’s also a ten-year statute that does not require any title or conveyance as long as you can prove all possession standards like exclusivity and visibility of occupancy.
Adverse possession suits can be difficult to handle, and only a few of them go through. At the same time, each case is unique and with different circumstances, which means that you should still try to file a claim if you feel that you qualify for adverse possession.
Start by speaking with a real estate lawyer to understand the strength of your suit and how to proceed with the case. Call The Curry Law Firm at 713-678-0013 or send a message through our contact form for a free consultation.