In some land dispute cases, one of the parties may file a claim for the other party’s property by citing “Adverse Possession”. A person that wants to take possession of another’s land that they have been using without offering money or any other compensation must have been using the property for at least ten years. It may be rare that someone has been using a property for ten years without the owner acting to remove them. But there are many different ways that someone can accomplish this.

How Do You Prove Adverse Possession?

The claimant must prove all of the following to lay claim to another’s property:

  • Ten Years of uninterrupted occupancy
  • They must show the possession was under the claim of ownership
  • The possession was actual or hostile
  • Possession was open, notorious, and visible
  • It was exclusive and peaceful

Many land disputes regarding adverse possession base their claims on whether those boxes, so to speak, have been checked off. That is where an experienced land use dispute attorney can attack the adverse possession claim and have the ruling denied.

This kind of case may involve something as simple as a fence being mistakenly placed on someone else’s property, resulting in nothing being said about it for years. Technically the person who has had that land on their side of the fence could claim adverse possession – but was it advertised as such when the fence first appeared? Similarly, was the possession visible and notorious? In a lot of these cases involving small parcels of land like this, neither side might be aware that the land was even in the wrong person’s possession. However, when a claim is made the owner’s attorney can make that argument.

Zoning and land use disputes such as this have been attended to by the firm of Rushing & Guice in the Gulf Coast for many years and if you have a zoning problem or a land-use question please call our offices and we can help.

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