Adverse Possession In Texas
Texas Adverse Possession
Adverse possession is a legal principle that outlines what conditions a party needs to meet in order to claim another person’s property through continuous possession or use.
A person can only claim a right to a property through adverse possession if they meet the requirements described by the law.
For example, the individual must have used the property continuously without interruption in the required statutory period in order to establish adverse possession. Property owners that want to prevent trespassers from claiming their property using the adverse possession principle should talk to an experienced real estate litigation lawyer.
Legal Requirements For Adverse Possession
The requirements for adverse possession depend on the state where that property is located. In Texas, you have to prove the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- Open and notorious: Your use of the property must be open and obvious. For example, if the property is land, you must occupy the land openly and use it openly without hiding.
- Notice to others: You must use the property in a way that the owner notices and it must be obvious to the property owner that you believe you are the true owner of that property
- Hostile: You can only own the property through adverse possession if the owner did not give you permission to use the property. You must not be a tenant or share the property with the owner of the property.
- Duration of statutory period: You must possess the property for the state’s predetermined period, which can be three to twenty years.
- Consistent and continuous use: The trespasser must use the property without interruption or continuously during the statutory period.
You should remember that adverse possession can only confer ownership to the encroaching party if the actual owner does nothing to oust the trespasser.
Protecting Your Property From Trespassers
Knowing the statutory periods for adverse possession can help you protect your property. The statutory period for adverse possession to be established in Texas is 10 years. This means that the property owner has only 10 years to try and oust the trespasser or terminate their possession.
But if the trespasser has a written document that somehow gives them the title to the property, the real property owner must take action within three years. A five year statute of limitation is for a situation where the adverse possessor is using the property, paying property taxes on the property, and claims the property under a duly registered deed. This does not apply if the deed held by the adverse possessor is forged or was acquired through fraudulent means. You will need experienced legal help to claim back your property.
Preventing Adverse Possession
Landowners, homeowners and other property owners can take certain steps to prevent trespassers from gaining ownership of their property. These steps include:
- Calling the police
- Asking the trespasser to pay rent for the property
- Deterring trespassers with a “no trespassing” sign
- Giving a person a written permission to use the property and getting their written acknowledgement that the property is not theirs
- Talk to a lawyer to find out how to eject the trespasser from the land or house