Adverse Possession Florida

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Adverse Possession Florida

As a legal concept, adverse possession refers to gaining ownership over a property owner’s land and becoming the owner of that land. In other words, a neighbor, or even a stranger, can occupy your property and claim ownership legally.

Adverse Possession Florida is an enforceable right that allows you to sue for possession of your property. What should property owners know to avoid losing the property to adverse possession?


Bit About Adverse Possession

A person’s adverse possession occurs when they openly and continuously utilize another party’s property and residence without permission. Upon meeting certain conditions, the occupying party may attempt to claim ownership of the area used.

Adverse possession can apply whether it is a building or a parcel of land. In the right circumstances, an adjoining tract of land might be viewed as an adverse possession if a neighbor erects a fence on your portion, along with encroachment. It can also be adversely possessed if someone uses a building or house they do not own.


What Is The Process For Proving Adverse Possession?

In Florida, a court must grant title to land to the person holding the legal title to the land unless an adverse possession claimant can establish that the claim should fail. This law states that adverse possession means “without color of title.” To claim adverse possession, a claimant must have the property based on the following criteria:

  • A hostile situation (no easement, lease, or rent agreement exists)
  • Land in actual control (practically in control of it)
  • It is exclusive (only the claimant owns and controls the land)
  • Publicly visible and notorious (occupation without hiding the occupancy)
  • During the statutory period (in Florida, seven years)

In addition, a substantial enclosure has been constructed to maintain, cultivate, enhance, and protect the land. In addition to paying any outstanding special improvement liens and taxes on the land within one year of possessing it, the claimant must also have acquired adverse possession without color.


Easement by prescription Florida

Prescriptive easement is also known as Easement By Prescription. It allows an individual to utilize a portion of someone else’s property based on long-term and consistent use without explicit permission from the owner. Prescriptive easements can only occur if certain conditions are met.

  • Use that is open and obvious: The use of the property cannot be secret or hidden.
  • Without permission and in an adverse way: The person who uses the land does so without the authorization or explicit consent of the owner.
  • Continuous Use: The land must be used continuously and without interruption by the individual for a specified period.
  • Hostile Use: Property usage without permission or contradicting the owner’s rights.

The easement of a prescription can significantly impact homeowners’ ability to control their property.


What Are Squatter’s Rights in Florida?

Florida squatters rights adverse possession are legal protections that a squatter can gain when they occupy a piece of property or land that does not belong to them. Adverse possession is the legal concept that allows individuals to claim ownership of a property typically associated with squatters’ rights. This refers to a process that squatters use to become the legal owners of their land.


Adverse Possession Law in Florida: The Essential Requirements

How to file for adverse possession in Florida? Each adverse possession claim must satisfy the legal requirements for adverse possession:



Possession takes place without the consent of the owner.



An example of actual use is when the possessor builds a fence, improves the property, and lives on the property.


Open and Notorious:

The possessor must display their use of the property for your inspection. Sneaking onto or using the property when no one is watching is ordinarily insufficient. A possessor’s attempts to conceal their belongings may also disqualify them from claiming adverse possession.



Adverse possession Florida law stipulates that the possessor must possess the property for seven years to assert the claim. The possessor need not remain on the property for seven years to assert the claim, but they must maintain control of the property during that time.



The possessor’s use and claim cannot be shared with anyone else.


Taxes and Form:

An adverse possession claimant in Florida must have paid all outstanding taxes on the property within one year of entering possession and have paid taxes on the property for seven years before claiming adverse possession. Moreover, within 30 days of paying any back taxes, they must also submit a form with a property description to the county appraiser.


What Does It Mean To Own A Property?

The title to a property in real estate is a legal document that identifies you as the rightful owner. After acquiring the title, you can modify and transfer the property to someone else.

Deeds and titles are different. A title is essentially a concept of ownership, meaning it’s not a written document. A title, on the other hand, is a tangible document that outlines your ownership rights.

Several aspects of the real estate law complicate things, such as the fact that an individual may partially or fully own a property. Limitations may also exist, such as when you fail to pay property taxes or claim it lacks “color of title.”


Adverse Possession: How Does It Work?

How does adverse possession work? Someone else’s possession of someone’s land can occur unintentionally or intentionally. When it’s intentional, the person occupies the land illegally.

The homeowner may also claim adverse possession of the land resulting from an unintentional encroachment, such as when they build a fence that improperly encroaches on their neighbor’s property line.

According to Florida law, the original owner does not have to pay if the claimant succeeds in this claim.


With the color of the title or by paying property taxes.

The Florida Statutes 95.12 particularly obliges the owner to live on the property for at least seven years. This occupation must be under a color of title or by paying property taxes. A color of title occurs when one appears to have acquired a title to real property, but the title is defective, so one cannot use it. Thus, it is impossible to determine ownership.


Without the color of the title

In a case of ownership without color of title, the claimant has no basis for believing they are the rightful owner. The situation usually occurs when a trespasser enters the premises illegally and claims ownership.

For a court to recognize a claim to a property without color of title, the claimant must meet specific requirements.


An Adverse Possession Defense Is Not Admissible In Court.

The possession of a weapon does not protect a user from trespassing charges. If the possessor fails to leave after an owner requests it, the possessor will likely face charges with the offense. Possessors may also face additional criminal penalties if they have a firearm or dangerous weapon.

A neighbor may mistakenly get adverse possession due to confusion about the property line. However, adverse possession can occur intentionally. Additionally, some possessors may have “color of title” or something that gives their possession appearances of legal status.


Adverse Possession Law in Florida: An Example

An individual living in a $2.5 million mansion invoked ownership by “adverse possession” in 2013. Despite repeated attempts, police were unable to remove the individual.


Adverse Possession Law in Florida: An Example


A Florida law allows a person who occupies a property owned by someone else for at least seven years to acquire the title to the property. He presented adverse possession paperwork and related documents.


Owns the house after a foreclosure.

In this case, Bank of America owns the house after a foreclosure. A man posted a notice in the house’s front window, naming him the living beneficiary. This complicated matter leaves many questioning whether the man could live there.

It is an excellent example of a case where an adverse possession lawyer could be helpful. During a consultation, we can help you with any questions about Florida’s adverse possession law. You may have legal options you haven’t considered because each case is unique.

We can assist you in determining whether your circumstances may affect your right to the property in question.


Adverse Possession Protection for Florida Property

Your property might seem like the only way to lose ownership is by selling or having your lender foreclose. Still, in Florida, adverse possession can happen to you unintentionally. Simply because your property has been infringed on for an extended period does not mean you have to relinquish control or ownership.

During real estate litigation, a lawyer explains how the law permits adverse possession to occur and how it works in your favor if this happens to you.

To protect your property, your lawyer can demonstrate:

  • There are no elements of adverse possession present.
  • A property belongs to you only if you have lived or managed it for seven years or more.

In acute possession, you can claim the entire parcel of land or just a few inches of abutting land. The lawyer representing you will be able to clarify or verify the property’s boundaries in dispute.


It Is Possible to Remedy Adverse Possession in Florida

Occasionally, another person might think they have a right to occupy land that is legally yours. A simple request and explanation may resolve the matter if this is the case.

There are other scenarios, such as intentional wrongdoing or unwillingness on the part of the involved party to recognize or correct a mistake. If either of these scenarios is true, then a real estate lawyer can help.

You can consult with a lawyer about how to move towards regaining control of your property if a letter requesting the move of the encroacher fails to result in the desired result.


Reducing Adverse Possession Claims

In an encroachment situation, do you ask your neighbor to move? If a trespasser or neighbor invades your Florida land, there is a good chance it is an innocent mistake.

Then, consult with a lawyer and consider bringing legal action to declare that you are the valid owner of the land and not the trespasser. If you plan to sell your Florida property and need to reassure potential buyers, you may find obtaining a court order to this effect helpful.


There Are No Claims Against Florida Government Lands.

The government entities in Florida are generally immune to adverse possession actions. In other words, title to public lands cannot pass by adverse possession. For example, if you live next to an unused state park in Jacksonville, you cannot expand your backyard simply by mowing the lawn or building a shed and waiting seven years.


Florida Adverse Possession Claims: Who Can File?

Often, squatters, trespassers, and encroachers who comply with Florida’s statutes and pay taxes gain ownership rights.

Several neighbors are likely to surround your property if you live in Florida. The neighbors may gain legal title under the “adverse possession” concept. But trespassers can also occupy your property and claim legal ownership. Although less likely, unknown trespassers might also be able to claim legal ownership of your property.

Please ensure you are familiar with Florida’s adverse possession laws to ensure your land remains yours and that a neighbor cannot claim any part of it from you. It might even be a good idea for you to assert adverse possession over the land you have used for so long that you feel you have a legal right to continue to do so.


An Adverse Possession Lawyer Can Help You Prove Your Property Rights

Adverse possession attorney near me can help you understand and comply with Florida’s adverse possession laws. With our assistance, you can learn how to navigate Florida’s adverse possession laws.

An attorney will do the following for you when he represents you:

  • Make sure you understand all applicable state laws
  • Assist with filing all forms and documents required.
  • Obtain an appropriate title for yourself.

Suppose the ownership rights or status of a piece of land is unclear. In that case, a adverse possession lawyer can explain the property’s origins and availability, as adverse possession is not always possible. For instance, you cannot use it to claim government-owned or controlled land ownership.


Is There Anything Else A Property Owner Should Know About Adverse Possession?

The requirements for proving adverse possession in Florida are almost impossible for a claimant to meet. The law of this state gives property owners substantial protection against any adverse possession claim.

It is probably a mistake for someone to infringe on your central Florida property. The first step is to ask them to leave politely. (Alternatively, you could offer to rent the land and ask them to sign a lease.) If that doesn’t work, write your demand to vacate the property.

You may need to file a lawsuit to evict the person, or you may need to obtain a court order to evict a structure on your property if that fails. Ask a Florida adverse possession lawyer to seek help from the courts.


Hire a Florida Real Estate Attorney from our firm.

Florida’s adverse possession law is incredibly complex, so if you find yourself in a situation where you’re facing adverse possession, you’ll need a real estate attorney on your side. If you have a real estate issue, Attorney Real Estate Group can help. Possession attorneys can use their years of experience to help you. Contact us today for a consultation.

In addition to knowing Florida’s real estate law inside and out, we are also very experienced in using the law to the advantage of our clients. When we partner with you, you can rest assured that our team is doing everything possible to resolve your case quickly.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Bio...

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