Adverse Possession Texas

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“Under Texas law, the law of adverse Possession allows a trespasser, neighbor, or stranger to get property after using it for a certain period.”

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Adverse Possession Texas

It is rare, though, for neighbors to claim a small parcel of land near the border, and the most common type of claim occurs between neighbors. You must be sufficiently prepared as a potential possessor since they are almost impossible to navigate without the help of a real estate lawyer. Today, our topic is Adverse Possession Texas; we will learn about it in detail.

 

Do You Know What Adverse Possession Is?

Typically, a trespasser with legal title ownership over the original property owner is a trespasser who is in adverse Possession of the land. Generally speaking, a trespasser who has lived on a property for a certain period files a title action and notifies the owner. If the owner does not respond, the trespasser can take Possession of the land.

 

The Workings of Adverse Possession Laws

Early British jurisprudence developed the concept of adverse Possession. This allows trespassers to get legal title over land owned by a property owner.

Its primary function nowadays is to achieve a fair outcome when one owner neglects or forgets about a piece of property while another has been using it or caring for it for such a long period that it would create hardship or injustice for them to leave.

Several statutes, including those passed by the state legislature, control adverse Possession in Texas. In Texas, the trespasser is responsible for proving adverse Possession. Without the adverse possessor meeting that burden. As a result, the trespasser must prove that it belongs to them.

 

In Texas, How Do We Prove Adverse Possession?

If you are of legal age, you are eligible for adverse Possession as long as you can prove the following:

  • Exclusive – You own the property instead of sharing it with another party or owner.
  • Hostile – Taking Possession without permission of the owner through appropriation.
  • Continuous – If successive possessors and privity of estate exist between them. The court might allow you to file an action if you continuously owned the property for the established statutory period.
  • Visible – Your Possession and use of the land has been open and without concealment.
  • Actual – The property belongs to you, and you control it.

 

Examples Of Adverse Possession In Texas

1. Unfenced property. If someone uses an unfenced property that is not marked private, they can gain ownership by adverse possession after some time.

2. Use of neighbor’s property: If someone builds or uses part of their neighbor’s property for a long time, they can claim adverse possession if the use is open, continuous, and obvious.

3. After some time, if a property is abandoned and a third party takes possession, it may be possible to claim adverse possession.

4. Property line error: If someone builds a building on property they believe is theirs, but the building turns out to be partially on another person’s land, they can claim adverse possession over the part of the property they have used.

 

What is the reason for Texas’s Adverse Possession Law?

A person who meets the above requirements and proves it in court receives the land the original owner had adversely possessed and no longer belongs to the original owner.

Despite the law’s harsh language, it represents the state of Texas’s desire to ensure that its citizens use its land efficiently. If an individual proves they adversely possessed someone else’s property for an extended period. They provided constructive notice to the owner that they had been using that property then. Still, the owner did nothing to stop it. The valid owner can no longer claim the land. It has been proven that the adverse possessor uses it more efficiently.

 

Adverse Possession In Texas Has Different Time Requirements.

According to Texas law, claims under 3, 5, 7, 10, and 25 years have different statutes of limitations. These are the legal requirements for adverse possession:

 

Adverse Possession In Texas Has Different Time Requirements.

 

Adverse Possession for three years:

Section 16.024 (the three-year statute) of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code stipulates that a real estate owner must initiate legal action within three years of the occurrence of a cause of action to recover the property held by another under title or color of title in peaceful and adverse Possession.

As part of a valid chain of title, a possessor must possess a deed or have a reasonable basis for their claim to title, referred to as a “color of title.”

 

Adverse Possession for five years:

An individual must initiate legal action within five years of the cause of action, also known as the original owner, according to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.025, commonly called the five-year statute, to reclaim real property that is peacefully and adversely held by another person if:

(1) Makes use of, cultivates, or enjoys the property;

(2) Pays the necessary property taxes; and

3) Registers deeds to prove ownership of the property.

The five-year statute is straightforward and does not apply to claims based on forged documents or false powers of attorney. Therefore, to apply for this claim, a valid deed must exist.

 

Adverse Possession for ten years:

The following provisions apply under Section 16.026 (also known as the “bare possession statute”) in Texas:

(a) If another person peacefully and adversely holds, cultivates, uses, or enjoys real property. The claimant must file a lawsuit within ten years of the time the underlying cause of action arose.

(b) Unless the number of enclosed acres exceeds 160 acres, peaceful and adverse Possession is restricted without a title document to 160 acres, including improvements. In the case of enclosed acres greater than 160 acres, peaceful and adverse Possession applies to the enclosed property.

(c) Properly registered deeds or other title instruments that clearly define the possessor’s right to the property extend to its specified boundaries.

When the conditions of adverse Possession exist, no deed or title document is required.

 

Adverse Possession for 25 years:

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sections 16.027 and 16.028 are less used. In the former, the restriction lasts for 25 years, regardless of legal obstacles. In the latter, the limit depends on a title document, even if it is null and void in reality or on its face.”

 

Texas Does Not Consider A Trespasser’s Intent.

Texas’ adverse possession doctrine protects someone who appropriates the land of others to get the title. As well as someone who enters and holds Possession, believing that the land is theirs. Texas does not require that the entry of and continued Possession of property occur with knowing or intentional hostility to qualify.

It is enough to support a title claim by adverse possession if entry and Possession have been exclusive, continuous, hostile, actual, and open for the required 20 years, even under an incorrect title claim. In our example above, the intent does not matter if he builds the shed knowing he is on Monica’s land or mistakenly believes it is on his land. An adverse possession claim ultimately depends on his knowledge of the land.

 

How does squatters rights work in Texas?

Does Texas have squatters rights? They do. Over time, squatters can acquire legal rights over your property if they have uninterrupted access.

A squatter must first take possession of the property, called hostile occupation. There are three types of negative work: simple employment, knowing that trespassing is occurring, or a mistake made in good faith.

Sometimes, the squatter does not know they are illegally occupying a property. How is it possible? Someone who notices a vacant property can make money by using it. This individual could meet with a prospective tenant, have them sign a contract, and collect a security deposit before they move into the abandoned home.

After they have established themselves, they can begin claiming ownership. This is called a claim of adverse possession. Squatters must show they treat the property like they own while living there. It means they’ve paid the property tax and have cleaned up the property with landscaping and home improvements.

The squatter must have lived in the property for at least ten years without interruptions. Texas adverse possession claims are nullified if the settler has been away from the property for several weeks or months. The claim is also void if another person squats in the house with them.

 

Adverse Possession of Land: How Does It Happen?

By a preponderance of the evidence, a person must prove the following elements to acquire title to the property by adverse Possession:

  • It must be clear that the adverse possessor believes they are the actual owners of the land. The adverse possessor must use the property in a way that would allow others to perceive that they are the actual owners.
  • You cannot hide your use; you must be open and notorious.
  • An erroneous survey of a property may constitute a claim of right.
  • The term adverse Possession refers to the act of taking Possession of land that is hostile to the owner’s claim. For example, they may share the land with the owner or be the owner’s tenant.
  • The adverse possessor must maintain consistent and continuous conduct throughout the statute of limitations period. If the adverse possessor changes their conduct somehow, resetting the statute of limitations is possible.

As a result of these factors, the adverse possessor acts in the manner expected of the owner in perpetuity.

 

Adverse Possession & Fences

Having a fence marking the boundary of your property can make things even more complicated. People often believe that after a fence has been there for many years, it becomes your property line.

This results in litigation between neighbors to determine the correct property boundary and ownership, and in most cases, this belief is simply incorrect.

 

Boundary fences vs. casual fences

A “casual fence” and a “boundary fence” are frequently distinguished in Texas court cases. It is not the fence’s height, length, or materials that define a “casual fence” but its original purpose.

It is common to build fences in urban areas to contain children and pets and provide privacy; these characteristics make a fence a “casual fence.” Defining property lines is a review of deeds, and a surveyor can mark the exact area that defines the property based on the deeds.

Almost always, it is impossible to claim adverse Possession when someone tries to claim property on their side of the fence but on their neighbor’s side of the property line defined by the deed. They will have to prove they meet all of the standards.

If the claimant hasn’t gone to the tax office and requested tax assessment on the extra land they have on their side of the fence, they are not openly treating the land as their own.

 

Possess exclusive rights

Do you have exclusive possession of the property you claim if there are underground water lines or other structures owned by someone else? Did the claimant obtain permission from their neighbor to construct the fence or to use the property in any other way?

Due to the claimant’s lack of adverse Possession against the deed holder, the adverse possession period never begins. The fence cannot support adverse possession claims if the claimant’s neighbor put it up since they did not put it up.

 

The cause of the problem

In many cases, the cause of the problem is that fence builders aren’t surveyors. So they’ll happily install fences wherever you request. In such situations, I sometimes refer to them as accidental Possession because an adverse possession cannot occur if it is simply misplaced.

A surveyor can provide information about your property boundary and mark the boundaries if unsure.

If you realize the fence does not align with your property line, you might consider moving it. You can recover the property wrongfully held by your neighbor, and It Feels Good to Prevail! If this is impossible because the neighbor claims they own some of your lot, contact your favorite lawyer.

 

Staying Safe from Trespassers on Your Property

Protecting your property can be easier if you know the statutory periods for adverse Possession. In Texas, an adverse possession can only last for ten years. As a result, the property owner has only ten years to terminate their Possession or evict the trespasser.

The actual property owner must take action within three years if the trespasser has a written document that somehow gives them title to the property. When the adverse possessor uses the property, pays property taxes, and claims the property under a registered deed, the statute of limitation is five years. In the case of forged or fraudulently acquired deeds, this does not apply. Getting your property back will require legal assistance.

 

The Prevention of Adverse Possession

A property owner can take specific measures to prevent trespassers from gaining property ownership. These measures include in preventing adverse possession:

  • Getting the police involved
  • Renting the property to the trespasser
  • A “no trespassing” sign deters trespassers.
  • Giving a person written permission to use the property and getting their written acknowledgment that the property is not theirs
  • Consult an adverse possession law attorney about evicting the trespasser.

 

Faqs on Texas Real Estate Lawyers

 

What is the process for claiming adverse Possession in the state of Texas?

The steps to make an adverse possession claim are: 1. Obtaining a licensed surveyor’s survey of the relevant property; 2. Getting statements from the applicant and other witnesses supporting the Possession and intent to possess, and 3. obtaining an appraisal.

 

If you pay your taxes in Texas, can someone take your property?

The payment of tax does not give you an ownership interest in a property unless you purchase it through a tax deed sale.

 

Does Texas recognize squatters’ rights?

Despite not owning the land, settlers have several rights under Texas law. As long as settlers do not have to follow an eviction notice, they may eventually gain lawful ownership rights to the land. They are legally entitled to dwell on the land if they do not receive an eviction notice.

 

Get Legal Advice.

Filing an adverse possession suit can be time-consuming and complex, and only a few cases go forward. Each claim is unique, so you should consider filing if you qualify.

Hedy Ghavidel

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

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