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What is adverse possession?

| Feb 28, 2019 | Land Use |

Real property ownership is a goal for many New Jersey residents who wish to build their own homes and have space that they can call their own. A person can work hard to save, search and acquire the plot of their dreams, and once they have paid it off they may believe that it will be their forever. However, certain land use and real property legal matters can divest property owners of their rights if they are not aware of them.

For example, adverse possession is the process through which a trespasser may acquire property rights in a plot that is owned by someone else. Their possession of someone else’s land must be against the real owners wishes, and the trespasser must intend to possess the land as well. Their possession of it cannot be hidden: open possession is often a requirement of an adverse possession taking.

Finally, for an adverse possession taking to be recognized, the trespasser’s taking or use of the property must be exclusive, which means that they do not share it with other individuals. If these and other requirements are met, the trespasser may acquire some rights to use the land of the actual owner despite the owner’s title to it.

Losing property to adverse possession can be costly and frustrating to a person who has worked hard to acquire their own plot of land. Adverse possession claims can be challenged and in some cases terminated so that property owners are able to retain the land that they themselves have purchased. When adverse possession claims are made, individuals can seek the help of real estate attorneys to get the legal help that they need.

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