What is Adverse Possession?

Most people are familiar with the concept of trespassing. This occurs when a person has gained unwanted and unauthorized access to another person’s property. This can be done by simply hopping a posted fence or driving in the wrong area. In most situations, the victim can call the authorities to have the issues remedied. However, in some instances, a trespasser can actually gain ownership of the land he or she is trespassing on.

What is Adverse Possession?

Adverse possession happens when a person is able to get legal ownership of a piece of land in an adverse way, like trespassing. The result of this has been anywhere from a few yards to hundreds of acres in acquired property.

In many cases, adverse possession is accidental. For example, it is technically trespassing if a neighbor builds a fence onto your land. An incorrect property description could have been the cause. If that mistake is maintained for the statutorily required number of years, that neighbor may become the owner of the property. The new owner is called the adverse possessor.

How Do You Prove It?

If you want to adversely possess a property, you have to be able to prove a few strict requirements. Those requirements have to be supported by good evidence or your claim will not hold up in court.

First, you have to prove that the owner of the property doesn’t use the area of land you are trying to possess. This may be accomplished by showing that the land is used exclusively by you in a way that is different from the way the deeded owner uses the rest of his land. For example, a farmer would use his land for farming. You can prove that the land you are after is not used for farming by continuously mowing the area.

Next, you must prove that you basically own the piece of land. This is called showing open and notorious possession of an area. You can do this by proving that you park your cars and your children play on the area that you mowed in step one.

The third step in asserting adverse possession is to show that you didn’t have permission to use that land. This means that you had no lease or other agreement for use of the property. Just remember that this means you are admitting to trespassing. If this case does not work out in your favor, you could face civil and criminal charges.

The fourth step in Nevada is to meet the first three requirements for at least 15 years.

While adverse possession may sound like a strategy to steal another person’s property, it is not. It is most commonly used when the property lines between two properties become uncertain over the course of time. It helps property owners to determine where new property lines will be drawn.

Finally, Nevada requires the claimant to have paid all taxes assessed upon the property for 5 years prior to filing suit to establish an adverse claim.

If you find yourself on either side of an adverse possession claim, make sure you have the right real estate lawyer, the one Las Vegas trusts. Marc Simon is a Las Vegas real estate attorney having the experience and ability to protect you in essentially any real estate legal matter. For more information about this Las Vegas real estate lawyer, contact 702.451.7077 or info@marcsimonlaw.com.