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Adverse possession and your rights

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2023 | Real Estate |

While purchasing real estate might seem like a straightforward transaction because this kind of thing occurs on a daily basis, the reality is that many issues could arise and impact the completion of the transaction.

One instance is encountering an individual or business living or operating on your property. You seek to have them vacate your property, but they assert ownership through adverse possession. As such, a dispute arises, and a real estate litigation ensues.

What is adverse possession?

Adverse possession occurs when an individual acquires title to property that is not theirs. This occurs when the individual publicly moves on the property and improves it for a certain amount of time. Often, the property is neglected. Because the state of New York believes that land should not sit idle, adverse possession laws were established.


Adverse possession laws in New York require at least 10 years of possession of the land. Additionally, payment of taxes throughout the duration of possession are required. These are required to obtain legal title.

Because the law wants to provide the actual property owner various ways to prevent adverse possessors from gaining ownership of the land, there are requirements for adverse possession.

It needs to be open and notorious. This means that the property must be used publicly and not in secret. This allows the property owner to exclude the trespasser from using their property. In addition to being used continuously for the required 10 year period, it must also be hostile. This means that they were not given permission to use the land by the owner.

An adverse possession claim could result in a change in property ownership. As such, those involved in this action should fully understand the situation and circumstances involved.