Adverse possession laws were created to deal with unique property ownership questions, especially those involving abandoned or long neglected properties. Every state has its own unique adverse possession laws.
Essentially, California law allows a person who takes up residence in a property that they do not own to eventually become the owner of that property if certain conditions are met.
Understanding The Conditions
The owner of the property may take legal action against the trespasser or "squatter." However, if the property owner fails to do so, the person living on the property may gain title to the property after at least five years of continuous residence.
The person living on the property is required to pay all back taxes to legally gain possession of that property under California adverse possession laws.
Finally, the wrongful property possessor must be openly living on the property, so that it is clearly evident that he or she intends to make the property his or her home.
How Do Such Cases Arise?
There are many reasons that someone may end up living on - and eventually claiming - someone else's property. As the California Department of Transportation points out, some wrongful property possessors may be on the property because they believe that it rightfully belongs to them. This may be because they are relying on an outdated property deed or other incorrect information.
Some people are simply unaware that the land is private property. In other cases, they are well aware that they are trespassing but have nowhere else to go.
No matter which of these reasons apply, it is possible that the wrongful property possessor can earn legal title to the land if he or she pursues it through California's adverse possession laws.
A Skilled Lawyer Is An Invaluable Resource
Having an experienced attorney to help with adverse property disputes is essential. Protecting your property is much easier when you have a professional on your side, particularly when it comes to navigating the complex and frequently changing laws surrounding adverse possession.