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What is adverse possession?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Firm News |

When attempting to acquire a parcel of land, a Georgia resident will likely follow the common practice of securing a contract for its purchase and paying the required sales amount to obtain it under the law. Real estate transactions that follow this process are common for both commercial and residential properties. However, there is another way that individuals can obtain land without following this practice.

Adverse possession is a legal concept that grants title to land to a person without the individual purchasing it. Though it is not common, adverse possession can create difficult real estate disputes that may require litigation to resolve.

Ownership through possession

At the heart of adverse possession is the idea that an individual can attain right to title to property through continuous possession of it. Also know as title by prescription, ownership through possession requires a person to hold possession of another person’s land in a continuous, open, exclusive, uninterrupted, and peaceful manner for a period of years. If they are able to satisfy the requirements of adverse possession, they may rightfully obtain title to the possessed land.

Why adverse possession presents legal problems

As readers can likely expect, few landowners are happy to have others make claims of title through adverse possession against their land. Claims of possession can be hard to establish, but some landowners must go to court to prove that they have not relinquished possession or control of their land to those seeking to control it.

It can be difficult to deal with claims of adverse possession from either side, whether a person is the original landowner or the individual claiming rights through adverse possession. A conversation with a trusted real estate litigation professional may help a person better understand their rights regarding Georgia’s adverse possession laws.