When you purchase a property, it can be difficult to determine the boundaries of the land, especially if it has been passed down from generation to generation. Many people end up using a portion of their neighbor’s property for their own purposes. If you discover that you are using a part of your neighbor’s land, you may eventually be able to file an adverse possession claim to officially own that portion of land, if you meet the necessary criteria.
Filing an adverse possession claim
In Georgia, there are specific requirements to acquire title to a piece of land through adverse possession. These requirements include the following:
- You must have actual possession of the property through the use and maintenance of the property
- Your use of the property must be hostile (without permission from the owner)
- You must use the property openly and notoriously
- You must continuously possess the property for at least 20 years
- You must have exclusive use of the property (true owner must not use the property)
Disputing an adverse possession claim
If you are filing a claim to adversely possess property, it is possible that your neighbor will push back and dispute your claim. Your neighbor may allege that you concealed your use of the property or failed to improve upon or maintain the property. They may also claim that they gave you permission to use their property.
Filing a claim for adverse possession can be challenging without the help of an attorney specializing in real estate litigation. Your attorney can review property records and determine whether you have a legitimate claim.