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What is adverse possession?

Perhaps you have heard of squatters' rights before. Maybe you thought they could not possibly be real. You would not be alone. Many people in Arkansas are not aware of something called adverse possession, which the Cornell Law School defines as a doctrine that allows someone who does not own property to gain valid rights to it.

Specifically, there are a few parts to the doctrine that must be met for it to kick in. First, you need have possession of the property and do so continuously. Second, you must have it in your possession for a certain amount of time. Third, you must occupy the property without the owner's consent and do so openly so everyone is aware. Finally, you must be in possession by yourself and not share the property with anyone else. How long you must have possession varies. Typically, it is seven years.

Obviously, this is pretty difficult to pull off. Once you move into a property without the owner's consent, there is a chance he or she could file trespassing charges against you. If this happens, you would be kicked out before you reach the time required to take adverse possession. If you do happen to meet all requirements, you could legally get the title to the property under common law.

While this is not an ideal way to secure property, it is good to understand in case you run across someone trying to claim adverse possession on a property you own. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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Gramling Estes Law Firm

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Gramling Estes Law Firm
One East Center #140
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Phone: (479) 521-4444
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