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Adverse Possession

Client: Are you telling me that my neighbor gets part or whole of my property, just because I did not care about it during a time when he maintained my property by doing the landscaping and by placing a fence around it.

Lawyer: Absolutely yes. Michigan recognizes certain patterns of conduct between property owners, which, after a period of years, will result in the transfer of property from one owner to another who is called an Adverse Possessor.

Adverse Possession is a doctrine under which a person in possession of land owned by someone else may acquire valid title to it, so long as certain requirements are met, and the adverse possessor is in possession for a sufficient period of time, as defined by statute of limitations. The used or occupied land may be transferred to the adverse person or neighbor without any agreement or payment.

To establish adverse possession, the party must show clear proof of possession that is (1) Actual (2) Visible (3) Open (4) Notorious (5) Exclusive (6) Hostile (7) Under cover of a claim of right (8) continuous (9) Uninterrupted for a statutory period of 15 years.

Sometimes, the possession of land is done through “color of deed”. This means that when someone has a legal documentation to prove that he owns a particular land owned by someone else.

As long as a party proves the above nine claims of Possession, the parties need not show any form of documentation evidence.

Categories: Real Estate Law


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