David Saks: Adverse Possession : Hostile & Notorious But Legal

David Saks - Real Estate Broker - The Real Estate Mart of Tennessee, Inc. - 4040 North Watkins-Suite #4 - Memphis, Tennessee 38127 - Phone (901) 357-4663

Adverse Possession : Hostile & Notorious But Legal


What is this beast?

It's adverse possession.

Adverse possession is a means of, what we would call, involuntary transfer of property.

An individual can make a claim to a property, take possession of it and take the title away from the owner if the owner doesn't use the property for a period of years under the laws of involuntary alienation.

To claim adverse possession all of the following conditions must exist:

1. The claimant is Open about using the property.

2. The possession is Notorious and is known to other people.

3. The possession has been Continuous and without interuption.

4. The occupation is Hostile or without the consent of the owner.

5. The possession is Adverse or without the true owners occupation or possession.

In order to receive a title by adverse possession there has to be proof that there was no permission to use the property in question and that the use was open, notorious, exclusive and adverse for a period of years defined by statute.

These conditions are governed by state laws.

What kinds of experiences have you had with adverse possession?

David Saks

Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 6 commentsDavid Saks • April 29 2008 02:59AM


I have seen a few brains that were in danger of this....not being used for years...shoot, even my old rollerblades might qualify
Posted by Mike Norvell Sr, Norvell Consulting Group (Morris Williams Realty) almost 12 years ago
I have seen easement that people have used for years especially around lake front that have been contested using adverse possession.
Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) almost 12 years ago
I know I've got jeans that qualify, Mike, and a pair of penny loafers. :-) Great to hear from you.
Posted by David Saks ((retired)) almost 12 years ago

An easement might continue indefinitely, Terry, if it's prescribed to create a benefit for the user and considered an easement in gross. Especially if the owner has granted a right to the lake area to use a portion of the property as long as the owner held title. An easement by prescription, however, recognizes three of the requirements I mentioned which include, continuous, open and hostile use of the property for a period of time that's been prescribed by your state laws. It only gives one the right to use the easement; not own it. It'll be a tough battle for anyone attempting to snag an easement under the laws of adverse possession because of the variety of easements and the laws that protect them. Thanks.


Posted by David Saks ((retired)) almost 12 years ago

David, So you are saying that Adverse Possession is legal and possible in Tennessee? I have been looking into it for sometime and I have found the perfect abandoned house. It's owned by Freddie Mac but has been empty for years. I need assurance that I can really do this! I am doing it for all the right reasons. I want to better the neighborhood and repair this eyesore not just score a home for free. Thanks

Posted by Tiffaney over 8 years ago

The laws vary, Tiffany. Check with an attorney or a real estate professional in your region to determine the scope of the legislation regarding adverse possession. Consult with a real estate educator in your region as well, as they may know of recent changes to the laws. Whether or not you've been using the property is an issue. HUD might also be able to provide you with additional resources at HUD.gov . Thanks for your comment.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 8 years ago

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